Drone view of 3 container sitting on the foundation of a house with the crane next to the house

Drone view of 3 container sitting on the foundation of a house with the crane next to the house

Last week we had a bit of crane excitement at Super Cubes!! We delivered three one-trip 40' high cubes containers to the Trammel Container home. We worked with MJF Contracting LLC and Kuehn's Crane Service to offload the containers from our trucks. Kirk and Leigh Trammel have put together a fantastic team to build their custom container home.

MJF Contracting is the general contractor for the project. Justin and Eric have been coordinating everything for this Midwest winter build.

First they had M.R. Excavating prep the site. Then, MJF worked with Brad Weiss at Great Lake Superior Walls for the pre-cast concrete foundation. That was all set in place so the containers could come out and close in the foundation.

Kuehn's Crane Service was onsite to lift the containers off of the chassis. They swung them into place and then working together, the team set the containers down precisely on the foundation.

They got the first container set down perfectly on the back end of the foundation. Precision was key because if they set the container too far out, it wouldn't seal up tight. If they set it in too far, it would create a ledge for moisture to sit. Here is a video of them working through getting that set just right.

Once they got that one set down just right, the second container backed onto the property and they lifted that off and set it right down. That went more quickly since they had the first one as a guide. Even still, they needed to pull the containers together to remove any gap between them. Here's a video of the container going from truck to foundation.

The third truck backed in and they quickly got that one all hooked up and set into place. Here's a video of that.

Even with the second container to use as a guide, the third one needed a little more work to get it in place. They worked together to snug that third container in as tightly as possible. You can see how they strapped the first containers to each other to pull them together before setting down the third one.

As you can see, the last container was still hanging over by about half an inch. They strapped all three containers together and kept working at it to pull them all on perfectly onto the foundation. What is so amazing is that Great Lakes Superior Walls was able to make the foundation down to the 1/4 of an inch to be an absolute perfect match. At it is a testament to Justin and Eric's determination to make sure it fit that perfectly in the end.

Once they had all three containers in place, they were able to start heating up the foundation to make sure that set well in the cold weather. They are going to start cutting into those three containers to make the first floor of the house.

We delivered a fourth container the following day. That one will be cut down and reinforced. Ultimately that will be set on its end to become a stairwell. When they are ready, we'll come back with the last three containers to be the second story of the house and the crane will set the stairwell in place. 

We'll be sure to keep you posted on the project as it progresses. In the meantime, here are some pictures we took as well.

If you want more information on any of the companies mentioned, just click on their names where they are highlighted to be brought to their websites. If you want to reach M.R. Excavating, email them at mrexcavatingllc@gmail.com.

 

 

LightHotel all lit up at night

LightHotel all lit up at night

The view from the doorway

The view from the doorway

What happens when your brilliant customer makes a hotel room out of one of your containers? Answer: You stay in it!!
Geoffrey Warner, AIA, the founder of Alchemy and weeHouse created LightHotel as an ecotourism alternative. They started with a 20' container from Super Cubes. We added in the windows and door for the utilities. The LightHotel team created a solar-powered, self-sufficient, stand-alone hotel room.  Naturally, we were excited to get to stay there.

The LightHotel has been traveling around Minneapolis, St Paul and the surrounding area to various events and festivals, including being stationed outside the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair. Recently, the LightHotel officially became an approved for rental as an RV hotel. You can reserve it through AirBnB by clicking here. As soon as LightHouse announced the approval, we rushed to get our reservation!

We decided to reserve it for a Saturday night. We arrived around 4:00pm. I took this video before we moved in. They had left us some bubbles since they knew we were coming with our son and meeting up with a couple of other families.  Our son was totally enthralled with the container and checking it all out. It is currently parked in the parking lot for a community garden in St Paul. We saw trains coming by and people gardening.  When our friends arrived, we showed off our home for the night. The adults love the nice finishes and space-saving measures taken to make the container feel really nice. The kids all thought it was very fun.  From there, we set off to one of the neighborhood tap rooms that has food trucks and entertainment for kids.

The hotel is currently next to a community garden.

The hotel is currently next to a community garden.

When we came back from dinner, we did some more bubbles and sidewalk chalk art and enjoyed checking out the container by night. We happened to reserve it on one of the hottest nights we've had so far this summer. The windows did provide some cross-breeze and there was a fan in the container. The container has a heater, this is Minnesota after all!  But does not have air condition because the amperage is too high with the current set up. We turned on the fan, created a little nest area with a sleeping bag for a son, and settled in for the night.

The container does have its own water system that gets refilled and emptied, so showering is an option. We skipped showering in the morning since we were heading right home and had packed light. It also has a composting toilet.

Watching trains from the patio of the hotel room.

Watching trains from the patio of the hotel room.

The container was a fun night's stay. The hotel room felt like it put the glam in glamping for us. Since we work with so many people interested in tiny homes and making homes from containers, it was a thrill to get to stay in one for the night. We do not have a cabin, like so many Minnesotans, but a 40' container with a kitchen added on would definitely be a fun option. LightHotel really took the decor in a different direction than many of the tiny homes that you see on TV. It had a very sleek, yet fun feel to it. We also thought it would be fun to stay in it in the winter. I would think it would be so snug and cozy. It had such a warm, welcoming feeling at night. The walls glowed in the light.

While we know a tiny home would not fit with our current situation, there is something so appealing about the compactness of tiny living. Hotels offer that great middle ground where you can try it out without committing your whole family to a huge change. Urban areas are often so densely populated and space is so expensive, tiny hotels seem like a great alternative for tourists. They also lend themselves to leaving small footprints both in terms of water and energy.

Would you want to stay in a tiny hotel? What appeals to you most about it?  What appeals to you least about it? Would you consider having one moved around to different locations like an RV or are you more tempted to have one already set up and ready for you in a place you want to visit?

The cozy hotel room at night.

The cozy hotel room at night.

Sarah House Utah is a great example of a container home, check out more pictures at:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-House-Utah/72517442758

Sarah House Utah is a great example of a container home, check out more pictures at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-House-Utah/72517442758

Are you thinking about building a container home?  Or maybe modifying a container to be something else.  Here is a great resources to help you with planning out your project and ideas on how to do it.

Here is a video put out by the National Prepper Association.  It is an interview with the project manager on a low-cost, 2-container home in Utah.  The focus of the house was to provide a low-cost, energy efficient home that is senior-friendly.  They discuss ways to do the work yourself.  Most container home builders are looking for a mix of those features.

It covers so many of the starting issues that most container home builders try to figure out before starting their project like insulation, smart use of space and affordable green materials.

For more pictures of the container, check out the Sarah House Utah Facebook page.   The final house is beautiful!