The weather in Houston has just been awful for the last few months with endless rain and historic flooding. For the past few weeks I've had to wade through anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of standing water to get to my car. On top of that, the grass grew to over a foot in some places because it was too wet to mow it down. Staying out after the sun started to set was basically a death sentence as the mosquitoes have grown to be an unbearable problem. If anyone has recommendations on natural ways to ward off the mosquitoes - I'm all ears! I already plan to plant a lot of citronella, mint, and other plants to ward them off but also looking for quicker solutions! We are trying to avoid chemicals so I'm thinking that mosquito zappers may be one quick solution.
Putting on my mud boots and trudging to the car started to get annoying to deal with on a daily basis so when we had some good weather on Saturday, I took the opportunity to lay myself a flagstone walkway to get to my car.
Enough of the negativity though, I hauled some sandy fill from the pile in the front of the property to raise and even out the base a little bit. We also already had a pallet of flagstone pieces at the front of the property that I was able to use for this walkway. The project would have been more involved had I had to go and acquire everything. My recommendation for the flagstone is to check Craigslist - those kinds of raw materials are found in abundance on CL and you can get a great price, you'll likely have to pick it up yourself. After I laid the flagstone and evened them out, I filled in the gaps with additional sandy fill. This will need to be done one more time now that the original layer has settled in from the rain.
I'm already sooo glad I did this walkway - it came in handy on Sunday when the rain continued! Can't wait to start planting around the container and making it pretty. I should probably get it painted first...
More to come.
I officially moved in on May 26th and spent one night in the house before going on vacation. It was so exciting that I kind of wanted to stay home and get settled in for Memorial Day weekend, but I had a great time visiting with family in Charleston, SC instead.
I put some of the finishing touches on the bathroom this week. I installed my Sun-Mar Composting toilet, bathroom vanity, and the vanity light! Bathroom is basically done now - and super exciting milestone... I have running water! I'm going to do a separate post about my toilet to provide information on how I came about selecting a composting toilet, the selection process, and also a review once I get it started.
For now, here are some pretty pictures!
The time has come for final touches! I'm not going to say much to this post, except that with lots of trim comes lots of detail work around the trim! We'll start with the bathroom. I painted the bathroom ceiling a semi-gloss and painted it with a brush to get a nice thick layer (personal preference). The walls are also semi-gloss in the bathroom to help with moisture and avoid moisture soaking into the bead board and swelling it. This is the concern that caused me to finish the shower enclosure with 'Polywall' laminate.
First thing, enclose the shower and finish the bathroom walls! I started with some green board (drywall) for mold and mildew resistance in the shower walls. I used the shower base and the depth of the drywall to get an exact location for the wall to the left of the shower. Installed all the drywall in the enclosure, then fit the shower into place! A few days later, Jonathan and Fred installed the shower for me and cemented the base to the floor. Currently, the drain pours directly under my container, but I plan to route that into a grey water system. More to come on that later!
The next step was a combination of building up the bathroom walls and running some of the plumbing. First, we used the wood from the insulation braces to build the bathroom wall. The right side of the wall is where I plan to put a plumbing manifold so I built this with 2x6s for the extra depth. The other side is a standard 2x4 construction. The wall that divides the shower enclosure and toilet is also a 2x4 construction.
The Insofast UX 2.0 Panels connect together to form a continuous insulation layer. In just 2" of insulation I get a continuous insulation R-Value of R-8.5. The panels include a fully insulated composite stud that allows me to glue these panels to the walls of the container and then install beadboard (in my case) to the wall as I would install to traditional 2x4 framing. The big benefits are the low profile, ease of installation, and cost. The cost is comparable to traditional 2x4 framing and insulation but is considerably easier to install. No nails or nasty fiberglass insulation required. Just panels and lots of glue! I also considered studs and spray foam insulation but the cost was too high.
Once I got a few of the minor leaks and rust spots fixed up, window flashing up, and door sealed it was time to get busy on the electrical.
First, I developed electrical plans and checked them with an electrician to make sure I was doing everything to code. I didn't use any electrical planning tools, but my simple electrical layout is shown below. Each color represents a breaker with a description of what is included on that breaker. The highest amperage draw is from the tank-less electric hot water heater at a max of 60 amps (B9).
The next step to completing the container house is prepping the interior surfaces. Mainly, there are rust spots that need to be fixed prior to installing insulation and electrical.
First, I prepped rusty scale and loose paint inside the container using a wire brush. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the prep process.
Due to all the prep work, and my choice of door, the door installation was a piece of cake! The door is so heavy we had a few helpers come out to lend a hand. I didn't get any pictures of the crew but Jonathan, myself, Lindsay, and Austin all came out to make it happen. The door I selected is a steel 72" x 80" patio door with venting sidelights. I love the idea of being able to open the sidelights like windows and they came already screened in. The door was pre-hung with brick molding and cost only $600. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the store that the fittings have a brushed nickel look and the screens are built in because it wasn't advertised like this on the website - and it only cost $600.
My name is Ashley. I want to minimize my footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I'm an engineer with a love for simplistic industrial design and fabrication.