When children grow up and leave the nest, it’s a big lifestyle change for not only them but also for their parents. Many changes can occur at this time, including living arrangements for the parents. Since couples no longer need such a large house, it’s not uncommon for them to decide to move into an apartment to downsize.
That was the case for natives of Vancouver, Washington, Jaimie, and David, who ended up moving into a Kalama, Washington condominium after rearing their three children to adulthood. There they were just another couple living the “American Dream” in a condominium, but the rat race continued: work, pay a mortgage, and pay bills. It was the typical American “wash and repeat.”
Hence, circa 2017, the couple decided to go on a mission to break this furious and exhausting cycle, so they put their energies into a bold and ambitious DIY home building project. This became their life mission.
For the design, the couple decided to obtain cost-friendly discarded shipping containers in which they could design their home themselves and get rid of almost all of their debt, in the process producing something they could both be proud of.
Tiny and sustainable homes have been growing in popularity and there are plenty of reasons why. Jaimie and David chose to stack two shipping containers together for their tiny home. They chose a 40′ shipping container for the bottom and a 20′ shipping container on top, which thereby allowed for an adorable and eclectic outside railed portico.
When it came to the location of their home, the couple lucked out and found their dream location online. They wrote on their blog, That Tiny Life Love:
“We found our property on Craigslist from a private party for cheap. When we purchased it, it was a goat trail along the side of the mountain. “
They add that they did all of the landscaping themselves, mostly by hand. They also explain that they stuck with just the two shipping containers as they wanted to be mortgage-free, but they also add that “building a home out of shipping containers is more expensive than a traditional stick-built home of the same size. Live and learn.”
Doing the build themselves, the couple spent every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday working on it for 10 months until they had their dream home. Painted a gorgeous rust color with black accents, the abode is rather spacious inside. The ground floor houses a living area complete with a fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, and a large bathroom, which they could use without feeling cramped.
External stairs lead up to the top floor, where the couple’s bedroom is. They wanted to have several windows there that would allow them to enjoy their gorgeous forest view. And just outside they were able to build a railed portico where they could further enjoy the outdoors.
Insulation is a critical component of any housing structure, and effective insulation goes a long way in conserving energy and reducing utility expenses. The heavy metal construction of these containers supplies much of the insulation naturally and leaves little to be added. Additionally, space conservation is another contributor to reduced energy expenses.
All in all, Jaimie and David’s humble forest abode has all the amenities of a large house while at the same time allowing the couple to build something meaningful that would be an investment in their future. And while their hard work was a given, it wasn’t all smooth sailing during the build.
While working on the house one day, David developed a brain bleed. After calling Jaimie, she rushed to the house’s location and knew instantly he’d had a stroke or something similar. After being taken to the hospital, David had to undergo surgery, and just before he did, he whispered to Jamie that he didn’t have time for it, that they were building their house. Thankfully, David recovered well from his cerebral hemorrhage and during his recovery, the therapist even used the house’s deck and external stairs to help him relearn cognitive functioning.
If you’ve ever faced any type of hardship, which certainly most of us have, when you “come out the other side,” you can look back and see how that adversity has built strength and stamina. Perhaps that is why the project served to help David and Jaimie through this physical and emotional trauma. They wrote on their blog:
“Dave and I told Bryce & Rasa, that while we were so honored that they wanted to film our home, it was our story of love and perseverance, even when all seems impossible that we wanted to share. Our prayer was that if by sharing, we could touch just one person’s life, then it was all worth it.”
After lots of hard work and a health scare, Jaimie and David finally had their dream accomplished and they were able to never have to face another mortgage payment again.
David and Jaimie have provided a very inspirational model for others to follow. Is this something that you may aspire to tackle one day? Investigate the details of this inspirational journey made by David and Jaimie to see if it might be a calling for you. Be sure to pass this on to others as well!