• David

If it would be easy everybody would be doing it

Dernière mise à jour : juil. 20

What’s up people!

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but that means I was too busy building!

Here is a short wrap-up of the work done since… The first container got delivered on the foundation, it went quite well considering the fact that no one got hurt, the crane guy dropped the container on the next delivery after ours… :( I spent a few weeks back and forth to get our land connected to the power grid so I could start cutting and welding the windows and doors. It was a bit of a painful process and had to pay another electrician to re-do the work of another guy that I paid to install our meter box… frustrating that’s for sure. But a great relief when I had the power to my main breaker box. From there I designed and installed our electric system for the shop but also planned for the first 2 rooms, kitchen, and bathroom.

Getting a good feel of the height of the container and what will eventually a sick roof terrace. The container delivery was pretty damn sketch. The guy didn't really seem to know what's up with manoeuvring this 4000kg 12M metal box. He banged our electric post, break one of the center column and overall been a bad crane driver. Glad this thing is in place and ready to build!
Un-shackling the container from the sketchy crane setup

Building the window frames and doors, simple as cutting pieces of metal and welding them together right…NOPE! Gotta research to find the metal you need/want, which is not available in the area, so change the concept a bit, to finally source some 1.5’’x4’’x3/16’’ beam right here in Pescadero for cheaper than in the big hub… (how and why I don’t know) Even before finding these beams, I had to get a hold on someone who can build custom-sized aluminum windows and see what are his specs and re-design and build accordingly. So yeah it’s not as simple as welding a few pieces of metal together.

Even if the container looked in somewhat decent shape for a rusty 2006 sea-can, it’s way more banged up than what we thought. Have you ever driven a forklift with an 8 feet tall pallet at the front? Well, it’s no easy task and most likely you would run into some obstacles, our container was one of them; obstacles for some years. And what about the compression that this sea can has suffered over time. Years of top-loading have put huge stress on the corrugated walls. Not sure what 2 cents comparison I can do with trying to cut a straight line in a banged-up corrugated metal wall that’s been bearing loads for sometimes can feel like, scary maybe would be a great word to describe it… Definitely improved my working process to make a faster and safer work with a result reaching the “as good as it gets’’ level of quality.

The frames are made of metal 1.5''x4''. There are extra strong, maybe even too strong but we really wanted to make sure that when we will be putting a second container on top our walls will remain with a good structural integrity. The frame are welded from the outside all around for three main raisons: 1. Industrial look, it's just part of the container 2. To prevent any water from leaking inside, most container builder don't weld all around and need to apply caulk. I hate caulk! 3. It's just plain way stronger and we'll be able to load up the container with more containers!
Frame of the bed window with futur ocean view and a nice breeze

Cutting is one thing; welding is another. Need to fit a custom 5’x 3’ 40 pounds window frame in a not straight wall. Cannot lie, I followed a couple of certificates at the Youtube University of building stuff by yourself. Lots of great ideas and concepts out there but no one can say how to turn something ready to send for scrap metal into straight as an arrow again. So I follow the rule of thumb, hammered the most dented spot back to an “as good as it gets’’ level. Then I used the “hold this fucker in place while I weld’’ technic. I was really surprised by the results.

We are really happy how the windows turned out. Lot's of work that for sure but sitting at the desk and enjoying the breeze is a blessing! We will be growing some vine, bougainviliar and Pallo de Arco on the south side of the container to create shade and preventing sun to hit directly the outside wall which should help even more to keep the temperature down.
The window in front of the desk with view over the ocean

The price of material and labor in the area have been going to the roof in the last year. A lot of big projects have been taking over all the labor leaving small projects like ours a non-attractive business for the workers and builders. We just have the feeling that we’ve been served the gringo price on many quotes. So we decided to just do as much as we can by ourselves. Normally I would’ve gone to a window and door place buy something off the shelf and design around it. But there is no such place around here except Home Depot but the quality is next to garbage. So we went custom and DIY on almost everything. We contracted the windows to a local guy that did awesome work. But I took on to build the doors. A Lot of work has been put into these doors but I’m proud of the results. My girlfriend said: “They are exactly like your drawings.’’ Me: “Well I hope so, that was the plan’’ haha.

It's hard to find good quality product here in Baja, so we decided to build as much as we can by ourselves. Those doors are made of raw metal and off cuts from the door opening. It was quite a bit of work to make the whole thing fit and specially to fit the corrugated inline with the rest of the corrugated of the container. The pattern is something we had in mind for quite a while and it's nice to finally build it. For the light, we used a piece of corrugated that fit perfectly in between the two doors.