Installing a Soapstone Masonry Heater

If you’re looking for a beautiful, fuel efficient heat source that works even when the power is out, then a masonry heater is an excellent choice. Here in Cascadia, we’re increasingly aware that a major earthquake will likely disrupt the power grid for an…

Ships Ladder with Reclaimed Paneling

A ships ladder is a great option for ascending between floors when little space is available. We built this alternating tread stair in our own home to access a yoga and meditation loft. It tucks into a modest 24″ wide cavity formerly inhabited by…

A Self-Sorting Home Recycling System

I was looking for a convenient way to sort recyclables that was easy to access from my kitchen, but didn’t take up a lot of valuable space. Nothing seemed to fit the bill, so I decided to give it a go and see if…

Building Stone Walls with Urbanite

If you’re wanting to build beautiful stone walls for your landscape  – urbanite rocks!  “Urbanite,” better known as waste concrete, is plentiful; lasts pretty much forever; is easy to work with and in most cases … it’s free!  Surprisingly, few people take advantage of…

Installing a Living Roof – Fast!

Over the years, we’ve been a strong advocate for living roofs.  Their beautiful form graces many of our projects as well as our home and office. The appeal is many-fold:  Living roofs replace the ecology disturbed by buildings by moving it upward – to…

Tiny House – The Making of the Kingfisher

When friend and master craftsman Dan Neumeyer, approached me about collaborating with him on a tiny house it piqued my interest. So much of design is about stripping away the unnecessary so that only the essential remains. Tiny houses do this. They reduce the…

Cargo Shed – Complete

The curved roof provides a nice compliment to the box below.  It is fashioned from aluminum so it won’t leach zinc into the watershed (harmful to aquatic critters).  The space above the container gives ample storage for long materials.  It’s surprising how much –…

Cargo Shed – Storage Loft

The roof is the weakest part of a shipping container.  It’s flat, so the salt spray from sea voyages has been slowing working away at its surface.  The metal used is a thin gauge and if left uncovered, the existing corrosion would have only…

Cargo Shed – Interior Finish

One of the psychological challenges in using containers is their cold interior. Despite the ‘cool’ industrial factor inherent in steel design, very few of us opt to live inside metal boxes.   We went with our gut on this one and decided to sheath the…

Cargo Shed – Insulation

Shipping containers can be really damp inside. The combination of cold steel and humidity often results in condensation and a lot of it.  The moister the climate the more problematic this is.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, water literally rained off of the interior…

Cargo Shed – Framing

Contrary to popular belief, containers are neither square, level, nor plumb.  The weight of five other containers stacked above causes them to bow out over the years.  They are built to general specifications, but we found a fair bit of variation in ours –…

Cargo Shed – Purchase

We did a lot of looking around and finally settled on a shipping company that sold their excess inventory direct to private parties.  Delivery was about five hundred dollars and it took a few weeks for the size, shape, and color of container that…