After that not-so-dark day on Main Street (turned bright with challenges, said Michael mom Betty)……the workshop 308 called to say, “We hope you were serious about your comments on building a shipping container house, because we’ve been doing some drawing and think we’ve got a pretty neat house put together….but wanted to check before we went any further….” There you go.

They asked me to come by in a couple of days to see what they had come up with and, once again, they nailed it. A perfect design. Everything I wanted and a whole lot more. One 20′ shipping container for storage/shelter with a canopy to make a carport…..four 40′ x 8′ x 8’6″ containers for the main house: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room, fireplace, dining area, utility closet and kitchen….a screened porch with a deck overlooking the river, off the living room, and a screened porch, off my bedroom, cantilevered over the slope, and as close to the river as I could possibly get without putting on my wading shoes. I will be able to count the scales on a goalmouth bass….see the spots on the back of a frog…..hear a turtle plop off a log…..and live happily ever after. YEE HAW! The 8747 house is on its way.

What I’d really like to know, is what transpired from the day the words “shipping container house” were uttered until the day(today)when Nathan from Memphis brought the fourth and final container and dropped it (and I mean that both literally and figuratively) on the lot behind the workshop 308. In other words, how did Michael Mardis and Jason Mitchell manage to sell this idea to a bank and two builders and their friends and family in one of the more conservative areas in the state of Missouri? (see ’08 election results for Greene County) Where else in the world could you find an unqualified enthusiasm about such a project during the most dismal economic times many of us have ever known? And who do you know these days who would embrace this innovative-yet-utilitarian, uncertain-yet-verifiable endeavor with a menial budget, by today’s standards, of $150,000?

I think the best answer to those questions and the reason this house is going to be built is that each person who has been involved in this experience, from the very beginning, is a person first, and a professional second; and as people, you couldn’t find a better selection anywhere. They are hard-working, ethical, funny, kind, polite, mufti-talented, intelligent, visionary, creative, and most of all…..open-minded. That open-mindedness has to be one of the most important elements, whether you are surveying the land, drawing the plans, loaning the money, engineering the stricture, building the house, or driving the components from Memphis to Springfield…..and there’s not a closed mind in sight from where I’m standing….and never has been. I just wonder what they said and what they did from then until now.

So…..the money has been loaned, the shipping containers are lined up in a row, a plasma cutter has been purchased and tested, structural engineer Tom Nether will check the drawings one last time, Garrett will come smooth out the house site on Monday, Todd will have an augur and skid steer making the holes for the piers on Tuesday, and if he fits some hunting in today, may even have venison meatloaf samples for everyone involved. Life is really good. I am very happy.

Remark: Does container houses involved dangerous paint, carcinogenic / chemicals

Once the paint had off-gassed (40 days or so, generally), there are no harmful fumes. If you don’t lick the paint (and possibly even if you do), you’ll be just fine.

Or ask for the MSDS (material safety data sheet) or SDS (safety data sheet) for the paint. You might have to dig to find the lumber manufacturer to see how the wood floor was treated. My guess is yes, it is dangerous and carcinogenic, but depends on exposure. Don’t ingest the paint or breathe the fumes as it off-gasses. If you plan to live in it, you will likely encapsulate the interior, thereby reducing your risk of exposure. Long term health risks are likely still there. Ensure good ventilation- maybe add exterior vents.

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