A Blueprint for Building a Bush Container Home – Paul Chambers
Retired UK Royal Air Force engineer Paul Chambers and his wife Sarah moved to the Australian bush to escape their noisy neighbours in Kent, England. They built their home from scratch using two, 40ft shipping containers, and now have published two e-books that describe the best way to hand build a shipping container home.
A radical departure
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the couple were pretty sick of their antisocial neighbours in the UK back in 2010 so sold up: “I came home one day to discover Sarah had put the house on the market and was calling in my promise that we could one day move to somewhere more agreeable. The house sold within a week to the first people who came to view, we were then homeless. The container house was totally unready to be lived in.”
The couple found a cow paddock at the top of a mountain, 62 miles outside of Newcastle, NSW, and started the long road to sustainable living. They bought two pre-used shipping containers, but had to build a road to get them to their new spot.
March 2011 – the build begins…
Paul began his blog Container House in March 2011, describing to readers the process they went through to achieve their ambitions. His first blog was about installing windows in the container, and over the next year it touches on sorting out a rainwater harvesting system, a metal sun shade, and preparing the new site for the containers.
By July that year they were preparing the electrical supply, and in September the couple stayed in their future home for the first time. At this stage Paul and Sarah were living off site but would spend more and more time there as it became more habitable and ultimately end up living in the shipping container home full time.
On September 20, 2011, Paul wrote of his first night there: “It was a great success. The fire ran all evening with the door open and no smoke. We moved the bed a little closer to the fire and have identified that insulation is now the next priority. We liked the wide throw LED light and will get some more of them. We need to put curtains up as we draped a sheet over the window to help on the insulation. Running water is working (only cold at the moment). We woke up with the sun streaming in and the birds singing.”
Fast forward to 2016…
So, how do Paul and Sarah live there today? It seems that no one in this world can get very far without the internet, and sure enough Sarah runs an online business from their bush home that operates on mobile broadband. This brings in vital cash so they can be self-sufficient.
The couple have children and grandchildren back in the UK, and this is a real issue for them – not having the space for their loved ones to stay, they have to fly back to Blighty to get any contact with them. While they miss their family, Paul said to the Daily Mail, “The early years were a major test, I doubted Sarah would want to stay in the Bush, but it has turned out to be her natural environment.”
Lessons for others
With a sizeable following of his YouTube channel and WordPress blog, and people asking him for tips and tricks in building their own shipping container bolthole, Paul has now published two books to show the best ways he discovered to show others what he learned.
Written as an instruction manual the books are part memoir but mostly a technical rundown of the processes involved, covering much of what the aspiring shipping container homemaker would have to do to take their metal box and make it a comfortable, safe and completely off-grid homestead.
One of the reviews is extremely enthusiastic: “I FREAKING LOVE IT It gives me exactly the insight I needed to accomplish something of this magnitude. I’m working night and day to be able to get this project up and running you know lol! No matter how hard I tried looking on the Web or phone calls I make it’s really difficult to find real facts and expertise on this subject.”
For those fed up with noisy neighbours and seeking a different pace of life, Paul’s adventures may well be the guide you seek…
Ready to build your own shipping container project?
Gateway Container Sales and Hire are the team to call. More and more people are choosing shipping containers to create modular, scaleable buildings for every type of housing project, from garden sheds, to contemporary homes.