It has been six years since Trevor and Jennifer left New York City occupied a small corner of Pennsylvania farmland and set about converting two shipping containers in order to safely shelter themselves, all essential belongings and a beagle, Miles.
Last year they trucked both ARK's to Maine and discovered there greatest journey lay ahead.
For three years our two shipping containers have been independent of one another.
In a weeks time that will no longer be the case.
In a bold move we will be completely overhauling the two boxes, joining them at the hip and upgrading every major system.
Kitchen space will be more than tripled, bathroom will be tripled in size and externalized from the containers.
Additional space in the form of a "Mud Room" on the forward end of the containers will be instantly useful and more so in the future as other phases are implemented into the design.
Ultimately more containers could be stacked on top of these two with access via the Mud Room.
A multi-level combination of sod, hard foam insulation and corrugated steel will be used for roofing to cover the containers, the bathroom, and mudroom taking advantage of the reinforced corners or "knuckles" of the containers for the most support.
The mud room and the outside of the containers will be framed with timber, lumber, and modular SIP's or "Structural Insulated Panels" that I am fabricating on site and sheathing with cedar shingles and boards.
Inside we plan to use a lot of forestry certified cedar boards for walls and floors while also exploring other mediums like plaster, tile and stone.
Electrical system will primarily derive its power from the current solar array (125 Watts), although in a few months we will be increasing the system's size to 600 Watts, a five fold increase! This, in conjunction with a 24 Volt battery bank that can last at least three days without any sun light whatsoever. Providing enough electricity for all lighting, recharging electronic devices, fans for ventilation and air circulation, and even potentially a "SunFrost" refrigerator.
There is also rumor of a pond/micro-hydro-electric project "breaking ground" yesterday...
Many more updates to come!
So here's a quick run down:
September 4th was Jen and my first wedding anniversary! Some of our closest friends and family visited us from Pennsylvania and New York City and we were so thrilled to have them all "upta camp" with us again!
To ring in our first anniversary Jennifer's parents, sister Lynn and her three and a half year old son Joey visited us for just a few days but it was great to see all of them. They didn't have much time last year when they came up for the wedding so it was nice that they could explore the area more and it was a good excuse to take them to a few of our favorite places to eat! My Mother and her fiance Henry joined us at 66 Steak & Seafood in Blue Hill for a big feast with everyone. 66 catered our wedding last year and the food was just as good this week as it was the day we were married.
Our friends Jon and Amber brought their amazing four year old daughter Aida and their new baby boy Riley! They also brought their awesome dogs Taboo, Denali and Matilda. They are expert campers and do all sorts of cool stuff like rock climb and raise chickens and ducks. And while they brought the same tent they had used last year when they last visited, we set them up with a great tent we had just recently acquired from a neighbor that had been damaged by wind a few months ago. It only required minor repairs and we soon had it assembled and ready for the family of four (plus three dogs) to move in for the week. It was funny to us that the tent, at 225 square feet, is larger than one of our containers (160 sq. ft.). Amber and Aida spent a few days collecting blackberries and made a few jars worth of jam from their modest haul. It is delicious!
Another old friend of ours, Dahlia, went to college with Jen in NYC and is visiting us for two and a half weeks, working out on the island for a pottery studio. Like Jen, she is an amazingly talented artist and has really been learning a lot working alongside this master potter in Bar Harbor as his apprentice. She also brought her own tent but on cold damp or rainy nights we have insisted she stay indoors on our guest bed/futon. She made us a beautiful wild flower wreath that is now hanging on the one side of the container and is helping Jen paint a banner for the first annual "Happytown Hootenanny".
We were also visited one evening this week by our neighbors and friends, the Fox girls! Nikki and her two lovely daughters Willa and Netti. Aida, Willa and Netti had lots of fun running around our camp, painting rocks, and dancing with sparklers in the cool night air.
With the generous help of our friends we have begun building an alaskan slab that will be the eventual resting place for the containers where they will then be joined together. Possibly as early as next week if all goes well. After three years living in and working on the containers we have learned so much and now we feel we are ready to make some fundamental changes and improvements to the interior design and the overall layout and composition of the shelter these two containers have afforded us. The final design layout for the two boxes in conjunction with this monolithic alaskan slab is going to be a game changer here and I am sure it will garner attention world wide among container house enthusiasts and fans of The Arkhaven and our Arkhaus Initiative!
We hired our friend and trusted excavator operator, Andy, to do the site prep work. He did an amazing job as always! Carving a ditch along the north side of the pad for run off, leveling off the pad itself, digging a perimeter trench for the footing, plus he extended our driveway out another 75 yards or so to meet the pad. We will be bringing him back over the next few weeks to build a pond (more on that in another post). Jon and I built the form for the slab and placed all the rebar and mesh so now it is ready for concrete.
Stay tuned for more updates!