We have walls… on hinges!

There are two questions that we are getting asked all the time. “Are you connecting the two containers?” and “Are you insulating them?”. The answers are “yes” and “definitely yes!”. Here’s a little bit more about how we are going to do that and what it’s meant to look like once we’re done. To give you a bit of perspective, here is our proposed floor plan… it changes all the time but this is how it looks at the moment:Smith Container floor plan

We are connecting the two containers with a bridge that will act as our lounge. The thing that makes this build tricky is that we are trying to tick a number of boxes – cheap, recycled, small and mobile – and it’s the mobile part that is tricky. The floor, walls and roof that are joining the containers all need to be able to come apart when we move our home!

So first Cam built the floor frame which slots onto metal brackets and come can off when we move it:


The frame work for the floor slots into the gap but can slide out when we need to move it.

We were going to build the walls from timber, but in the light of our efforts to re-use materials and consume as little as possible, Cam has a great idea – why not use the steel cut-outs from the container walls to make the new walls? And then Cam’s dad added to the plan with another genius idea – if the walls could hinge, then we could just fold them against the containers when the time comes to move it! If you’re confused, don’t worry, there are photos coming. We met a local Hout Bay man named Faik who is a really skilled artisan welder. Together with his son, he spent two days on our site welding a hinged steel wall frame and welding the walls on.


On the far right, Faik shows how the front wall shown in the centre image, folds away against the container.


This gap will soon be our front door into the lounge!

walls-&-floor4You’ll notice that Cam has put up wooden batons all around the house already. This is because the insulation company are coming next week and there is a lot to get in place before they come. We are insulating the outside walls and inside the ceiling so all wooden batons for the cladding ceiling have to be in place, as well as the plumbing and electrical lines, so it’s all systems go this week!

Hopefully the next time you hear from us, our little house will be insulated!


13 thoughts on “We have walls… on hinges!

  1. Good Morning
    We are currently looking at doing a similar project and would like to know if the city of Cape Town has any rules and regulations with regard to building with containers that you may have come across ?


    • Hi Nigel! Great to hear from you, apologies for the late reply. That’s a great question. We are still figuring out the formalities at the moment. The first thing to do when you are building in an unconventional method is to apply for an Agrement Certification. You can read more about that here: http://www.agrement.co.za

      We haven’t been able to get this certification yet as we are changing our design all the time and figuring things out as we go. As soon as the build is done we will apply for the certification and once it is approved, to the best of our knowledge, the counsel should honour this certificate and approve the building.

      I hope that answers your question, please get in touch in you have any other questions or would like to come and see our place. We would chat more!


      • Thanks Sophie I will take a look at the link you posted. I am currently drawing up some plans. We would love to see your place just to get an idea of what it really looks like. (I have been into the containers at work just to get a perception of depth and space) I am checking on your blog everyday to see if there are any new pics. Will keep in touch regards


  2. Sophie! Frances tells me that you might be moving east so will you take the project with you and if so how is that done? longing for the next instalment love gma xx


    • Hi Gma 🙂 Thanks for reading! It’s all being built so that we could take it apart and move it the same way it got delivered to us, on a small truck… But for now we are just focussing on trying to get it inhabitable! And then we may move it or perhaps rent it out. I hope you enjoy the latest installment. xxx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s