Aussie couple builds off-grid mobile home with two shipping containers

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Sep 28 14:07:58 BST 2017

Aussie couple builds off-grid mobile home with 2 containers

Dirksen on June 5, 2016

Paul Chambers had began building a home out of 
two shipping containers as a project, but when 
his wife got tired of suburbia and put their 
four-bedroom home on the market, his project 
became the couple’s full-time home.

Paul and Sarah Chambers were living in rural 
Scotland when Paul received a job offer in 
Australia. They packed their belongings and moved 
to a large home with a pool in an Australian 
suburb. After only a few months, they began to 
tire of spending so much of their income on their 
home. They also felt they’d lost touch with 
nature and a more active lifestyle (“there 
weren’t even any trails for walking”, explains Sarah).

So they sold their home and moved with Paul’s 
“project”: two shipping containers he’d been 
transforming into a kitchen/bathroom + 
bedroom/living room. They found someone willing 
to let them park their new home on their rural 
property in exchange for making improvements to the land.

When the couple first moved onto the property, 
the home was a very simple shelter and over the 
following three years, they built the containers into a proper home.

“There was a tv show that came up in the last 
couple of years
 it was a reality show where 
contestants were going to build a shipping 
container house in a day and I was just 
incredulous thinking how were they going to pull 
this one off because I’d been at it for two and a 
half years. It turns out they were just 
decorating a 
house’ and they never actually lived in it so 
they never got to find out just how bad their 
design was. They would have froze and they would have been miserable.”

“There’s as much effort goes into building a 
shipping container house as there is in a real 
house because you need real insulation, you need 
to make it warm, you need flowing water, you need 
power points, it’s a real house.”

Their home is completely off the electric and 
water grids. When they first moved to the bush 
they used a 3kw Honda generator, but they’ve 
since installed 2Kw of photovoltaic panels and a 
bank of batteries and phased out the generator. 
They have enough energy to power their home with 
all its conventional appliances, including a 
standard fridge/freezer. For heating, they rely 
on firewood (collected from fallen trees on the 
property; they have “not cut down a single 
tree”). For air conditioning, they use fans and AC “during really hot days”.

In the beginning they had to rely on water 
deliveries, but Paul has since installed an 
extensive rainwater capture setup- both on the 
roof and gutters beneath the home- which provides 
for all their water needs: 65 square meters of 
rain water collection in 10,000 liters of 
storage. The indoor bathroom includes a shower, 
but Paul built an outdoor, open air bathtub which 
they heat with solar in the summertime.

They’ve also created an extensive vegetable 
garden inside a netted garden cage (after the 
animals and hot sun destroyed their first 
attempts). For eggs, they have two hen houses.

has published an ebook explaining how he built 
the home including a step-by-step guide: buying 
and moving shipping containers, a wiring diagram 
and schematics, installing solar panels and a 
breakdown of costs (He has also been 
his own videos detailing the process).

“Could anyone do this?,” responds Paul to my 
question. “It’s been a lot of effort and it takes 
persistence. I’d say persistence is probably the key to it.”

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish 
participation in Bormann companies that when 
Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the 
Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. 
Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities 
in no uncertain terms that this must never happen 
again because a repetition would permanently 
rupture relations with the Germans of Latin 
America, as well as with the Bormann 
organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish 
money to Israel. It never happened again, and the 
pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an 
Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most 
efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.
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