From the Blog

Hot, Wild, Dream House Fantasies

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Besides wanting more money, I don’t think I’m a materialistic person.  I find that if I get crabby or anxious or insecure, I can pretty much trace it back to not having a million dollars in my bank account.  Besides that, my life, on the whole, is quite grand.

One way of distracting myself from the pain of not being fabulously wealthy, is to fantasize about the houses I own.  You know, the houses I own, in my brain.  It can be like an obsessive toy or mental game for me to think about locations and architecture and designs.  If the going ever gets rough in reality, or I have a hard time falling asleep, I zone out and go visit one of my busy little house fantasies.

My dream house fantasies are probably bland and exceedingly practical, as far as wild, hot, dream house action goes.  I think about locations of rooms, and I judge that bathrooms and kitchens should be somewhat adjacent, because, you see, that’s how plumbing works.  Because my fantasy brain is concerned about violating the laws of plumbing.  And I’m not spending extra fantasy money to pay for far-flung fantasy bathrooms.

My houses are never really large or extravagant.  Two bedrooms, maybe three.  Two bathrooms.  Lots of usable outdoor place, preferably as integrated as possible.  A fireplace would be nice.  A hot tub would be awesome.  An indoor garage, probably for two vehicles (for my current car, plus some fantasy roadster convertible) and room for camping gear.  And a fricken laundry room!  Joy of joys!  See, I’m not asking for a lot. Just a washer and dryer to call my own.

My dream fantasy houses become somewhat unconventional in that I want to build with some unusual materials.  And always as “green” and impact-neutral as possible.  When I was living in California, I wanted to buy fantasy property near Joshua Tree and build a house with straw bale. It’s fairly cheap and rustic to construct, if you have fantasy friends to help you haul straw bales around.  It would be easy to implement solar energy, radiant heat through the floors, and passive climate control, as the thick walls are super-insulated.  And in my house, I would strive for reclaimed wood, mismatched fixtures and natural textures to feel at home in the desert landscape.

I still love this idea.  And I still tinker with mental floor plans and dream of exposed timber frames, natural stone and thick pocket windows.  But I live in Oregon now, and you need a drier climate (than Portland) for straw bale construction.  So, ever practical, I have turned my fantasy energy to other unconventional materials.  Now I think it might be neat to build a house made out of shipping containers.

Seriously.  There are people doing this.  Shipping containers are cheap, strong, and easy to build with.  They can be as modern or traditional as your fantasy brain wishes.  And it’s like playing with Legos again in my mind, trying to figure out how best to stack and construct my shipping container house.  I’d most certainly plant a green roof, maybe a garden.  And implement a catchment water system.  I would also be sure to have at least one forty foot container standing UPRIGHT, so that part of my house would be a tower.  Because who doesn’t want a tower as part of your house?  Didn’t you play with Legos?

I would actually like to build a house.  I’d like to buy some land, on a river, or in the mountains, or near the coast, or in the desert.  Anywhere pretty.  If I could buy the land, I’d build the house and use it as a getaway.  Or I could rent it as a vacation property.  I just dream of creating my own space and putzing around and being weird.  Practical, but weird.  I could build my crazy shipping container house on a vacant lot in Portland and be really super weird!

And again, my house doesn’t need to be extravagant or large.  Two bedrooms, or three bedrooms max, because I haven’t added fantasy kids to my fantasy house, though I want to maybe allot for that later.  Or not.  Or maybe I just want an office and a room for guests.  Or maybe a room for all the bulldog puppies I’m going to get (many.)  Because SOMEONE is going to need to fantasy poop in my fantasy yard.


  1. Is your fantasy bulldog going to be as restless as this one in your fantasy house?

  2. Gawd. I want a squirmy butt pup right fricken now!

  3. I find that the Fantasy Children are always a lot quieter (neater, more well behaved) than the ones in real life.

    I’d never considered the Shipping Container House. But maybe I should! Then we could pretend we were the Boxcar Children.

    In our brains, of course.

  4. We should totally hang out. I do this all the time too (a kitchen with *GAS* instead of crappy electric, oh joy of joys!). Along with your last post with the want for graphic design/web design work (which I do freelance), it’s like sometimes you’re talking from the other half of my brain. I would love love love to build a shipping container (or dome kit) house, preferably on the coastal range in the woods overlooking the ocean. Now to get some millions of dollars to buy that property…

  5. Yurts! I like yurts, with composting toilets and water cachement tanks… the shipping container idea is great! the real beauty of it is that if you have kids, but didn’t originally plan for it, you can add another shipping container!! presto! room for the kids.
    Very weird that you do this. I do it too. Design and build my house. You should check out extreme homes. maybe on HGTV on the web. they have all kinds of cool houses built with unusual materials, or in bizarre configurations.

  6. Hi

    I just came across your blog yesterday whilst reading the Oregonian, and I must say I am thoroughly enjoying your writing…I moved to Portland from San Diego 10 years ago much like you on a whim with 1 friend already there…i lived on NW 23rd and Johnson in a one room studio in a brick building up the street from the beloved Music Millinium. I moved back to San Diego in early 2000 and still miss the gray and rain.

  7. Every time I fly somewhere I think of how interesting it would be to make a house out of the expandable ramps that extend out to enter the plane. Just think about it. You could rotate it around at different times of day, extend it out if you have guest, and the opening that goes out to the plane would make a nice deck.

  8. more pictures with container house

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