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Shipping Container House Q&A - Living Tiny Project Episode 024 Part 1

After almost 6 month of the building we think it’s about time to answer some questions people are asking us! So, we decided to do a Q&A and try to answer all the questions. Starting with one personal question.

Do you guys ever fight? Well, usually we have the same opinions. I guess the only time we argue is when I’m hungry or when I get tired (usually when we are recording audio toooo many times), I stop been that helpful. But, usually during the building we don’t argue at all.

Are you planning to insulate the house? What kind? What are you planning for the walls? We wanted to use spray foam, but where we live here in Brazil they don’t have the machine to spray the foam. Second option. To buy the foam in a block, but it’s really expensive. So, we decided to use PET wool or recycled fiberglass wool. I don’t know if you have this one in your country. Here in Brazil they produce a wool out of bottles of soda and water and it’s a good insulation. A lot of people are using this solution to insulate their shipping containers here in Brazil. The first plan was to use PET wool to insulate all the house, but Duca’s cousin donated to us a lot of EPS and we decided to use all this EPS to insulate the ceiling.

Did you do any video recording or editing before? That’s actually a long story. What we are doing now is one of Duca’s dreams since 13 years ago. When we met Duca was starting his first try of a documentary. He went for a sabbatical trip to Europe in 2005 and ended up in Morocco in a film festival and fell in love with documentaries. So, he decided he wanted to be a filmmaker. By that time Youtube was just in the beginning and if you wanted to be a filmmaker that time you would need to do something for television and that was not that easy. In 2005 when Duca come back to Brazil he wanted to go to the Columbia University in Chicago to study film, but even though he would get a scholarship it would be still really expensive. So, he gave up of this dream for a while. In 2009 he found a film school in São Paulo (the biggest city of Brazil). He took a intensive course in January of 2009 and loved it! This same school have a 2 years cinema course and Duca was excited to start it! We found out that they have a contest that the who win the competition of short films win a scholarship to study cinema for free for the whole 2 years. Oh!! To explain this part I need to explain a little bit more what happened as soon as we met. When we met, in September 2006, Duca was going to a 8 months trip to film his first documentary. So, I decided to embark together in this trip as a photographer. Duca and one friend were producing a documentary together and they went to Hawaii on December and I stayed in Brazil because I had classes in university until February. On February 2007 I met them in Australia, where we spent 2 months, and then we went to Indonesia, where we stayed 2 months more. Then Duca and I ended up in China, where his brother was living by that time, and stayed there for almost 2 months.

Long story short. This documentary that we tried to film didn’t go that well because our friend and us had different opinion and we didn’t want to tell the same story. So, the documentary never had and end. On the other hand, Duca got all the images we had from this trip and produced a short film to compete in the contest. The thing is… the year before there were 7 competitors on the contest and the year Duca has competed there were more than 70. No, he didn’t win the competition, but remember that I said he took the 1 month intensive course in January? By that time he got friend of many people in the school and they did a sort of a campaign and Duca got a 40% off scholarship. Thus, in 2009 Duca moved to São Paulo to finally start studying cinema. In the beginning he was sooooo excited. By this time I was finishing my degree at University and I was really busy finishing my final university project. So we were both pretty busy, but anyhow we manage to see each other by time to time.

In July 2009  we went for an one month trip to Europe and that’s when Duca fell in love with photography! He bought a camera that you can film and also take pictures in high quality, Canon 5D Mark II. We visited friends in Paris (France), Barcelona (Spain) and Berlin (Germany) and took pictures that later we sold for a big retail store in Brazil called TokStok. This was our first photography project. The second one was in 2011, the photography book that he did about the native fishing in our city called Nossa Pesca (Our Fishing).

As I said, in the beginning Duca loved the cinema course! But, in the middle of the course he realized that to accomplish a task on the school he needed a team and most of the people weren’t helping. So, he got tired of working hard (he was working in 2 jobs by that time to be possible to live in São Paulo, that it’s a expensive city) and thought about the future after graduating and at the same time his dad needed help in his new company. So, Duca decided to come back to our city and start working with his dad. By that time youtube wasn’t what it is today and most of his friends that went to the course with him work for advertising and Duca’s dream was to produce documentaries, and it was not a easy thing by that time. Of course he learned a lot during this 8 months that he studied cinema: script, production, edition, equipments and so on. But it was just 7 years later that Youtube has become what it is now and many people can produce by themselves their own content to be watched worldwide.

Now, I can answer the question: Yes, we do have an experience editing and producing videos, but it was a long time ago. The softwares have changed, the equipments have changed, the way of producing videos has changed… the only thing that hasn’t changed is the willing of producing documentaries!!

Do you guys have any help with the video production or it’s just the two of you? We usually are just us! But sometimes we have some friends helping with the building, but they don’t come that often. We also have a friend that when he can he flies the drone for us, Andre. He is our friend, our partner on our sailboat, our lawyer and so on.

How long does it take to produce, edit one episode? About the production it depends on the task we are doing on the moment. But, usually we spent 4 or 5 days working on the building and then we stay at home editing the video for that week. In the first season of Odd Life Crafting some times it took more than a month to edit one single video. In the beginning of season 2 it took us around 1 week to have a video edited. But now Duca has 3 days to edit, color correct, audio correct and so on. Meanwhile I need to do the posts, description, costs of the building, to cook, to clean the house, among other things. Oh! And everyday when we arrived at home Duca put the images of the day in the computer, put in the correct folder and named every single video.

Can I record my band’s video clip on the top of your deck? It’s possible. It would be cool to see our house in a videoclip!!

Which computer program do you use for 3D model and for editing? For 3D model we use Sketchup and for editing we use Premier Pro.

Which camera do you use? Until December we were still using the camera we bought in Europe in 2009, the Canon 5D Mark II. We bought a new camera in December and now we are using a Sony A6500.

How does it work with permits? It’s the same as for a regular house, at least in our city. Every country, estate, city has their on code, so you need to check the permits before building anything.

Are you planning to have a staircase to the top of the shipping container? We are planning on have a ladder. Duca wants to have a ladder that you can remove it when it’s not been used, but I prefer to have something more stationary. How about railing? We don’t want to have any railing maybe some plants on vases around just to mark the edges.

What are you planning for the deck? We are planning to use this as a relaxing place, a place to see the sunset.

Did you purchase the property? No. This has been Duca’s father property for almost 30 years. So, he allowed us to use a part of the land for a while. In order to use the land Duca needed to do a contention wall for him, as Duca is a civil engineer.

Are you going to save the rainwater from the roof? Yes, we will. But someone said that the water can be contaminated with the stain we painted the woods, so we might use the water just for flowers and other plants that we won’t eat.

How many shipping containers are you using? What is the size of the house? We are using just one 40 feet shipping container. In the end the house is going to have around 27 square meters inside, plus the wooden decks outside.

Today would you buy two 20 ft shipping containers instead of one 40? When we saw this question was funny because we had talked about that a week before. If we could go back we would by just one container of 20 feet, it would be enough for us.

Do you plan to live in this house until retirement? We are not planning on retiring. We are not willing to work with regular jobs paying tax to the government to have a payment in the end of our lives. We want to live the moment. We want to make our youtube channel our job. The idea is to live in the house until we have a big enough boat to live in. Maybe 3 years.

When you cut walls/windows does that affect the integrity of the shipping container? The walls of the shipping container are also structural, so depending what big is the cut you are planning on doing on that you need to reinforce the structure on the container. What I mean by that is that if you cut a big wall (as we did when we cut a 2.33 meters by 2.60 meters, when we opened a wall to access the west container) the container can lose the integrity. We could feel the floor moving a little bit and we did some reinforcements. We put a piece under the container and we welded a metal bar on the corner on the inside part. But if you need to cut a smaller part, as a window, there is no structural problem.

Do you have a regular job? What is your profession? Right now the building of our Tiny Shipping Container House and the video are all we do, 24/7. If we are not working on the building itself we are editing at home, going to stores, projecting and so on. I’m an environmental engineer and Duca is a civil engineer but we are not working with our professions right now. Duca graduated in Business school in 2009 and studied 8 months of cinema also in 2009. In 2010 he started working with construction management he decided to do a MBA in Real Estate and Construction Management, that’s when he met a lot of engineers and decided to go back to university to study Civil Engineer. He graduated in 2015 and in 2016 we went to Australia because he started a Master Degree in Structural Engineer at Sydney University. As the course was different that we thought that would be and it was really expensive, and also the cost of living for us in Sydney was too high we decided to leave Australia. So now we are both 34 years old and the building of our house is our own profession, we don’t have any aside work.

How can we afford to build the house? Duca always wanted to study in an university abroad and we have been saving money for that since we are living together, 2010. So, by now we are living with the saving that we saved for the Master degree. We think it might last for 1 and half year. In order to continue doing what we love, the building of our house and other dream projects we have in mind, we came up of an option for people to help us to keep doing what we love.

Some days from now we are going to explain all about Patreon, but if you want to check out our account you can go to

What you are gonna do after the house is done? The ultimate dream is to live aboard a sailboat. So, we are gonna enjoy the house for a while, I’m really excited to start having a garden and to grow some food around the house. Meanwhile we want to give an extra step on the dream of living on a sailboat. We want to build a brand new or buy an old boat to renovate. Duca loves sailing and have introduced me to this new world that I have never been into before. My family used to go to the farm when I was a kid or just to the sand of the beaches, I have never been inside a sailboat before and Duca introduced me to this amazing world of the sailing. We have read many books about families sailing around the world and we think this way of life fits perfectly to us. So, I think this will be the next project. Hopefully.

Well, in the next post we will continue to answer the questions. Thanks for reading them!!