Waking up debt and mortgage-free is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. Living in your dream home comes with a price, and most homeowners in the country spend almost a quarter of their life paying it.
The ridiculous amount of down payments and interest to take shelter in a livable home has prompted others to be more creative with solutions. That’s what Jaimie and Dave, a couple from Cowlitz County, exactly did.
Dave is not a fan of mortgage. Plus, he’s very good at metalwork. “…We thought, how hard is it to stick a couple of containers together? It’s like legos, right?” Jaimie jested. Every aspect of the shipping container home is DIY built, ranging from plumbing, electrical wirings, the home’s substructure, welding, and everything that goes into construction—they were all the fruits of Jaimie and Dave’s labor.
Despite its unconventional design and out-of-the-box layout, the couple’s home is still on the grid, with all the permits needed. In fact, they got full support from the county. Their house got approved, and they were able to process everything in record time.
What inspired Jaimie and Dave to live differently is their desire to get themselves out of the rut. Everybody seemed to be preoccupied with the daily grind paying one bill to another. Before they jumped in the plan of building their ship container home, the couple lived in a condo in Kalama, Washington, after remodeling a house in Vancouver.
But the journey to their mortgage-free home is not as cheap as some would think. Jaimie and Dave calculated the total cost to build and design their home, including the process of hooking up water, septics, and electricity. Since a conventional loan won’t be compatible with their dream house, the two worked Mondays to Thursday and worked on the project during Fridays and the weekends for ten months.
Before you make your way inside the couple’s home, you’ll be greeted by a big and beautiful garden. The entire property is filled with plants, making it feel like you’re in the garden of Eden. The lush greens, trees, rocks, and soil are a refreshing sight from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Upon entering, you’ll see the framed pictures of the couple’s kids and plenty of succulents Dave loves to collect. The living room exudes a contemporary feel. Jaimie opted to stick with a regular couch, as opposed to the customized ones with built-in storage features. The two fit nicely on the sofa and it has done its job as a cuddling sanctuary during the fall and winter, where the two loves to curl up in front of their fireplace.
For a small home, Jaimie and Dave’s kitchen is bigger than you’d expect. The luxurious granite countertops serve as the dining room area for six people. The long, galley-sized kitchen is not far from what you would see in a traditional house. It has full-sized appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, a tall fridge, and plenty of cupboards.
The bathroom is separated by a door. And like the kitchen, it almost looks like a regular bathroom you’ll see in any suburban home. Jaimie and Dave wanted a washroom where they can move around as they get dressed. Just past the bathroom is another storage space that served as a closet and a pantry. It used to be their son’s bedroom, but since he’s all grown up, he moved out to the shop.
You will need to climb a spiral staircase to reach the second floor where the bedroom is located. Jaimie and Dave’s room is pretty straightforward. It has a queen-sized bed with three windows. The couple’s bedroom has an exquisite view of the forest. They even placed bird feeders near the windows to attract more chirping friends.
Despite how beautiful their mortgage-free home is, the couple spends most of their time outside tending to their plants and becoming more acquainted with nature. Now that the house is done, Dave plans on building a suspension bridge to connect the two decks. He’s also dead-set on constructing a landing zone and a zip-line that goes through the bottom of the property.
But before their dream home materialized, the two had to overcome obstacles. Midway through the construction, Dave’s suffered a spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage. “I instantly came driving home and when I got here, he was about halfway up the driveway . . . I could tell by the way his face was that he’d had a stroke or a seizure or something.” Jaimie narrated.
Dave was waiting for his wife to arrive before he could sleep. As it turns out, the doctor told the couple Dave wouldn’t have survived the bleeding if he had slept. Dave had to undergo plenty of therapy appointments before being capable of going back to their project.
The two surmounted great challenges before making their dream a reality. “I think what this has taught us about ourselves is that we can do things that are really, really hard that if we do them together, we can definitely accomplish it,” Jaimie said with a wide smile.
For a full tour of their home, watch the video below: