HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - With the price of real estate going up, many people are choosing to renovate the homes they own. When it comes to adding square footage, the cost can be expensive.
One Henrico man skipped traditional construction and doubled the size of his home by thinking outside of the box.
"Just a little squared-up building with overhang roof. Very flat, terrible condition. Wasn't livable here. I think that's why it sat on the market so long," says do-it-yourself renovator Chris Raynore.
...Until Raynore bought it. It was a good deal, but tiny - only 900 square feet. Raynore saw potential.
"Floating around there on Facebook, I see these ultramodern houses with sustainable ideas," said Raynore.
He and a friend came up with a few designs and decided shipping containers would easily add the square footage he wanted.
"The majority of them are at the ports. Luckily, we're only an hour-and-a-half away from the Chesapeake area, so I can get them a little bit cheaper," said Raynore.
After knocking down the connecting wall and prepping the ground, the containers arrived and were stacked with a crane.
"Actually, that was the fastest part of this whole project," Raynore laughs.
Custom windows were an expensive part of the renovation, but Chris isn't holding anything back to make his container home his ideal living space.
"I'm doing probably 95 percent of the work myself, so it's been a little slow," said Raynore. "We stacked the containers in October, so I guess eight months isn't too bad for a custom home."
Inside, the bottom container houses a bedroom, a closet, a bathroom and a cantilever staircase. Doing it himself saved Chris $9,000. The stairs lead to the upper container, which has a bedroom, a walk in closet, a loft, plus a second-floor covered patio.
Raynore details how he did it: "Cut the walls off the sides, added a garage door, and it looks amazing."
With the entire home gutted, he framed and wired the house. He used spray foam to seal it. He's installed LED lighting and mini split units to lower his power bill.
"I'd like to keep my bills under $100. Since it's cinder block, I'm wrapping it in metal, and I'm going to let nature take care of it and give it a nice patina," said Raynore.
The containers will be painted. When finished, he'll have a three-bedroom, two-bath home built as efficiently as possible, while doubling the size of his home.
"It's been opened up so big that it doesn't look like anything but a house." Chris says.
Chris had to buy the adjacent lots to get sewage to the property, one of the unexpected costs with this project. With lessons learned from his own renovation, he plans to build more homes there using only containers that he thinks will go together and sell quickly.
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