For several years now I have been dreaming of purchasing some property far from the city lights. Someplace near a lake where my family can enjoy the outdoors on weekends and I can finally get serious with my Astrophotography hobby. Every few months I had been looking at the real estate website Zillow.com for the perfect property that met my criteria but could not find one.
Location, location, location. The property had to be in an area where the night sky was free of light pollution from the big city lights & not excessively far from home. Of course it had to be within my budget of $16,000. I preferred a lake front property, but a site close to a lake & boat ramp would be acceptable. Size didn't matter. Anything over half an acre would be nice. One of the most important requirements was that the site be unrestricted, meaning that there would be no home owner's association (HOA), no club or membership fees, and no building type restrictions. I wanted to be able to build whatever I wanted without having to deal with government bureaucrats or nosy neighbors.
One evening in mid June I came across a Zillow posting for a property that seemed promising. It was next to Richland Chambers Lake, half a mile to the public boat ramp, almost 4 acres, no restrictions, and was selling for $14,800. Best of all it was in the 'blue zone' of the "Dark Sky Finder' light pollution map and only a 80 minute drive from home. Finally a property that met my criteria! I called the Realtor the next morning to verify the information and put an offer of $14,000. The next day the Realtor called back and told me the seller accepted my offer and a week later I was finally a proud owner of my very own lake property!
Now the work begins.
I have decided to build a small cabin out of 2 shipping containers (or conex boxes) with an attached 2-story observatory with a roll-off roof. The reason I decided to use shipping containers is because they are strong and very secure. They can be easily locked, and since this cabin will be unoccupied most of the time, I need to be able to secure it until needed. My family and I will only visit the cabin on weekends once a month or so, and I will be using the observatory maybe every other weekend. The cabin will only be 480 square feet with a 64 s.f observatory. The cabin will have 2 bedrooms, a small kitchen, toilet & shower, and a living room.
I spent the first week designing the cabin & observatory. Here is an animation of my design.
Click here to go to next page - The work begins......