If you can forgive the computerized voice in the Shipping Container Homes video above for about 40 seconds, you’ll be treated to a good look at how some resourceful Mainers built a tiny home on an island and off-the-grid.
“Located on Ragged Island, Maine it was designed by Alex [Porter] for her father, Bruce Porter, a retired journalist and professor at Columbia University. It combines so many amazing design elements, from the simple yet satisfying architectural style, to the off-grid power and other features that make it a fully sustainable cabin designed for a rugged environment.”
To keep the home sustainable, the TinyHouse reports the Porters employ solar panels for electricity, a fireplace for extra heat, propane for the kitchen range, a rainwater collection system, a composting toilet, and even a special off-grid refrigerator designed for storing medical supplies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I still can’t get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun,” Bruce Porter quipped in an article on the project published in Dwell.
They had to be inventive to get building supplies to the remote island location, so designer Alex Porter “settled on using an amphibious Vietnam-era Army landing craft that could drive straight up the beach,” the website explained. The corrugated steel exterior gives the structure the look of a shipping container — bringing to mind another trend in modern architecture — but is functionally resilient against the harsh winters.
To be clear, this is the Criehaven Ragged Island near Matinicus, not to be confused with the Ragged Island off the coast of Harpswell. The 0.7-square-mile island, 20 miles off the coast of Maine was reportedly the inspiration for the late author Elisabeth Ogilvie’s fictional Bennett Island, and is remote enough to be the mysterious setting for the award-winning web series “Ragged Isle.”
“Time, it seems, has had a curious effect on Criehaven,” Dwell writer Amber Bravo explained in her piece. “Technologically speaking, it has moved backward, not forward. When the year-round population of ten lobstering families held tight, there was a telephone line and a power generator (plus a schoolhouse, post office, and general store). Over the years those services withered, leaving the island’s transient residents to their own devices.”