2 February 2024

The Queanbeyan mum who moved her family into shipping containers

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Ashlee Coombe considered a smaller apartment, renting a granny flat or even living in a caravan before buying a mobile home made of shipping containers. Photos: Supplied.

Ashlee Coombe admits she was worried that moving her boys into a home made of shipping containers would cause them some embarrassment.

But Bailey, eight, and twins Noah and Chase, six, “absolutely love it” and – even though it’s squashy – love having friends over to show off their unusual digs.

Ashlee, a single mum, was “only just” staying afloat financially last year when a debilitating spinal injury made it impossible for her to work. Facing a long stretch with no income, she had to get creative with living options for herself and the boys.

tiny home

Tiny homes like these are popping up all over Australia.

“The need to save money and live comfortably with my boys became a priority,” she says.

Ashlee considered a smaller apartment, renting a granny flat and even living in a caravan before hitting the Readyhomes website, where she discovered she could buy a mobile home made of shipping containers.

Readyhome builds and installs two-, three- and four-bedroom “expandable container homes” as well as one-bedroom studios, living pods and bolt-on ensuites.

Small bathroom

The compact bathroom has everything you need.

Ashlee loved the idea: but where to put it? She couldn’t afford to buy a piece of land so she did what most of us would do: asked her mum and dad. Mum Gillian and dad Paul agreed to let Ashlee and their grandsons live in their Queanbeyan backyard.

While Ashlee had initially wanted a three-bedroom, 40ft home, it would have taken up the entire yard. She opted for the two-bedroom option, at 20ft, which meant the family still had room to play, and could keep the cherished above-ground pool for summer.

Backyard pool

The smaller option left space for a backyard pool as well.

Ashlee’s house was literally craned in over the top of Gillian and Paul’s Queanbeyan home, and days later they were moving furniture in. The home stands on a trailer (with wheels) and as such is considered mobile, eliminating the need for council approval.

With all three boys in one bedroom, Ashlee used her creativity and hacked an Ikea bunk bed, adding a third level.

Ashlee got creative with this bedroom design.

“Despite my initial concern about the limited space for them to play, they actually love our tiny house,” Ashlee says.

“While it does feel cramped at times, they make use of the backyard for play, and we’re often out and about doing activities together.”

Maintaining privacy between the main house and Ashlee’s house has been a priority for both families.

“We use careful planning and open communication,” Ashlee says.

“We have separate entrances — and we’ve set clear boundaries and have ongoing conversations to ensure that both households have the privacy they need.”

Small but comfortable, inside a ReadyHome.

After surgery late last year to help heal her spine, Ashlee’s looking forward to returning to work.

“I’m yet to see the financial benefits of moving into our tiny house as I haven’t been able to work,” she says.

“But I’ve had surgery and I’m recovering well. I’ll return to work this year and will absolutely see the benefits once I have an income stream again.

“It’s exciting.”

Original Article published by Bree Element on Zango.

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