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Q&A with owners of little shipping container home

We recently wrote about Donna Stepien and Ignacio "Nacho" Villa’s 462-square-foot home made from shipping containers in Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood.

After publication, readers posted a few questions and observations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We reached out to Stepien and Villa via email for their answers and responses to a few of them:

1. Isn’t it super loud when it rains?

Stepien/Villa: No, the home is well insulated. It sounds like a gentle pitter-patter during most rainfalls. During some of those very gusty storms we’ve had, it still sounds relatively quiet.

2. Love the idea, but I am claustrophobic. (Or as another commented: I’d go nuts.)

Stepien/Villa: We both find that the many windows offer so much light and openness to the outdoors that the home feels very roomy. Also, the configuration really separates the living space into distinct areas.

The bedroom. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

3. You had better stay limber and young for that staircase. (Another commented: Can’t age in place with those stairs and bedroom up on second level.)

Stepien/Villa: Yes, that is true! We are currently blessed with good health and we exercise – walk quite a bit, ride our bicycles, canoe and hike – often. We are both in our 60s – so far, so good. However, we know we have limited time to scale our stairway and we cannot "age out" here!

An alternating tread stairway leads upstairs. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

4. Several people asked whether the place gets hot in the summertime with no air conditioning. (As one put it: No A/C living in a tin box (insulated or not) with some of our summer days?)

Stepien/Villa: Yes it does get hot, but we both lived by choice with no air conditioning for our entire adult lives. Buffalo had so few unbearable days, we deal with it.

Donna grew up in Buffalo in the '50s and '60s, and there was virtually no air conditioning she can remember. Nacho grew up with no air conditioning, just a few degrees north of the equator in a mountain valley where the temperature varied between 60 and 80 degrees year-round.

The current "need" many people in Buffalo seem to have for air conditioning is a relatively new observation in our lived experiences. We believe our environment (worldwide) requires more tolerance for what we consider to be minor discomforts.

We know this may sound "preachy," and we do not want to come across as "preachy," we just really, truly, believe this!

* Here is the article in case you missed it. There's a photo gallery, too.

Home of the Month: A shipping container 'little house'

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