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This project is from the Summer of 2010 and is now archived. Visit the IMA Island page for the next related project.

Space space.

The space in the island is so strange to comprehend or photograph.  I find it so interesting how people’s interpretations of the space changes once they enter it.  Many people think the island looks too short to even stand in, but really it is about 9 feet tall in the center.  Others think it looks a lot larger until they step inside.  I love the distorted perspective you get as you navigate the space.  I feel I get a more “real” sense of space instead of my brain forcing a linear perspective to analyze a room.


virtual tour

a lot of people have been asking the same questions about how we live. i’m hoping to clear that up with several posts that are just informational about what the space is like.  it’s broken into three sections: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom.

To get ready for this post, and for jess to come back, i cleaned the whole house which took about an hour.  I cleaned the island more than i’ve ever cleaned my land house which would have taken me about a week to do so.  I’m really excited to go back home and apply what i’ve learned living here to hopefully simplify my life.  I’m hoping it sticks, i know sometimes i can get excited about an idea and it’ll fade within a few distractions but we’ll see.



how do you eat? put it in your mouth and chew, silly.  The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in life.  the island kitchen is no exception.  We stock the pantry with food from the local grocer. Mostly dry goods that don’t need to be refrigerated.  Peanut butter and honey is a good meal.  Things are chips, pretzels, and granola, we are naturalists aren’t we.  it’s a lot like camping food, refrigeration is hard so there is not a lot of cooking but when we do cook we go all out.

Jess and her mom supplied the grill and solar oven which reflects the sun’s heat over and over to reach temps of 300 degrees.  water is brought in from the visitor center each day because the lake water is gross.

one fun challenge was the curves of the walls making it hard to hang things.  Jess came up with this cool condiment hanger and this is my dish cradle. All this together makes our killer island kitchen.



I’m about to answer the two most asked questions. No, there is no air conditioning. To use the toilet we hike to the visitor center which has public restrooms.  However, in the event of an emergency we have a sawdust toilet which works like a human litter box.  Two buckets: one with sawdust, the other with your business.  Cover up your business with a scoop of sawdust because it’s your business and no one else s.  The sawdust will limit the smell and bacteria.  We’ve never had to use it because this is only for emergencies and we run a calm ship, even though we’ve had some empty threats for presents left in our commode.


bedroom/ dining room

for those of you too lazy to scroll back into our later post this is how the bedroom works.  Jess designed the bed which functions as storage and a table/ bench set.  With all three pieces put together it is a custom made bed that fits the interior of the island.  Pulled apart it is storage and if the cushion is removed a table.  This design is so nice because it meets so many needs and is still sensitive to our space requirements.  It has proven useful in all of our various situations spontaneous requirements.  I believe Jess has had a few requests to build furniture for people who have been impressed with it’s functionality.


Creation of the day.

All of our condiment packages we received were kept in a bulky plastic container, so I decided to utilize mini Chinese takeout containers, rope, and clothes pins to create this condiment holder.


new digs

I’ve been working on some of the homey details in the island.  I’ve just finished putting up some shelves and starting on the magnetic chalkboard.  The interior is such a blank slate that any details to make it more livable help so much to make it a mentally comfortable space.


adapted shelves

whipped this puppy together today. yup.

Since the interior walls of the island are severely slanted, we have to be a little creative about how we hang things.  One way we are getting around that is with a flexible cork board and a magnetic chalk board.  to house our dishes, and keep precious counter-space open, i made these little cradles.  They will clip into the fiberglass with special U-pins and hold a small stack of dishes.  I think it will help to make the space feel more homey.  Once they dry i’m going to paint them gray to match some of our already chosen color schemes.



Here is a panorama of the interior with all the ideas we’ve had for placement.  We want to keep things as open as possible Jess and i have’ve talked about this a lot but i just want to make sure we are on the same page before i start glueing stuff to walls.


interior design

Jess leaves tomorrow.  Before she goes i wanted to talk about some of the stuff we were going to do with the interior.  It’ll be pretty simple so that we have enough calm space to exist.  From left to right here is what i’m thinking will happen on the inside.  Door with coat rack, shelves, toilet area, kitchen sink with dish hanging devices above, cork-board above book shelf, bed with wall mounted storage pockets above, bike generator area, magnetic chalkboard and more shelves.  Then we are back to the door.  I’m sure things will change but this is the basic idea of the layout of the interior.


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