For a number of years we had been working on a few DIY trailer home designs with RGON architecture. The first was a "Shoebox House" design with a telescoping upper floor that emphsizes portability and could be placed in a trailer park. The other was called the "TwoBox House" design and is formed of two shipping containers that can be stacked parallel and perpendicular for flexible placement on less-than-ideal lots. We hoped one of these designs would allow us to afford a long-term living situation in LA, either by using a trailer park spot to its fullest, or by making use of some sliver of undesirable land.
But as we were searching for land and beginning to tackle the legal requirements of these dwellings, my mom contacted us with an exciting opportunity. Through a "1031 transfer", she and her sister were selling their inherited Nebrasksa ranch and would each purchase a property of their own. My mom asked, "Should we buy an apartment building in Torrance?" And just like that we had a triplex; a suitably small apartment, exactly where we wanted to live... and no need for a DIY trailer home.
We moved into apartment A, the unit most in need of repairs, in March of 2015. Unfortunately, it was inhabited by residents who had been living there for 22 years, through multiple owners. We couldn't kick them out. Apartment C is a two-bedroom unit and more rent than we can afford. So we asked the residents in recently-renovated apartment B to move out, moved A residents to B, and then moved ourselves into A. Whew.
So the new plan is to make this apartment our dream home, applying all the things we've learned from our previous apartments. We love the size... we love the location. It just needs a lot of work. And for the first time, we can put holes in the walls, build furniture from nice materials, and buy nice appliances... The fun begins!