Joseph Dupuis is a 29-year-old entrepreneur who studied engineering at Algonquin College. He describes himself as an “introvert.” He has a bit of a problem on his hands. He came up with an interesting idea, executed it, lived quietly, and then, overnight, he went viral.
In 2012, Dupuis built a cabin in Carp out of three 20-foot shipping containers on a piece of land owned by his family. It’s 355 square feet, fully insulated, and comes with a heating and cooling system, hot water, kitchen, shower, and wood stove. It’s powered by solar panels and, oh, it’s also built to be portable. Dupuis says you can dissemble the cabin, move it, and then reassemble it with relative ease.
Just more than a week ago, a photographer friend thought the home was cool and asked if he could take photos. He put those photos on the Internet.
“The next day I woke up with 5,000 emails in my inbox,” he said. “I’m kind of an introvert and I didn’t want all this public attention. That’s why I built a cabin in the middle of the woods and didn’t tell anyone about it.”
Before that, the cabin had been posted for sale on Kijiji for $58,000. The ad had a few hundred views. Now it has more than 43,000 views.
“I like the isolation because you can work on interesting projects and not be distracted by things like parties and friends and girls and all these things that society pressures us to do.”
Huffington Post Canada and BuzzFeed Canada wrote about Dupuis’ home. He’d built the cabin to get off the grid, and now he’s owner of the “coolest thing ever.”
However, if the attention wasn’t wanted, it was warranted.
The home is cool.
Essentially, it’s a 21st-century yurt, but in Carp.
It cost him $120,000, not including the solar panels, which added an additional $45,000 to his bill.
While the solar panels were a pricey upfront expenditure, it was a smart investment, he said. With no rent, electric or hydro charges, he said his biggest monthly expense was his cellphone bill.
Dupuis came up with the idea for the home in 2010 while he was studying at Algonquin. “I always had a dream of living off the land and going back to the land, so I started designing my cabin,” he said.
Dupuis is big on efficiency and keeping consumption levels low. While the home has water, he doesn’t have hydro. The cabin has a holding tank, which he fills with water from his neighbour. In exchange, he gives his neighbour firewood. It’s a “bartering system,” he says. If they were dressed in bizarro outfits, it would almost be like they were characters in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.
It took him three months to build, and in the summer of 2012 he moved in. He lived in the home for two years, including during the winter, before moving into an apartment in 2014 in Almonte.
He’s planning on using the money he makes from selling the home as capital for future investments or projects. (He’s currently working in conjunction with Algonquin on a project to make solar panels more efficient.) Until then, the home acts as a calling card to show off his design prowess.
And if the place doesn’t sell?
He’ll likely move back in. It’s not like it will cost him much.