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I am a retired residential contractor from Ohio. I purchased a house I believe your company built in 1981 as evidenced by photos and original prints. House is located in Pioneer, California. I am amazed at the condition of the house (virtually new) after 30 plus years.The laminated wall pieces would explain the excellent condition of the wood. Walls are about 3" thick. The house has propane heating and A/C and a wood burning fireplace and is located at about 3000 ft elevation. It is about 1500 sq ft, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 bath, single floor ranch style with living room projecting out the back.

There's no checking or cracks on the interior walls which are still natural cedar throughout and very minimal checking on the exterior which has been painted. Very impressed and pleased overall.

— Contributed by Dennis Dubaniewicz, Aug 28, 2015


By an IHC homeowner who built a 5800 SF home in Washington State.


IHC Home Survives Hurricane Charley

For many people, the idea of a solid timber home has been a lifelong dream. Nearly 30 years ago, we purchased a lot on the Gulf of Mexico on a remote and nearly deserted barrier island in SW Florida. Our plan was to escape the cold winds of Chicago and retire in sunny Florida. With a house that sits roughly 30 yards off the Gulf of Mexico, the ability to withstand hurricane force winds was a big factor in the design of our home. After extensive research, we chose a home by IHC not only for its beauty, but for its strength and durability.

We completed our IHC home, a modified "Leeward" model, on Little Gasparilla Island back in 1985. For almost 20 years, though, we were spared the fury of Mother Nature and we became quite complacent about tropical windstorms. "Hurricanes just don't hit here," we jokingly told our worried friends each hurricane season. We were eventually to be proven quite wrong. Read more...

Early summer of 2004 had been a relatively calm year for tropical hurricanes in SW Florida. The month of August changed all that, with 7 named storms, four hurricanes and three MAJOR hurricanes. Hurricane Charley -- the deadliest of them all -- slammed into the Charlotte Harbor area on Friday the 13th - we should have known that day would be a bad omen! We were antique dealers and were doing an outdoor antique show in Maine. Friends of our daughter from Chicago were vacationing in our house, enjoying the extremely warm Gulf waters.

As Charley was forming in the Caribbean, we told our daughter's friends to just ride out the storm. "Don't worry, it won't hit the island"....we again joked. As Charley crossed the mountainous terrain of western Cuba, forecasters relaxed a bit as the relatively small storm weakened considerably. But their concern deepened, as Charley rapidly crossed Cuba, regained strength very quickly and aimed its sights at Florida. Forecasters were warning residents in Tampa and St. Petersburg to consider evacuation. The storm track showed the storm making dead aim toward our house guests continued to enjoy the warm water and unusually big waves. We listened to radio reports in Maine - along with phone contact from friends watching the Weather Channel - and were abruptly told that the storm had done two completely unexpected had quickly and shockingly escalated to a category 4 storm and - even worse - it had made an abrupt right hand turn and was headed directly for Little Gasparilla Island!

A last-minute mandatory evacuation order was issued for the island, and our friends quickly put up plywood over our front windows, packed up their belongings and headed for a storm shelter on the mainland. Hurricane Charley slammed into the Charlotte Harbor area as a strong category 4 hurricane with devastating winds of 150 mph, and a storm surge of nearly 15 feet.

We listened to the news from Maine, in a state of shock, wondering if we even had a house to return to. As reporters flooded into the area, reports of the devastation were horrifying. Over 12,000 homes were completely destroyed, many on barrier islands such as ours where the brunt of the storm hit. Damage was estimated at over 12 billion dollars and eventually exceeded 15 billion dollars.

As we started the 3-day drive home from Maine, we wondered what we would find....broken windows, a missing roof, a water-filled home - or perhaps no home at all? As we entered Charlotte County, we were shocked to see trailer parks completely gone - nothing bigger than a 2x4 remained. Thousands of trees were completely defoliated and snapped in half like toothpicks.

There was no power anywhere, and long lines for ice and water. Almost every other house was missing a roof, or part of a roof....neighborhoods were a virtual sea of blue tarps. Elsewhere, houses were just completely missing. We were physically sick at the devastation. We finally made it to the island with trepidation, expecting to see our dream house in shambles. Imagine our relief -- and our complete surprise -- when not only was the house intact, but there was absolutely no damage at all!

Careful inspection revealed that, in fact one screen on the front porch had blown out! We had always bragged to neighbors about the strength of our house...Showed them with pride the construction and the beautiful warmth of the cedar interior...but now we could literally tell people that this house withstood a Category 4 hurricane! Bringing our IHC home all the way from Washington State to Florida twenty years ago caused our friends and neighbors on the island to speculate that we must have been crazy! Hurricane Charley forever changed the way we all view approaching storms, but it has also given us a newfound appreciation for the unique construction of our IHC home! Hide story.

— Contributed by Buddy and Laurie Gaines


Hurricane Iniki-Photo from Wikimedia Public Domain
Iniki Damage, Public Domain, Wikimedia

Since our IHC home suffered no structural damage in the violent Hurricane Iniki, we know our decision to build an IHC home was the right one. Over a three year period we talked with and examined various companies producing home packages. They all had pretty pictures and drawings. They all, to some degree, had good stories to tell. At design time, we selected IHC.

We were a self builder, but if you were to ask us we would strongly suggest a contractor. The shipping of the containers and the contents were all that we had hoped for. The office and factory worked with us and for us, all the way through to completion. We are thrilled with the house. My wife and daughter love it. After 17 months of sunshine and enjoyment the air raid warning system went off at 5:00 a.m. on September 11th when it was still dark outside. We knew the chilling terror of that siren was most ominous. Was it a Tsunami from an earthquake or was it a hurricane? It was Hurricane Iniki! Read more...

A Patrol car drove from house to house. An officer with a bull horn shouted at us to evacuate immediately and head for high ground. The Princeville Hotel was designated as the nearest shelter. My wife looked at me and asked "what shall we do? " I said, " well, we built it and I think it will do just fine." We each went to the living room and settled in our recliners and pushed back to watch Mother Nature's show.

Before the officials turned off the island power we heard on the radio that the storm would hit the Island at 1:00 p.m. As predicted, the storm struck swiftly at 1:00 p.m. coming at us from the east. The torrential rains and savage winds of 165 mph and gusts of 180 mph lasted 4 hours, that is until 5:00 p.m., then an amazing calm took place. During this time some people were observed out in their yards surveying the damage. I got out the chain saw and was trying to make some cuts in a large bread fruit tree smothering and blocking our back stair steps........But it was futile and the wind started to come up again, so back to our recliners!

At 6:00 p.m. sharp the second half started, only this time the winds came from the west. The first half had been terrifying. The power of the wind defied all imagination and destruction was unbelievable. The second half was even worse. Whole roofs, entire houses, and full sized trees were singing along in the jet stream like so many DC 10's landing at the Los Angeles airport. Then after four more hours that part of the show ended. Calm air and quiet enveloped the entire land. Destruction was complete. Combat veterans all agreed that they had not seen anything similar since the battlefield after a heavy fire fight. The IHC design stood the ultimate test with steel and iron brackets holding it all together and 3M 5230 adhesive locking walls and corners. We had no structural damage. In contrast, many homes costing at least twice as much and those built by licensed contractors are down or uninhabitable.

On September 14th the Missile Tracking Station, a NASA installation on our Island, found one of its sensitive wind measurement devices where it had blown away with the reading pegged at 220 mph. Princeville has 279 homes destroyed, 366 with major damage and 528 with minor damage. Island damage assessment shows 1,421 homes destroyed with 5,152 having major damage and 7,178 with minor damage. This does not include condominiums or apartments.

Being a self-builder has given us much pride in showing people our house held together. And now, since so many homes are gone, there is much interest in any home that is intact. When you have a customer that wants more evidence as to quality, have them call Fred and Bettie Kellie in Kauai. We can testify to the quality of our IHC home. It held up to a very devastating storm and kept us safe and sound. Hide story.

— Contributed by Fred and Bettie Kellie


In 1982, I purchased and built a modified Olympia home from IHC. This home is in Chatsworth, California. January 17, 1994 has a special memory for me.... For one, the 17th is my birthday, and secondly, it was the date of the Northridge Earthquake. Our house is located approximately 3 miles from the epicenter. That morning my wife, pregnant 7 months, and I were asleep in our third floor loft when the earthquake hit. It was the most violent shaking I have ever experienced. The sounds of breaking glass and twisting lumber were deafening. When the shaking finally ceased we expected the worst.

After sunrise when we could assess the damages to our home, we found that there was absolutely "no damage"-------I repeat "no damage" to our home. While everything in our home was destroyed...Furniture, china, The home itself remained unscathed, except for one kitchen tile cracked under the weight of the former contents of our kitchen cabinets. Now, close to three years later, my wife and son of 2-1/2, and I will always feel safe and secure in our home. Thank you.

— Contributed by Scott Schiffman


While I enjoy my IHC home everyday, it seems I only write when I have a story to tell. You may remember that 15 years ago our home survived a 6.7 earthquake and came out completely unscathed, except for a single floor tile that cracked under the weight of the contents of the cabinets.

Porter Ranch Fire, Photo from USGS Library
Porter Ranch Fire, Public Domain, USGS

Now I would like to tell you that on October 15, 2009, a massive fire raced through our neighbourhood and caused mass destruction. Yet our home still stands, unlike so many of our friends and neighbors. The fire started early in the morning about 5 miles away, soon dropping into a canyon. I was fishing with my son when I received a call from a friend about 10:00 a.m. He told me where the fire started and that it had dropped into Limekiln Canyon. That was all I needed to know, as that canyon runs into Browns Canyon, and Browns Canyon ends at my back door. As I live in a Class III fire zone, brush fires do not alarm me much after 26 years. But when I pulled into my driveway, and realized the carnage that was approaching, to say I was worried would have been an under statement.

With only minutes to get pets and personal belongings, my son and I sprung into action. Within minutes the fire was racing down the canyon towards us, the winds were howling, and you could not see more than a few feet due to a glowing ember storm raining down from the sky. As my son loaded the truck, a fire department helicopter dropped to within 20 feet from the ground. After a couple of short beeps to get our attention, his voice crackled over the loudspeaker "run for your lives". At that point I turned to see several homes across the creek fully engulfed in flames, with a huge fireball bearing down on us as we drove to safety. Read more...

I soon returned to see if I could help, walking up through the neighbourhood was like walking through a war zone. Homes burning almost everywhere you looked. Firemen doing their best to save what were not already the charred reminisce of a family's life, their home, cars, even animals destroyed by a wind pushed blaze.

I met up with a friend and neighbor while still a block from my home, with tears streaming down his face, he told me that he lost everything, but that my home was fine. As we made our way past police and firemen, he told me of his trek to my house when it was obvious his home was a total loss.

As we walked onto my property, I could see all my landscaping scorched, the heat emanating from the ground was melting my shoes, and there were spot fires everywhere. I looked up at my house, and could see that there was virtually no apparent damage. The front of the house had areas that were singed, and the deck furniture was burnt, but the front seemed, well, fine.

I entered the house not really knowing what to expect. The interior was filled with smoke so thick, you could not see. I had a powered venting system that literally melted on the roof, leaving a 6" X 14" hole that emptied into the master bedroom. The bedroom was covered with burnt leaves, and ash. It is amazing that the interior did not catch fire.

After a complete examination, my home suffered smoke and ash damage inside, I lost my rear deck, and the side facing the fire had most of the stain ruined from burning embers the wind had driven into the home, and the aluminum casing around some windows melted from the heat. But, the structure was sound, and aside from some smoke remediation, there was no other damage inside.

The outside deck has been replaced, and we are starting to prep the outside for re-staining. But, our home has once again proved to be a cut above the rest. My family and I thank you for designing a building system rugged enough to withstand first earthquakes, and now a massive fire. Hide story.

— Contributed by Scott R. Schiffman


December 18th, 1990 was a day that saw the Northwestern United States fall dramatically into a deep freeze. As the cold air entered the Puget Sound basin it was preceded by the strongest northeasterly wind in many years. Old growth forests occupy the northeastern sides of hills, mountains and islands in the area, due to the protective quality of the topography against the usual southwestwerly weather. Because there had been very little done in the way of selective cutting methodically applied to these areas, tall and precarious old growth is abundant. Needless to say, devastation was everywhere that this uncommon and very strong wind set down. One area that got hit very hard was around Hansville, on the northeast corner of the Kitsap Peninsula. Winds from the northeast get a chance to accelerate across the water directly at Hansville.

1990 Winter Blast, Kitsap WA, Photo from USGS Library
1990 Winter Blast, Kitsap WA, Public Domain, USGS

Deep in old growth forest, amongst conventional homes, Joan Rawson lived in an IHC cedar home. Joan built her home in 1980 using the IHC 4x8 timbers. This set the stage for something dramatic. Yes, a very large tree fell on Joan's house! As the wind grew stronger and stronger, the tree thirty feet to the northeast of the house, which had a trunk about six to seven feet in diameter at the base, began to make noises like it was ready to go. All around, trees were crashing throughout the forest. Conventional houses were collapsing under the weight of smaller diameter trees. Joan gathered the inhabitants of her home into the southeast corner of the living room. It was just in time!Read more...

The tree broke and fell toward the peak on the gable end of the house. It hit the wall with a loud thud! The house began to move in unison as the tree came to its resting place on the roof. With total expectation that this was it, Joan watched as the movement came to an end. The house was still standing, sheltering them from this horrendous storm.

The storm began to decrease and move on. Joan and her house mates took up refuge in a nearby house as the tree towered over their home in a precarious manner. In assessment, the house was racked out of plumb some three inches while the weight of the tree was on it. This made it difficult, if not impossible to open doors and windows. After the storm had completely passed, Joan hired a boom crane and logging crew to remove the tree. Over forty tons of tree came off the house!

The house flexed back to its original position with no visible damage except for the roof overhang. Doors opened and not one window was broken. Not even the one that came within a foot of the tree!

What a testimony to the strength of the IHC building system. Click to hide story.

— Contributed by Joan Rawson