Have you ever dreamed of living in a shipping container home? Millions of people have the same dream, and thousands of them have acted on it. Recycled and new shipping containers represent a new era in homebuilding. Up to now, the many shipping container homes across the globe are proof that the trend is just getting underway. More and more designers, builders and consumers are finding out about the incredible potential of this worldwide movement.
The 10 Most Insane Shipping Container Homes In The World
There are thousands of awesome shipping container houses all over the world, but the following ten are a good cross-section of what anyone can do with a simple idea and the desire to live in an attractive, efficient shipping container home.
A Costa Rica Gem in San Jose
This residence, known as the Containers of Hope house, is a 1,000-square-foot home that shows the potential of shipping container houses when it comes to low-cost, super-comfortable living quarters. The structure’s designer, Studio Saxe, did the job for a client who wanted to see how much $40,000 could buy. The entire space serves as a main residence for owners, the Peralta family, of San Jose, Costa Rica.
Because the owners wanted to enjoy the great outdoors and be able to have a place where their horses could run free, they asked the designers to keep things simple and do the entire job on a modest budget. That meant taking just two shipping containers and placing them, essentially, side by side and elevating them above the ground.
One of the more ingenious features is the way the two containers were staggered so that the owners could enjoy a full view of the sun rising and setting from virtually anywhere in the house! The design team even figured out a way to use the metal cut-outs from the windows: they attached the sheets and build a covered space between the two units. The area allows for ideal airflow and practically eliminates the need for electric-powered cooling.
Living their dream in a gorgeous spot, the owners make perfect use of the open-air style, numerous windows and perfectly-placed cement support posts that offer stability, under-unit air passage and simple beauty to this one-of-a-kind creation.
The “Flagstaff Container House”
This incredibly comfortable home on the outskirts of one of Arizona’s coldest cities, Flagstaff, shows just how well a container home can protect its residents against harsh elements. Architects Brown and Hahn built the home for private owners in 2011. The estimated budget at the time was approximately $60,000.
This home has the distinction of being the very first container home in the state and was put together from six separate units. With a crystal clear view of the famous San Francisco Peaks, the house features a cool-mint exterior coating. The two stories boast five decks in all and are set up to use a passive solar energy system, ideal for capturing the bright rays of Arizona’s summers and using them to warm the home during the frigid winters.
The unique coating is made from all-ceramic materials to keep heat in during winter. A layer of bio-foam insulation contributes to the overall energy efficiency of this stylish abode. The Flagstaff Container House won a major sustainability award for its green energy use and the way the designers created an interior that is fully imbued with natural light year-round. If you’re even in Flagstaff, drive to the south side of the city and ask anyone, “Which way to the container house?” They’ll know because the place is one of Flagstaff’s most famous houses.
The Beach Box
In the Hamptons, NY, the “Beach Box House” is already a legend. Some interesting numbers: the home is a mere 600 feet from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and was built for about $60,000 but recently sold to a private seller for $1,3 million. The high price is primarily attributable to its incredible location in an already pricey location. At just 2,000 square feet, the Beach House really packs in the amenities.
The kitchen is as modern as can be, and there’s even an outdoor shower next to the pool! The original owners wanted to build the “perfect beach home” that wasn’t a mansion. The rooms are spacious and well laid out. There’s a 1,300 SF outdoor deck that surrounds that sparkling pool. The home’s gorgeous white oak floors and energy-conscious polyurethane foam insulation are testament to the fact that beauty and smart energy use can indeed coexist.
The home used just six containers to achieve what is sometimes called “eco-luxury” construction. The point of the clever design is to showcase a high-end living space that gets by on a fraction of the energy a typical home uses. What an astoundingly wise way to use a half-dozen repurposed shipping containers.
The Hybrid House
The Hybrid House in Mojave, Calif., is very close to Joshua Tree and was originally built for just $200 per square foot. The size of the home is 2,300 SF and includes one bedroom along with 1.5 baths and a very large workspace. The designers were asked by the original owner to construct a home that could serve equally as well for office purposes, and they did just that.
The all prefab materials kept costs low, as did the unique use of large pieces of scrap metal in all areas of the home. It includes a large garage, several individual offices, and was built by Ecotech Design for owner Tim Palen Studios. All the containers are “stacked” onto a single frame that made construction fast and efficient.
Price Street Project
The Price Street Project on the outskirts of Savannah is one of the “pricier” shipping container homes you’ll come across. Builders used steel I-beams to position a pair of 40-foot containers six feet away from each other. The floor of the in-between area is a wood-frame beauty that is covered by a unique shed-style roof.
One thing you’ll instantly notice about this home is that two of its exterior walls are still in their original, container-like state. The designer did this intentionally as a reminder that this attractive, luxurious home was once nothing more than a common shipping container. There’s natural wood throughout and plenty of open space to let sunlight in. However, the home’s interior is a modernist masterpiece of black floors that appear to be, but are not, made of concrete.
There’s just a single bedroom even though the space could likely have allowed for another. A clever touch: the designer decided to leave the original container doors on the unit. That made for a nice mixture of modernism and raw naturalism all around.
The “Old Lady” House
The Old Lady House is a true masterpiece of modern design, boasting 3,500 SF of living space in five separate containers that have been completely re-done to offer simplicity, functional workspace and a comfortable living area.
The center courtyard is one detail that sets this abode apart from other small homes. The rustic feel is everywhere, which is exactly as designer Adam Kalkin anticipated. The fir-wood floors and entryways that hold strong mahogany doors are proof that shipping container homes can not only be beautiful and as sturdy as needed. There’s even an overall “industrial” feel to this home, again an intended effect.
The concrete floors in work areas, oversize doors, steel beams and larger-than-life views add to the overall design goals of providing a cozy home within a factory-like work area.
The Container Guest House
The Container Guest House is a Poteet Architects creation that was built on land that was once a factory site but is now the locale of a container home like no other. There are key features all over the home that make it different, like the ceiling-to-floor doors, a roof-mounted irrigation system that services the entire property, a box-like general look that makes the place look like a simple little house from the outside, and a breathtaking interior made completely of bamboo plywood.
Built in 2010, this 1,200 SF container home is a work of green engineering at its best. The water system was the most costly part of the home, for obvious reasons. Utilizing a complex method for re-using runoff, rainfall and gray water from the home itself, the system reduces typical water use by nearly 80 percent. The foundation? It’s made from telephone poles that have been recycled and cut specifically for support.
The Kalkin House
The Kalkin House is located in Vermont on the grounds of a famous institution, the Shelburne Museum in the city of the same name. Originally called “The Collector’s House,” the Kalkin House is not a residence but a home-like showcase for various items in the museum’s world-class collection.
Built in 2001 from three shipping containers, the space was opened up by making the entryway a 2-story garage door aperture on both the front and the back. To complete the vast, open-air effect, sails were used as makeshift curtains all around. Even though the house is officially part of a museum, it’s kept in its original “domestic home” arrangement, complete with a comfortable bedroom, a working kitchen and storage areas.
The Nederland Home
The Nederland Home is a wonder of engineering genius. It is built from two containers that make up the outer frame, but the interior space consists of another container duo, this time stacked on their sides to create an overall triangular effect from an exterior point of view.
The owner, world-famous contractor Andrew McMullin, designed this one-of-a-kind structure features ceiling windows that allow for viewing the night sky and the nearby granite cliffs that are part of his rock-climbing avocation. McMullin was careful to construct a solid residence because he knows well that local weather conditions can be treacherous. Winds typically reach speeds in excess of 100 mph, so the walls had to be reinforced and the floors feature concrete that had to be poured in a special way to accommodate the boulder-filled ground.
The Container Studio
The Container Studio is a simple beauty of a place, constructed to be a small, just 950 SF, artist’s studio. Designer Maziar Behrooz was careful to imbue the entire project, from materials to form, with an air of clean simplicity. Featuring just two shipping containers, the two-story structure offers incredible views of the surrounding environment of Long Island’s more remote landscape. The design won a major award from the American Institute of Architects.
The pair of 8 x 40 foot containers was placed in such a way as to create a double-story studio that has no bathrooms and no kitchen. However, it does have a second level that is something of a dedicated viewing area, complete with giant windows and full views of both sunset and sunrise every day of the year.
Because these small studio homes are created by one of the world’s most renowned designers, prices are on the high end of the container home market, typically ranging in the $99,000-plus category. The designers now specialize in building container homes like these, but others can be configured to include bedrooms, bathrooms and more practical living space.
Shipping Container Homes are Fun, Efficient and Priced Right
The real secret about shipping container homes is that they can be whatever you want them to be. If you’re on a budget or have oodles to spend, you can get a container home that fits your needs and desires. Containers are versatile, simple, attractive, sturdy and safe.
They truly are one of the most important new concepts in home design to come along in a hundred years. What does your ideal shipping container home look like? Design one in your mind and make a few sketches to get started. There’s no better time than now.