Harbinger Container Home at WCG 2008

Second Floor - Harbinger House

So here’s the deal.  The Harbinger SG Blocks Showhouse was bad out.  Everyone I talked to loved it.  You might think that a shipping container home would feel closed-in and constrictive, but this home certainly wasn’t.  At 1700 sf, everything felt just right to me.  I was able to sneak into the Exhibit Hall early enough to get some killer images (in case you couldn’t be there), so let’s talk a walk through the Harbinger House below.

So this is the an exterior view of the Harbinger House.  Of course, it was built inside the convention center and I never did hear what’s going to happen to it now that the conference is over, but I’m sure something will.*  Cost of construction was said to be ~$150 psf, incorporating a total of five containers.  You can’t see the containers, though.


Various portions of the exterior are broken up with different colors and materials.  I think it adds to the texture and aesthetic: modern and warm.  The horizontal Rainscreen Clip is so nice.


Those pavers cut down on rainwater runoff and the landscaping minimizes grass.  The less grass you have, the less you have to water.


A little Japanese fountain feel at the entry way.


Welcome to the Harbinger Home entryway.  Once you step in, the office is on the right, laundry is hidden in front of you, and the kitchen leads to the left.


Here’s the kitchen.  Modern, simple, and effective.  The trend seems to be to build the largest and most ridiculous kitchen possible, but really, what’s the point?  Well-planned and suitable is the way to go.


Green cleaners and lots of flat space.  That’s an Eco Top countertop.  Have your friends chill out and talk while the meal is prepared.


Check that vintage, orange burst of a couch.  You have to be smart to sit between those two pillows.  You at least need to have a high __ __.


I was standing in the stairwell and took this picture looking up at the CFL lamp dangling.  I think this is a cool shot.  Not bad for an amateur.


This is the second bedroom.


Check out all the windows this room has.  Love that dark, wide plank flooring, too.


Personally, I’m not a fan of gold, but I like this bathroom.  Plus the Rohl fixtures fit with the mosaic tiles pictured below.  But check out the Vetrazzo counters.


Shimmering like a mermaid tail or something.  That bath shower is glamorous.


Here’s the master bedroom, which is also plush with windows.


This is the master bathroom with Vetrazzo vanities.  Vetrazzo also lines the far wall for towels and other stuff.


This is the master shower all zen-like with those ebony pebbles in the bottom.  It’d be hard to stand on those, but it sure looks good.


Here’s the patio area directly adjacent to the master bedroom.  I could actually see myself blogging out here until, say, 1-2 am, just taking in the moon beams.  I love upper-level patio areas like this.


If you look down from the patio, you can see some of the modern landscaping.


Look to the other side from the patio and there’s the solar gazebo.


The bamboo forests surround some of the house, rounding out the oriental aesthetic that feels so fresh and so clean.


Here we are with the Rainwater HOGs.  People love these and you can line up as many as you need.


All done! View the rest of the images at the Harbinger House Flickr Set.

The Harbinger Showhouse was designed by Lawrence Group, built by SG Blocks, and decorated by ecofabulous.

UPDATE: I just spoke with David Cross of SG Blocks and here’s what’s next for the home:  “The Harbinger Home will go on a journey just as the containers did.  It will go to the Urban Land Institue next for their October show, then up to Washington DC for Ecobuild America.  Hopefully one more event after that and then it retires.  If we can put it together, we would like to give it additional life after the journey where it can serve as, perhaps, an office for green building or a residence.  We’re working hard on that.”

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  • BJ

    Interesting exterior but what’s with the tarted up traditional interior?! The early american furniture and gilded frames are bad enough, but those bathroom finishes look like glitter eyeliner on a 14 year old cheerleader! The whole thing makes me squirm just looking at the pictures!

  • Anonymous

    A very good looking house on the outside but a dogs dinner of tat on the inner. What were they thinking of? I think American tastes of interior differ to us Brits. You can make it homely and modern without going too far in either direction. A good effort but must try harder next time.

  • http://www.thegreeniest.com Dave Conrey

    I need to buy land somewhere, or move into an area that allows this kind of development. That is if my equity ever comes back from the dead.

  • Jenny

    St. Louis-based Lawrence Group’s Eric Heischmidt, designed the Harbinger House.

  • Aaron

    Anyone know who makes that coffee table?

  • http://www.ecozebra.com Andrew Stone


    I am envious that you were there and I was not! Thanks for the great photos! I do have to agree with the other comments on the interior. What were they thinking?

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      It was pretty cool to walk through. On styling, I can see where people are critical, but as with everything, it’s hard to please everyone.

      When David Cross of SG Blocks told me they were looking to sell this after a few more showings, I seriously thought to myself: “Dude, is there anyway to swing the purchase of this? Maybe create a blog office? Or find some land and make it a house?” I’d buy it, I really would.

      • http://www.ecozebra.com Andrew Stone

        I would also buy it! Furnishings can easily be changed. I’ll help you find the land. 😉

  • http://www.utahluxury.com UtahLuxury.com

    I agree the interior design didnt flow at all with the exterior. The exterior looks awesome and the landscaping flows well with it. They should have grabbed furniture from DWR just for the shows purposes.

  • http://www.clubit.tv Clubit.tv

    I think these are far too expensive.. think about it, if its $150 per SF then this is going to cost something like $300k+ if its 1700sf, far too expensive it can be done on such a cheaper low budget way and would still get the great results, i think it looks very nice but is just way too expenive

  • SundazeinSF

    I know someone who worked on the interior, and heard that the design team was brought on board late in the build schedule. They ended up scrambling hard to get materials donated at the 11th hour and yes it shows. But kudos for their efforts.

  • http://www.myshippingcontainerhouse.com Daniel

    Wow. I spend a lot of time looking at shipping container houses because I am somewhat obsessed with this building system, but this is the first time I’ve seen this one. (and the article is 2 years old!) I do like the pictures of the interior. I would guess that they went conservative with the interior to show that it doesn’t have to feel like living in a box. The exterior looks awesome. Probably one of my favorite looks so far.


  • Najul

    Dissapointed in the price ….150sf ….tht means $300,000 for a 2000 sf house. Not affordable in California where the land cost is already high. One would think with the lower cost in labor these would be a little less. Must be too much retrofit? When “green” gets cheaper, more will start using. Seems since these are from used shipping containers that they would work out to be a whole lot less….hmmm.

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