Modern Home Contained in Missouri

This 2,600 square-foot home in Kansas City was built with five, used shipping containers from China and designed by owner Debbie Glassberg. Referred to as Home Contained, the project has a green roof, spray foam insulation, passive solar design, and geothermal heating. Watch this video below with Glassberg providing a tour of the place:

A container home can be built with exposed corrugation, as with the Green Frame House, or it can be covered and clad, as with the MEKA Container House or Crossbox.

Some folks leave the shipping containers as is and drive home an industrial and edgy look and feel. But this home, Home Contained, has been dressed up with color. It’s somewhat nostalgic and vintage looking while still modern at the same time.

Credits: Home Contained.


  • Anonymous

    GREAT build! just curious, what’s the cost? (total or even just a SQFT cost?)

    Nice find! loving the idea of container homes.

    • Juancarlos Rodz

      This is a great hause, speaking on sq ft price Americas smart home is about $75, this guys manufacture Shipping Container homes in Arkansas. The movement has begun!!!!

  • Jeremiah

    I friggin LOVE this house. The kitchen is GENIUS! @zerothreequarter I think her ultimate cost was above $200/sf because she employed a good bit of custom fabrication and had her containers shipped from China (which is a pretty big waste, but then it’s her money).

    • Anonymous

      seems a MAJOR waste having them shipped from China, there’s an overstock of containers in the US seeing as so much stuff is coming from there and not GOING there.

  • http://www.nexterra.com Laura F

    It’s amazing and beautiful! I’m wondering where the insulation is though.

  • http://www.dsconstructiontahoe.com/ Dan

    Wow! Debbie did an incredible job. Her finishes are really nice, especially that shower head! And I bet the material costs for 5 containers would not be to bad if you got them in the states. Did she frame 2×2 walls for insulation?

  • Anonymous

    I think some of those boxes are taller than the ISO standard dimensions, so if they were coming from china, its likely they were made specifically for this house build, which I have to agree seems contradictory to using containers in the first place.

    • Jeremiah

      you’re right – they were modified to have a 12′ height, which is counter intuitive to using containers in the first place. but then, it’s her money and her home. this project does show the potential of building with containers no matter what the naysayers think. could she have saved money by choosing from an abundant supply of containers on US shores? of course. could she have saved money by having them fabricated in the US instead of in China? of course. would I, or anyone else have gone about building a container home differently? of course. but then, this isn’t my house, it’s hers. so lets get off the whole “why did she do this that and the other thing” and look at it for what it is – a bad ass container home in the midwest.
      @dan, i believe she used spray foam insulation and 2x furring on the interior. gives about R-6 or R-9 per inch (plus some sound attenuation properties) then drywall over that. you can save a couple inches of interior width by insulating the outside of a container, but then you lose that “container” look that so many people like.

      • Anonymous

        Jeremiah, no doubt there are things to learn from the project. But here we are at Jeston GREEN, so the sustainability of the project is important and central to the discussion here. If we are sourcing custom boxes from China, we are ignoring the recycling opportunity inherent in surplus containers that are already on our shore, and we are adding transportation and raw materials on top of it. What we are left with is a weakly insulated house with a lot of surface area. I’m not criticizing what she has done, or intending to disparage her – I just want to describe the project accurately, just as you wish to highlight what you see as positive about it.

        So ends the public service portion of my comment. Now I will criticize it.

        Using containers for the novelty of it and ignoring the core issues that makes building with containers relevant in the first place does nothing to advance the cause of building dwellings with containers. This is something I’m very interested in, I’ve studied extensively, and I care about.

        This is a very nice looking project, and it looks like she has made a great home and done a good job with a range of the technical problems. But it falls down on the issues that are really important about building with containers.

        • Jeremiah

          I agree on all points. I had a professor in college who hammered into us that we were not allowed to “hate” any building, no matter how horrible. we were however encouraged to critique and appreciate all buildings for what they are. and this is simply what I was trying to point out.
          I also am extremely interested in container architecture. I’ve devoted the last year to researching (and plan on continuing to research) containers and their applications in housing and urban development.
          Cheers.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Container-Home/100001572272233 Container Home

          I wish to add support to this discussion is the strongest possible way.

          I don’t think that anyone would disagree that its great to see more and more high profile container based construction projects being realised – and I for one think this home looks great ( however that is of course highly subjective to individual tastes )

          However I am very concerned that what started as a movement that virtually defined many of the best aspects of responsible building practices is slowly being eroded by the mistakes of the past.

          The issue of making these containers in China and them dragging them half way around the world has already been addressed here already so I will instead add to the “review” that this is a 2600 sq ft 2 bedroom house ?

          The average home size in the United States in 1970 was 1,400 square feet

          The average home size in 2004 was 2330 square feet.

          I will say it again ….

          This is a 2600 sq ft 2 bedroom house ?

          The greenest home of all is the home that does not use what it just doesn’t need.

          Finally the argument of “its her money” “let her do what she wants” shows a lack of understanding about what is happening in the real world.

          The greatest problem the world faces today is not coming out of the US or parts of Europe that are powering towards green practices at an ever increasing pace.

          The real threat is going to come out of India and Asia where the worlds population is only just starting to truly get on the consumer bandwagon.

          The billions that aspire to exactly what we do – and believe me the 2600 sq foot 2 bedrooms homes are on the list.

          The truth is if they actually get what we have we are all done for !

          We cant ask for modesty and continue like this, we need to lead by example.

          The idea of “its her money and she can do what she wants” is incorrect.

          The only way the World is going to survive is if we all comment and engage on what is right and wrong, what is to be applauded and criticized both in our backyards and around the World and homes like this need to reviewed in that context.

      • Anonymous

        about the insulation, i believe it’s Adam Kalkin that talks about using a higher quality (read: more expensive) spray insulation in one of his projects. need to find it again to find out the R value he gets from that…

        • Dan Sokol

          I build container cabins (www.leedcabins.com) and the ONLY insulation product that works with containers in closed cell foam.  Yes, it’s expensive (almost as much as the containers) but it works.

    • Anonymous

      i know one can EASILY find 9’6 HighCube containers now, they’re becoming much more common. I can’t fully figure out what height she’s using, seems she’s got a variety of them depending on the pictures one looks at.

  • http://www.coatesdesign.com Seattle Architects

    Very nice house. The interior photos really show how the design has move away from a shoe box form toward a complex residential design.
    I do agree with the comment about the shipping containers. The Chinese don’t want to re-use the containers either, and refuse to take them back. So now, there is a major surplus of containers throughout the world, especially the US and Europe.

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  • geoffrey fulton

    congratulations! great to see mre container homes created. it’s the way to go. there are many more on www fultonsalomon.com

  • http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/partypictures/2004/02_11_04/partypictures02_11_04.php Pepe Fanjul Jr.

    Well I go through your blog and find it interesting…Thanks for sharing the videos with us..Good one..Nice interior…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hammouminator Hammou DarkAngelus

    i`m speechless , hat off , this is what i call inspiration

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