First NYC Shipping Container Home Receives Final Certificate of Occupancy

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After more than two years in construction and red tape, the shipping container home that David Boyle and his wife, Michele Bertomen, who is an architecture professor at New York Institute of Technology, have been building received its final certificate of occupancy from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) on February 28, 2013.

Having purchased the 20-by-40-foot Williamsburg site in 2008 and discovering that their tiny house plan would cost as much as $500,000, they decided to buy shipping containers for $1500 each and set about designing a 1,600 square foot residence using three stacked containers that are connected by a stairwell. As the container home underwent construction, the project attracted the attention of real estate blog, Curbed. Soon after they ran a story, the DOB issued a stop-work order and tied up the construction with a myriad of restrictions.

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Construction costs are estimated at about $300,000, not to mention the additional $100,000 in building loan interest associated with DOB delays, and includes sustainability features such as insulation with Super Therm and exterior paint that contains ceramic tiles to trap heat and block sun rays. Heated water runs through concrete flooring to provide radiant heat.

The couple plans to provide visiting musicians and scholars with temporary housing in the first floor guest room and run a non-profit out of the building to focus on Williamsburg’s quality-of-life issues.

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  • ChKen

    Tough site, but one of the less attractive container homes.

    • Tim

      I agree, a little attention to the extenal look would be good. Maybe that is to come in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/jhumroo Rajesh Nidwannaya

    I think Container Homes are great for tight spaces. Too bad the owners had to go through delays and red tape to get their home built.

    The building could definitely use some exterior enhancements to increase the curb appeal, which may eventually help promote more container homes.

  • http://twitter.com/jhumroo Rajesh Nidwannaya

    I think Container Homes are great for tight spaces. Too bad the owners had to go through delays and red tape to get their home built.

    The building could definitely use some exterior enhancements to increase the curb appeal, which may eventually help promote more container homes.

    • jose

      it really hurt me that the architects did not do the homework on this design. $400k total for this just makes me cry.

      • Joseph Price

        No, it wasn’t the actual cost. It was just New York City sticking their fingers in the pot to steal money like they always do, which is rather typical for Democrats. That home could have been built for about $80,000. NYC just gets kickbacks from contractors, extra taxation, etc. If they had never known about it, the house would have cost a lot less to build and it would have passed inspections just fine.

  • 2ndGreenRevolution Blog

    Wow. Not bad (on the inside), but hugely cost efficient!

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  • http://www.palcohvac.com/ Palco HVAC

    I wasn’t expecting the inside to look so functional! This is great, also the first time i’ve heard about container homes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/silinac Silina Christian

    This is awesome. Plus I am planning on attending an open house at NYIT this month and I am planning on purchasing a container myself because it such a penny saver. I just need to find a location for my 40ft container home before purchasing it. Also it is not costly not one bit. Its worth it. Love this home design.

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  • Tom Clarke

    I would have thought that a professor of architecture would have seen the exterior “ceramic” paint as the scam that is.

    • rtdnan

      What makes you think ceramic paint is a scam? I was going to buy some for painting a tent i’ve got setup in my backyard. My neighbor painted a tent and said it worked great when he went camping with it in the Mojave desert.

    • rtdnan

      What makes you think ceramic paint is a scam? I was going to buy some for painting a tent i’ve got setup in my backyard. My neighbor painted a tent and said it worked great when he went camping with it in the Mojave desert.

    • rtdnan

      What makes you think ceramic paint is a scam? I was going to buy some for painting a tent i’ve got setup in my backyard. My neighbor painted a tent and said it worked great when he went camping with it in the Mojave desert.

    • rtdnan

      What makes you think ceramic paint is a scam? I was going to buy some for painting a tent i’ve got setup in my backyard. My neighbor painted a tent and said it worked great when he went camping with it in the Mojave desert.

      • k9gardner

        It will help a lot to reflect the heat from radiant sources like the sun in the Mojave. It will not help so much to retain heat and fight off the cold when it’s freezing outside. Do your homework. I wanted to believe it would work as much as the next guy, but have decided to abandon the idea.

      • Tom Clarke

        Paint the tent white, and save your money.

      • Tom Clarke

        Paint the tent white, and save your money.

    • rtdnan

      What makes you think ceramic paint is a scam? I was going to buy some for painting a tent i’ve got setup in my backyard. My neighbor painted a tent and said it worked great when he went camping with it in the Mojave desert.

  • k9gardner

    What you’re showing here is very nice but is clearly not a single shipping container unit in width. Starting with a number of shipping containers, you can build anything you want. But the exercise here, as I saw it, was a particularly narrow lot, well suited to a single shipping container. Try as you might, you can’t fit a 12+ foot room (as shown here) into a 7 foot space.

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