When Kam Kasravi and Connie Dewitt were faced with the decision on how to build a cabin on their woodland property in the Santa Cruz mountains they first considered buying a prefab house. But after realizing that there simply wasn’t enough room to bring in a prefab house down the narrow forest path that leads to their property, they started considering building the cabin out of recycled shipping containers. They enlisted the help of architect David Fenster of Modulus Architects, who designed for them the modern yet spacious shipping container cabin.
After purchasing a 3.5-acre plot of land in Topanga, California, where a rustic 750-square-foot cabin already stood, architect Christof Jantzen set out looking for ways to expand the cabin to house his family of five. He opted to complete the expansion using five recycled shipping containers and managed to create a wonderful blend of the old and the new in the resulting home. Adding the shipping containers expanded the size of the house to around 1550-square-feet.
Gregory Kloehn, an artist and designer from California, has transformed a new dumpster into a small home, which is fully functional and can house 2 people. He purchased the container for $2,000 and converted it to include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and even a sun deck. One of the main reasons why he decided to create a tiny home from a dumpster was because it seemed to him perfectly shaped to become a house. The dumpster home is located in Brooklyn, NY, but it is also mounted on wheels and can be transported anywhere on a whim. Gregory lives in it when he visits New York.
Gregory began the conversion of the dumpster into a home by first cutting out a custom entrance into the side of the container. He then insulated the inside of the dumpster with padding and fitted a small sitting area inside it. The living area doubles as the bedroom, while there is storage space built into the sitting area. One corner of the dumpster is taken up by a small kitchen with a sink, a microwave, and a small stove which is powered by a propane tank.
Ryan Naylor of Grow Design is taking on a a container home build as a DIY project, he is kind enough to have sent some details through on the first stage of his project.
- location: West Asheville – exact location is private for his families sake.
- materials: Mostly re-used, scrap, and surplus materials including (but not limited to) two 40′ HC (high-cube 9.5ft. tall) shipping containers, a spiral staircase, a claw-foot bathtub, penny kitchen floor, etc.
- cost: UNDER 100K total. (property, materials, labor, city fee’s, etc.) for 1400 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.
- time to build: 6-8 months
- insulation: spray closed cell foam and batt
- windows: HUGE window panes from the Asheville courthouse (they ordered too many and some in the wrong sizes) and re-used, surplus, windows from friends/family/Craigslist
German architect Han Slawik created his Homebox design based on the shipping container building model, taking into consideration the ease of transport, universal dimensions and general usefulness of shipping containers. However, the Homebox is not made from an actual steel shipping container. Slawik simply took all the best parts of shipping container architecture and modified it to be easier to build and maintain. Modification of steel structures during the building process, as well as the subsequent repair and maintenance is costly, which is one of the drawbacks of building homes from shipping containers.