The Costa Rican firm Cubica designs and sells some very interesting and very functional shipping container homes. They use reclaimed shipping containers to design homes that are small, but nevertheless spacious enough for comfortable living. The single family home designs they offer come complete with a rooftop deck, kitchen, full bath and even a laundry room. While primarily marketed as cabins or vacation homes, the Casa Cubica shipping container houses could also serve as a full time home for a couple or single person.
From the designs, it looks like the shipping containers they use measure about 8.5-by-20 feet, but the interior space is very well utilized. There are three areas that can be used for sleeping, namely the main living area that is fitted with a full-sized Murphy bed, and a set of twin bunks located at one end of the shipping container. The spacious bathroom can be accessed from both inside and outside, which is perfect if using the home as a beach retreat.
To add some space, there are two exterior decks, one at ground level and the other on the roof. There is also a sunshade, which can be lifted up to provide shade for the ground-level deck. This sunshade can also be closed to give the occupants more privacy, and to securely lock down the house during transportation.
Almost one entire side wall of the container has been cut away and replaced by sliding glass doors. This maximizes the amount of daylight that enters the home and makes it appear more spacious. At first glance the house looks nothing like a shipping container. The exterior is clad in metal panels, while inside the designers used wooden paneling and drywall to finish the walls and separate the different spaces in the home.
Pictured here is the Casa Metta model of the Casa Cúbica, which is on permanent public display. To get a feel for living in a shipping container, you can also rent one of the Lotus houses at Casa Metta hotel, which is located in the mountains of Costa Rica. This version of the home even has a glassed in external deck which adds a second living area to the home, making it a lot more spacious.