Landscape architect Seth Rodewald-Bates and his wife, Elisabeth Davies recently designed and built their home using recycled shipping containers. The home is located in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans. They used two 4-ton repurposed shipping containers, which they purchased from Boasso America and collected from the New Orleans Terminal in Chalmette.

One of the containers houses a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, while the other one was cut in two, and the larger, 28-foot section became an office/dining area, with the smaller section now used as a backyard shed. To make the home more spacious, they extended the two shipping containers with a living area constructed primarily out of wood.

The home has an open plan living room which measures 720 square feet, and is still spacious enough to contain a kitchen island, five chairs, a sofa, a 10-foot desk, two bikes, and a set of bookshelves that hold 400 books.






The plot of land on which the home stands cost just $5000 to purchase, but its drawback was the fact that it was very narrow, measuring 25-feet-by-125-feet. This is one of the main reasons why they opted to construct the home using shipping containers, since they needed to achieve a very small footprint. They still managed to make it a with a roomy, unique, modern and very sustainable home.

They left the exterior of the containers in the original state, which includes the white stenciled numbers on the sides that are used to identify cargo. They also kept the original steel doors in place, only that they now open out to reveal windows, function as shutters and provide added protection.

The couple also wanted to make the home as light as possible, which is why they cut out several large windows from the steel skeleton. They built the extension out of wood slats, steel cables and polygal, which is basically a large plastic sheet that resembles glass. They also raised the ceilings to 14 feet.


The floors and furniture are made of southern pine, and they painted the interior walls white. Carrera marble and hexagonal floor tile was used in the bathroom, while the kitchen cabinetry is made of granite and stainless steel.




All told, the couple invested $200,000 into building the home, with the shipping containers they used representing a very small part of this cost. They purchased them for about $5000 each.