Monday, May 2, 2011

Shipping Container Homes - 6 Inspiring Plans

Whenever I see shipping containers, my inner architect kicks into high gear and I start planning and designing homes and cottages in my head. 




Anyone else do this? Hmm. I thought not.  Well anyway I'm a bit obsessed with them.  I think it would be such a fun challenge to create a functional yet beautiful cottage or home from discarded shipping containers.  Each shipping container costs about $3000 (delivery included, although prices vary) so they really would make an inexpensive structure.  Not only are shipping containers an economic housing material, but they also work well in places that are prone to extreme weather conditions and problems with termites and insect infestations.


Shipping containers are 8 feet wide and come in a variety of lengths (from about 20 to 40 foot lengths) so they can be arranged in many different ways to make a workable home.  


Ross Stevens House in New Zealand (source)
Although I can appreciate the concept of houses like the one in the photo above - and when you start researching shipping container homes there are many unique ones like this - I would never feel comfortable living in such a modern cottage or house.  I like a peaked rather than a flat roof, siding on the outside of the building, and a little coziness.  So I set out to see if I could find some inspiring container homes/cottages that fit those requirements.


I found some great examples and even got out the old drawing board (well Paint program anyway) to come up with some basic sketches to illustrate how the shipping containers are arranged.  Let's have a look at the six different arrangements I found:


1)  Adjoining Arrangement - The simplest and most cost effective arrangement would involve placing several shipping containers side-by-side.




The home below is 24 x 40 and consists of three shipping containers placed side-by-side. The plan calls for the metal walls to be removed where the shipping containers touch each other, adding new interior walls, as well as siding on the outside, and a peaked roof.


Snap Space Solutions
The floor plan for this house has three bedrooms - two are 8 x 12 feet and the master bedroom is 12 x 16 while the central living area is 16 x 24.  I really like the simplicity of this arrangement.




The cabin in the photo below is also made using three containers placed side-by-side.  The man who is building this cabin wants to make a very secure cabin so that it won't be vandalized when they aren't there.   They didn't want to cut any windows or doors in the sides of the building and are only going to use the ends where the shipping containers open for doors and windows.  That way when they are finished visiting the cabin, they simply close the original shipping container metal doors and the cabin is secure.  You can read more details here.  (UPDATE: You can read more about this cabin and see some photos of the interior here).


Cabin with the doors open (Tin Can Cabin)

Cabin with the exterior doors shut 


Floor plan for the Tin Can Cabin


I also found some other great designs using the side-by-side arrangement of shipping containers through IDS Products.


2)  Staggered Arrangement - An alternate version of the adjoining arrangement would be the staggered plan, whereby the home is made of three shipping containers, but one or more of the containers is staggered to form a more interesting arrangement.  




In the home pictured below, they used the staggered arrangement to allow for a screened porch and because they extended the roof, a covered carport.


Container House


Floor plan for the Container Home shown in the photos above


They plan to paint the exterior a unified colour, but are not going to add siding.  The interior is still being constructed, but I love some of the details they have used and how cozy the kitchen is.  This is definitely a home I'm going to keep my eye on to see how it looks when it is finished.  


kitchen of the Container House


3)  Bridge Arrangement - In the bridge plan two shipping containers are placed parallel to each other and are used as solid exterior side walls.  A roof is built over top from one container to the other forming an interior space.  I couldn't find an example of this arrangement with a peaked roof, but I thought it was a clever design so I'm including it.




In the home pictured below you can see the shipping containers on either side with the shed roof linking the two together and creating the interior living space.


Modern House Magazine



4)  Random Arrangement - The home in the picture below was built by a couple living in Quebec and is made using seven shipping containers - some stacked, some side-by-side, and some placed at different angles.  They have covered the containers with insulation and siding, but left the corrugated metal visible on the inside of their home.  


Exterior of the home (Maison IDEKIT)

Kitchen and dining area (Maison IDEKIT)




Floorplan (Maison IDEKIT)


The couple who built this home were so pleased with the reduced costs, the speed of construction, and the positive effect on the environment from using shipping containers that they have started their own company building modular homes from used shipping containers.  You can see their designs, mostly of the bridge arrangement (see #4) here at Maison Idekit.  


5) Stacked Arrangement - This plan can have many variations depending on how many containers are used on each floor.  In the following two houses they have used two up and two down.  Unfortunately I was not able to find floor plans for either of these homes.


Tiny House


Cranberry Isles


6) U Arrangement - I was not able to find a picture of a home using a "U" shaped arrangement of shipping containers, but I do think it is worth considering as the containers would form an area for a lovely courtyard or screened porch in the centre which is a welcome addition to a cottage.  The exterior could be designed to have a traditional look.





Floor plan for a home using three shipping containers in a "U" configuration (r / one studio architecture)

I know your head is probably spinning from the variety of arrangements and you are just itching to Google how to find your own source of shipping containers so you can start building. I feel the same way.  Aren't they amazing?

Linked to Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage

39 comments:

  1. Amazing. I have seen some small homes made from shipping containers at an agricultural show. They were designed for placing on very large farms so staff have a place to stay on a large property. None of them were as stylish as any of these combinations.
    Now your inner architect and my inner granny should get together to create a great old home.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I never who have imagined thise houses. Thank you for that post, I enjoyed that.

    Unrelated, but on topic, the is a farmer up by our cottage who has a creek running between his two main fields, requiring a bridge if he wishes to move his cows from one field to the other and back to the barn. Clever fella, he got a shipping container and laid it over the creek like a bridge, then opened the doors on both ends. He can open and close the gate and can control his cows. Not a pretty rural picture, but effective.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never seen such a thing. Someone needs to send containers to Alabama ASAP for our storm victims!!! I really like the one from Modern House Magazine. I could live in that one. It is pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOL I never would have thought of that. But I do do something similar every time I see old train cars I think that would make a cute little house.
    Holly

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have one in the neighborhood that is amazing!

    http://www.kchandg.com/article/glass-house#photos

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is so cool! I love green design! What a great way to re-purpose these unsightly containers! Maybe I'll have one for our lake house!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just found your site not long ago. It's very nice indeed! Never thought about shipping containers for homes. That one from Quebec is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! What a great way to recycle. These are so cool. Thanks so much for sharing. It made me want to see more!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have never thought of a shipping container as a cottage. I have been intrigued with silo or round metal granary houses. They are just as neat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my word! I would have never thought of using shipping containers for homes. That is incredible!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What thats beautiful and neat!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What cool ideas! I awarded you the Versatile Blogger award, so check back tomorrow to see it!

    www.mysocalledhome.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like you’re good feed back. These are collection a pretty rural, and effective. They were designed for placing on very large farms so staff have a place to stay on a large property. I really like the one from Modern House Magazine. I think that would make a cute little house. I love green design! Thanks share this good post. I like this most use full blog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! Great and really cool information. Thanks for adding your link to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays and sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We are currently building a U-shaped container home. I will send you photos when it is done.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Do anyone have any plans for a multi-destination shipping-container home?

    What I mean is, using 1 or more 40' containers in various locations. For instance living on a mobile home park for one year, then moving the containers 20 miles away the following year and living there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amazing designs made from shipping containers!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Awesome Designs. We need more alternative green housing like these around the world. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This website is awsome. I live in a country that is very very expensive to buy a house! only the rich can do that! I bought a piece of lance about 10 years ago and now with this solution i can just ship them to my country...and have a 4 40foot container house made here in the US and ship it to my country! do you guys think its possible???

    ReplyDelete
  21. so you have a great thing i my self think that it costs to much and to much red tape i however i am going to south east asia were it a little easyer to do it there all the best ill be looking for you over there d from canada

    ReplyDelete
  22. This constantly amazes me just how blog owners such as your self can find the time as well as the dedication to keep on crafting superb blog posts. Your website is good and one of my personal must read weblogs. I just had to thank you.
    modular home plans

    ReplyDelete
  23. None of your plans display a laundry space. Please consider this very important feature in your plans.

    ReplyDelete
  24. The tin can cabin is such a simple design but very effective and secure.

    Could the designer contact me please ?

    portfolio.vernonfamilytrust@gmail.com

    Kind regards,

    John

    ReplyDelete
  25. hi we are looking for an inexpensive cool way to build a house. the container iea appeals to us and looks fun. has any one built one complete and if so what has it cost them in australia?

    ReplyDelete
  26. The most advantage about Shipping Container Homes is that they are quite cheap.than getting a home in the cheapest place of the city.you can absolutely make sure the exact thing you need in a architectural aspect it is easy and saves time in constructing it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Is there ANYONE building Container homes in Eastern Ontario?
    If so, prettttttty pleeeeeease with some sugar on top, reply!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Is there ANYONE building Container homes in Eastern Ontario?
    If so, prettttttty pleeeeeease with some sugar on top, reply!

    Sorry, forgot to mention Eastern Ontario, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have visited your blog for the first time and found it a well organized blog. Keep sharing nice stuff........

    building design

    ReplyDelete
  30. I like that Home Plans that is on the hill. Looks amazing. And it occupy all the space available in there. This one is great.

    ReplyDelete
  31. you should see the castle house. Now that is a one of the kind house

    www.rocksidecastlehouse.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think your site is gr8, informative and interesting. Thanks for taking the time and effort!

    ReplyDelete
  33. SIMPLY...BRILLIANT AND AMAZING !! LOVE IT !!

    ReplyDelete
  34. We dream of building a container house too! so many possibilities! Thanks for the inclusion of floor plans...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Just marvelous, thank you for sharing I'm still doing my research as I prepare to put together my team and begin my container home building project.

    Thanks a million.

    Nio- Nassau, Bahamas

    ReplyDelete
  36. WOW!
    Ive just bought my first container 12 ft x 8 ft as a storage unit ...after seeing your most inspiring blog I KNOW NOW what my next step is ...Build a fantastic home . thank you so so much Amari UK

    ReplyDelete
  37. THis is fantastic and a great idea. We have thousands of these containers for sale here in Houston area and I am working on a practical DIY plan my self and found this blog and other to be a good source of information. Here is one guys blog that shows start to finish building and helpful pics and ideas. http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  38. please help me with the idea of how to use one container.

    ReplyDelete