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Mat and Danielle from Exploring Alternatives spent a day at the Storstac Inc. shipping container yard in Toronto, Canada to learn the ins and outs of building with new and used shipping containers.

While building with shipping containers is not necessarily cheaper than conventional building, it does have advantages because containers are modular, mobile, durable, and they have a unique, modern look.

They can be do it yourself friendly if you’ve worked with steel before, or if you find a company to take care of the steel work for you so that you can focus on framing and finishing it from the inside.

Building Homes & Mobile Spaces w/ Shipping Containers

Here are 3 of their key takeaways:

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This is an earthship home built by Jordan.

Jordan from Earthship PEI (Prince Edward Island, Canada) shares great tips and advice on how to build a stunning earthship-style home using recycled tires and earthen plaster made from clay, sand, and straw. He built this beautiful green building with a ton of help from his girlfriend and friends.

Related: Taylor & Steph’s $10k Earthship Home

Jordan’s Little Earthship Home in Canada

PEI Earthship - Exploring Alternatives 1

Image © Exploring Alternatives

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Nicky and Judy decided that a tiny house on wheels would be the ideal solution for the next stage in their lives: retirement. The low cost of living a minimalist lifestyle in 175 square feet allows Nicky to work less (Judy is already retired), and it allows them to enjoy living in their dream home, but with the option of moving to a new location if they so desire.

The couple’s tiny house, which they call “Tiny” for short, was built by Matt from Howling Dog Construction in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Some of the unique features of this tiny home include 17 windows to provide ample natural light for crafting, the winch-powered dog elevator which allows their aging Corgi to sleep in the loft with them, and the impressive amount of storage they managed to build into the house while maintaining a spacious and airy interior.

Nicky and Judy blog about their alternative lifestyle at Learning To Reawaken.

Related: Retired Nomad Woman Living in her Teardrop Trailer w/ Jeep

Challenges & Benefits of Living in a Tiny House 

Semi Retired Couple Shares Their Experience

Image © Exploring Alternatives

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This off-grid treehouse has a hanging rope bridge that connects it to a magical treetop deck. It was built by Dior and Sylvain from Les Toits du Monde (“Roofs of the World” in English), which is an eco-resort in Nominingue, Québec, Canada — less than 3 hours from Montreal and Ottawa.

The treehouse has a solar panel for the lights, a propane cooktop in the kitchen, a portable solar shower and 5-gallon bucket toilet with sawdust, a wood stove for heat, and they deliver drinking water in jugs that are filled from their well at the main house.

Related: Tiny Treehouse Village in Japan

Tiny Tree House with Hanging Rope Bridge 

Tiny Tree House Tour 2 - Exploring Alternatives

Image © Exploring Alternatives

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Zola Molotov, a fire dancer, converted this 24 foot school bus into a functional mobile home on wheels that runs on free waste vegetable oil collected from restaurant deep fryers.

Following a freegan philosophy, she attempted to reuse and scavenge many materials for the skoolie conversion, including the sink and propane stove that were given to her in exchange for demolishing an old trailer.

Zola and a diesel mechanic installed a waste vegetable oil system that allows the bus to run on diesel, or on waste vegetable oil.

Woman Converts Bus into Mobile Home that Runs on Free Vegetable Oil

Zola Molotov's Waste Vegetable Oil Skoolie

Image © Exploring Alternatives

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Ma Maison Logique‘s second tiny house design, the Novio, is a 210 square foot minimalist stunner with an open concept floor plan and massive picture windows. Their first tiny house is here.

The Novio has clever space-saving features like a composting toilet in a drawer, a shower in a closet, and a ladder tucked away in the wall; in addition to thoughtful touches, like the skylight in the loft for stargazing.

Some people may not enjoy the idea of a toilet hidden in their clothes closet, in which case the closet could easily be repurposed as a bathroom storage space for toilet paper, cleaning products, etc.

This tiny home was designed as a guest house for their clients, who have access to electricity year round.  It is heated with 2 small electric baseboard heaters and has high performing insulation and a heat recovery air exchange ventilator (HRV) to help manage heat and humidity in the small space.

Related: Mohican Tiny House by Modern Tiny Living For Sale

Modern Tiny House with Hidden Bathroom & Space Saving Furniture

Image © Exploring Alternatives

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Marcin and Anissa are an inspiring couple who are designing beautiful, natural, and minimalist yurts for Yurta in Ontario, Canada.

They started their career designing lamps and emergency relief tents but transitioned to designing modern yurts when a man from the local Gatineau Park asked them to try their hand at building a lightweight and portable yurt.

They use natural materials including 100% wool felt, ash and cedar wood, and polyester cotton fabric. Their yurts fit into a 4×8″ trailer making them incredibly easy to move from place to place.

Related: The Mongolian Yurt: A Beautiful and Low Cost Tiny House Alternatives VIDEO

Couple Building Modern Yurt as Super Portable Tiny Home

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