When it comes to tiny house living, shipping container tiny houses are a great option because they’re inexpensive, usually recycled, and extremely durable.
This means that by turning one into your home you’re helping the environment by using something that already exists as a shelter, you’re saving money compared to building from scratch, and your home will be able to withstand almost anything.
All of that sounds pretty great I’m sure, but how the heck do you make a shipping container into a home? How small can it be?
I think you’ll be surprised by this top 10 list of shipping container homes because they range in several sizes and in a bunch of different levels of luxury, too.
The first container home I’ll show you is interesting because it’s expandable, just like RVs that have slide outs. This conversion has lots of sliders, as you’ll see in the photos below.
They’re used to keep the unit mobile so in case you wanted to move it, it’s relatively easy and simple to do since it can go down to a width of approximately 8′ and a length of 40′ when everything’s closed up. It’s called the MDU which stands for Mobile Dwelling Unit, as seen on DorNob.
For more photos and information on this Mobile Dwelling Unit, visit DorNob.
Check out container #2 below:
Next, with container number 2, let me show you what a man named Daniel Sokol is doing in New Hampshire with container conversions and his company called LEED Cabins. According to Jetson Green, he’s taking 20′ containers and converting them into tiny habitable homes starting at just $17,000. Check it out below.
Don’t miss the dog resting and of course the beautiful little kitchen.
Check out container #3 below:
For container number three- unfortunately- the credits are unknown. I looked and looked and could not find out much about it, so if you have any idea where it came from and who built it, please let me know in the comments.
Notice that it has window awnings set up everywhere along with an RV-style air conditioning system. Very nicely done, don’t you think? Let’s move on to the next one though.
Move on to container house #4 below:
Shipping container shelter number 4 is one of my personal favorites and you’ll probably love it as well because it’s set up perfectly to fully enjoy life. It’s a lakeside container turned cabin in Sri Lanka. The story behind this one is really interesting because it was built by soliders in an army training camp using the container and timber from weapon boxes that the soldiers found around the area, according to Dezeen and Jetson Green.
Today the container turned cabin serves as a rustic retreat as the Holiday Cabana at Maduru Oya.
It was photographed by Logan MacDougall Pope and designed by Damith Premathilake. How would you like to vacation in this- or better yet- live in something similar to it? Count me in. Damith, can you please put the plans up for sale?
Don’t miss number 5 below:
Next up is number five: a modern shipping container house conversion with a natural touch called the Cordell House. This is a great combination in my opinion. This type of natural looking wood finish gives off a modern touch while still giving you that cool cabin feel. It certainly isn’t tiny, but it was created to serve a family so I hope you’ll understand.
According to The Coolist, the Cordell House was designed and built by developers Katie Nichols and John Walker, of Numen Development, with the help of architect Christopher Robertson. They used three 40′ units and one 20′ unit to create the structure you see below and it does include guest quarters. Photos by Jack Thompson.
So that’s what a ‘normal’ sized house would look like if it were professionally designed and built using shipping containers and plenty of funds. Pretty cool considering the use of recycled materials, don’t you think? It’s a little larger than what I usually like to feature here, but some folks truly need more space.
Check out number six below:
Container home number six can definitely be considered ‘tiny’ though at just 192 square feet using a 24′ long container. It will cost you upwards of $59,500 if you want one built for you by Seattle-based Hybrid Architecture. This particular design is called The Nomad and in 2011 was featured in Sunset Magazine, according to Tiny House Listings.
As you can tell the roof is topped with giant solar panels to help power most of the home while the deck gives you just enough outside area to enjoy.
This 24′ container home is designed to sleep up to four people comfortably.
If you want to learn more about Hybrid Architecture’s container homes and designs visit their website where you can also check out the rest of their projects. All photos of The Nomad house are credited to Hybrid Architecture.
Move on to lovely number seven below:
Lucky number 7 was originally seen on Dwell Magazine this 40′ by 8′ container was converted into a lush 320 square foot home. Compact and yet luxurious. It was done with the help of Jim Poteet, a Texas architect. According to Dwell, Stacey Hill wanted it made for the artist community she lives in. Photographs by Chris Cooper.
Funny thing about this one is that it already came in the blue color that you see now. They just added the floor to ceiling windows and sliding glass doors to brighten it up along with all of the extra fixtures you see below to give it a more artistic flavor.
Notice the roof top garden as well.
See affordable number eight below:
Tiny container number 8 is perfect if you want a safe and secure getaway out in the woods, mountains, or even in your backyard. The reason it’s so secure is because it has small windows and the larger ones can be completely enclosed to make it very challenging for a burglar to get into.
It’s an 8′ by 20′ container that’s used to build it so you’ve got approximately 160 square feet of living space but you can deduct a small portion of that for the front porch which can be completely closed in for protection, safety, and security. You can learn more about it and its owner, Tom, over at SoftStainless.com.
To see number 9 in Costa Rica, click below:
ISBU (intermodal steel building units) home number 9 is in wonderful Costa Rica. Using 20′ standard containers, Jimmy is transforming them into perfect compact studios for you to live in starting at just $15,000 through his company, ContainerHomes.net, according to Kent’s Tiny House Blog.
Be sure to check out all of Jimmy’s products and services related to container homes over at his website if you’re interested in seeing what else he’s currently offering as this isn’t his only design.
Finish off with tiny container house number ten below:
Tiny container home number 10 is last but certainly not least. It’s an effort to help the needy with housing and it’s called PFNC which in spanish stands for Por Fin Nuestra Casa. In english that translates to, “finally, a home of our own.” I originally found out about this home thanks to Kent Griswold’s Tiny House Blog where he posted about this back in 2008.
Below you can enjoy a video walk through of one of their tiny container homes.
The project is led by a man named Brian McCarthy and it’s an honor to get to show his work here on Tiny House Talk. PFNC’s mission, as it reads on their website is to raise the standard of living for families who currently reside in dangerous or substandard conditions. We advance this cause by creating shelters from low-cost recycled materials.
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