≡ Menu

Couple Create Shipping Container Tiny House Community

This is a shipping container tiny home community experiment in Oakland, California.

When Luke Iseman and Heather Stewart got sick and tired of paying outrageous rents in San Francisco, they went on Craigslist and found a lot in Oakland they could rent and decided to turn it into an experimental shipping container tiny house community that’s now being called Countertopia. They started buying used shipping containers for $2,300 from the Port of Oakland and converting them into tiny cabins.

Don’t miss other super interesting stories like this – join our FREE Tiny House Newsletter for more!

Oakland Shipping Container Tiny Home Community Experiment

Shipping Container Town Experiment 001

Images © Faircompanies/YouTube

Shipping Container Town Experiment 002 Shipping Container Town Experiment 004 Shipping Container Town Experiment 005 Shipping Container Town Experiment 006 Shipping Container Town Experiment 007 Shipping Container Town Experiment 008 Shipping Container Town Experiment 009

Images © Faircompanies/YouTube

Video: Couple Create Their Own Shipping Container Tiny House Community

Learn more: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/containertopia-cargo-container-tinyhome-town-on-oakland-lot/


You can share this shipping container tiny house community with your friends and family for free using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks.

If you enjoyed this tiny house story you’ll absolutely LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you!

The following two tabs change content below.


Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Sue Roberson
    October 20, 2015, 4:17 pm

    No offense & no, I’m not a racist either, but they do look low rent.

  • Thom
    October 20, 2015, 5:10 pm

    There`s half assed and then there`s these `pie in the sky` clowns.

    You`re thinking of selling fitted out containers in the style that you have so far created? Dream on muppets. Your skills are low to absent and people are not going to pay good money for what you`re currently doing.

    Get real, children!!!

  • Sharon Fried
    October 20, 2015, 5:43 pm

    I’m really sorry to read the negative comments here from some very spoiled and critical people. I give this couple so much credit for creating a simple and healthy lifestyle and living space. There is everything right about the compost toilet pail, as inconvenient as it may seem. Shipping container living is the way to go, folks, but if you prefer the high costs of living in “regular” types of homes, go for it, but don’t insult what you don’t really understand and appreciate.

    • Liz
      October 22, 2015, 12:49 pm

      Sharon, to not want to live in something as disgusting as this does NOT make anyone spoiled. No one would purposely buy a “home” that looks like that. And healthy? Hardly. What’s to understand? A container that is in the middle of a dirty, in what looks to be an industrial area. The work is sloppy. That isn’t spoiled. That is a fact. How about YOU buy that home if you think it’s so great? PS; Thumper is dead. Sorry.

  • C T Scott
    October 20, 2015, 6:25 pm

    I remember seeing the video they posted a couple years ago. Although it’s easy to sit back and criticize their workmanship and such, at least they took initiative and made something out of nothing. A rare trait that you don’t see much of anymore, rather most people would accept the insanely high cost of living in the Bay Area and allow themselves to be pigeon-holed.
    I build Tiny homes as a profession and whether I agree or like the client’s design or not, I build them to the client’s specs. It’s not my place to “Judge” my fellow man…..

    • CharlotteMo
      October 20, 2015, 10:49 pm

      Wow, see how easy it is to pigeonhole, i.e., judge?

    • Sharon Fried
      October 21, 2015, 12:31 am

      Hi C.T. Scott,

      I plan to build a tiny house on wheels. Where are you located?

      Thanks, Sharon

  • Sally
    October 20, 2015, 6:26 pm

    Whereas their comments were not positive, they do have the right to express them. I have no problem with graffiti, chickens or young people making do. But…a good idea carried out with such lousy aesthetics and planning reflects poorly on the entire container concept. It’s an uphill battle to educate people about their usefulness, and this negative representation only gives “the other side” fuel for their arguments.
    It does look like a squatter’s settlement, and per one post, it didn’t last long. That does not reflect well on container conversions, and makes it harder for people who are trying to gain acceptance for their own unique places. They need success stories to submit to zoning and building departments, not an unsuccessful scenario like the one shown here.
    This reminds me of my old commune days, but we always set up in the country. Setting this up in a city on a tiny budget was asking for problems. I’m sorry for them, and hope they find a better solution.

  • Elle
    October 20, 2015, 6:43 pm

    Yes, the couple deserves kudos for their values and efforts, no doubt. Too few people are thinking smaller footprint equals less waste. But you got to admit the exchange above is funny as hell no matter the opinions.

  • Ken
    October 20, 2015, 6:47 pm

    One step away from being homeless living in a tent

  • Eric
    October 20, 2015, 10:36 pm

    I mean, really. C’mon. This site has typically, if not always, offered up tasteful designs that people can get design ideas from or just plain admire. There was nothing to admire about this, and there were certainly no design ideas – except perhaps what to avoid. What’s next? A story about homeless people “going tiny” in a tent city? This is literally just one step up from that. Stay classy.

  • James
    October 20, 2015, 10:40 pm

    It sure beats living on the street or a lifetime of debt. We have become so spoiled.

  • Eric
    October 21, 2015, 11:08 am

    Well, this little encampment was just one tiny step up from living in a cardboard box on the street. I’m all for container homes and loving tiny, but this isn’t the way to do either.

  • Francien Daniels-Webb
    October 22, 2015, 12:13 am

    i am 64, female, single a mum and granma, special needs teacher and full time traveller, home and pet sitter and I have been homeless since December 2011.
    I don’t get paid for what I do, I don’t receive a pension, I don’t have superannuation I live on my hard earned savings after working for nearly 45 years. Had a few years of having three kids! LOLS
    I spend every even hear in Australia ( my kids and gran kids live there) and odd years like this year OS. I am at this very moment in Naperville Illinois, having completed 6 weeks in Winter Park Florida prior to flying to Kansas City Missouri to visit owners I sat for for 3 nights ( they paid for the flight as a gift) then I paid for my train ticket to Chicago!
    I am spending time with 2 beagles – 9 and 8 yo. A long haired b&w chihuahua was my little shadow in Florida. Next stop Maryland.
    I don’t need a home, I have lived with 2 suitcases of clothing as I arrived to sit in Edmonton Alberta in February through to March so needed clothing and boots to cope with -30 degrees as well as in Banff, Toronto, Montreal and then NYC.
    Eventually I may have to settle, oh I can’t even write it let alone say it.
    When interviewed for a current affair program in Australia ‘what will you do when you can’t do this any longer?’ My answer was ‘I will be cremated!’
    But I absolutely love the Tiny Home movement.
    I would like to suggest that if you are thinking of going that way try and find one you can stay in via airbnb? A small floor plan can be a real issue when it rains for weeks. No where to go. If you have a child well I can’t think about the issues that will arise. Babies sleeping in lofts or if not, mum dragging herself down the stairs to get to crying baby.
    Isolation will be the least of your concerns.
    Think clearly about what you are going to be having to live with. On your own great. A couple oh you really have to be very dedicated to,each other. And reaching 64 I can’t believe 99% of people today could survive this close encounter.
    Holiday breaks fine, full time tiny isn’t healthy.

  • Liz
    October 22, 2015, 12:40 pm

    I was going to ask if this was for the homeless. How could anyone be proud of this mess. And how about that fantastic view of, er, whatever that metal and junk is in the background. I would be totally embarrassed to say this was my work and would NEVER show this off. So what if it’s cheaper than living in a standard home. I would rather stay in a tent. A 28 minute video for THIS? Don’t quit your day jobs folks.

  • Glema
    October 28, 2015, 7:17 am

    Thank you for sharing. Don’t let the negativity get you down. Just keep going. If any home just stopped at the level where you are, it wouldn’t look or seem correct to others. It seems they forget you are a work in progress. Please, just keep improving on your ideas and plan for better as you learn. You are doing it, just keep doing it. Think improvement as you go, read up on others ideas to help yourself grow in the successes you have thus far. Know your efforts are not wasted as long as they help someone, if that someone is you or someone else. We all learn to walk one step at a time. Keep stepping! God bless you both happy trails! Thank you for sharing this article Alex. I feel it was important for all. Take Care!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.