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Her Shipping Container Tiny House with a Gym


Emily was inspired by what she read in magazines about living off-grid on her own raw land and reducing her carbon footprint. She ended up buying a shipping container before she even purchased land in Maine to put it on. Thankfully it all worked out and she found her perfect spot.

For the past decade, it’s been her mission to transform that container (and the 3 additional ones she has purchased since) into a fully off-grid and sustainable home for herself. The last couple of years have enabled her to take what was a weekend project and turn it into her full-time focus, and now she has such a tremendous spot. Be sure to read her interview with us after the photo tour!

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Look What She Did With These 4 Shipping Containers!

Her Off-Grid Container Condo in Maine 6

Images by Emily/Instagram

I love the porches she created.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

She did a lot of the work herself.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

This covered patio area looks great.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Tons of solar power!

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Getting it all worked out.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

She actually purchased the shipping container before her land!

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Images by Emily/Instagram

What an awesome home sweet home

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Kitchen, living, bedroom.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Wood burning stove keeps thing toasty.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Extra sleeping areas for guests.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

A look inside her gym.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Emily is a personal trainer.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

What a super cool arrangment.

Her Off-Grid Container Condo in Maine

Images by Emily/Instagram

Now those are some views!

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Set-up down by the water.

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Images by Emily/Instagram

Interview with Emily

What are your name(s)? Emily Savard

Where are you from? East coast mutt

How did you first become seriously interested in tiny homes? Reading magazines and realizing I wanted to build my own off grid tiny house on raw land to get in touch with nature, live more simply, and have a smaller carbon footprint. I didn’t have the means to buy a regular house nor did I want all of that waste and excess.

What type of tiny house do you have or are you working on? It is presently made out of 3 used shipping containers and a 4th one as a garage/gym. I bought all of them from different places one at a time on Craigslist when I would have the money and time to work on them. This project will always have some kind of addition going on I’m sure 🙂

Why did you go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of it for yourself? Independence and a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know what I’m doing (I’m a personal trainer not a tradesperson) but I enjoy the challenge. Nothing has nor will come easy but I have and hope to continue to learn a lot. I believe that is what life is all about

How long did it take you to finish your tiny house? The raw land was purchased 10 years ago in Maine and I had one 40ft container that I was starting with. I would come up on the weekends from Boston to work on it. The pandemic made it possible for me to work remotely so I squeezed probably 4 years worth of time into that first 1.5 years of the pandemic working and living in it full time. Before that it was only a weekender type of stay because I just didn’t have all the infrastructure in place yet.

Did you do it yourself? Who helped? How much did it end up costing you to build it? I did everything I possibly could do myself, but I did find individuals who could help me with welding, excavation, crane work, carpentry, and solar knowledge. I have stopped counting the build costs but I would think $175k including the cost of the land.

How did you figure out where to put it? Do you keep it in one place or do you move around? I actually bought the cart before the horse. I found my first shipping container before I had found the land, but it worked out. The container was getting welding done off site and by the time it was ready I had the land. I spent sometime camping on the land first to get a feel of the property and let it tell me where things should go.

What’s been the most challenging part about your tiny house so far? Finding help. Normal people are curious and intrigued by the shipping container idea, but if you ask them for their services on something that is custom and off grid like this people look baffled.

What benefits are you experiencing from it so far? Everything! It has changed my whole outlook on life. When I started this project, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and sometimes I wonder if I had known how hard things would be if I would have stuck it out? Thankfully, ignorance is blind! The hardships have been out weighed by the rewards tenfold.

What helpful piece of advice would you give to others who are interested in going tiny? What mistakes could you help them avoid? Buy land or at least know where you want your tiny house to be and have that set up first. Many towns have issues with tiny houses so make sure you can do what you wish to do

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Koko Mchugh
    April 23, 2022, 10:50 pm

    Emily great job

  • Teeny Tiny
    April 25, 2022, 8:43 pm

    Cute house!

    Is there a bathroom, or a composting toilet? I didn’t see one.

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