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Montainer Shipping Container to Tiny Cabin Conversions

In this post I’m introducing you to a company called Montainer who recycles shipping containers and turns them into sustainable, modern homes for clients.

Their homes meet all United States building and energy codes and can be delivered anywhere in the United States.

Montainer has a growing “shipping container to home conversion” product line which just means more models and designs for clients to choose from.

Related: 500 Sq. Ft. Shipping Container Tiny Home with a Built In Micro Pool

Montainer Shipping Container Homes

Related: London Approves Affordable Shipping Container Housing

Video: Montainer Episode 1: Container Camping

Video: Montainer Episode 2: The Life of a Container

Video: Montainer Episode 3: Constructing a Shipping Container Building

Resources & Credits

Related: Top 10 Shipping Container Tiny Homes

If you enjoyed these Montainer shipping container homes you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more!

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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!
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Greg
    May 22, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Nice design, except… what’s with the glass wall for the bathroom? Not even a curtain in sight. That’s going to make the dinner guests real comfortable when they have to use the facilities. I’ve been seeing this more and more lately and it’s a trend I just don’t understand.

    • TKnTexas
      May 27, 2014, 5:12 pm

      I agree with that Greg. I understand the glass to “open” up and not seem claustrophobic to the user.

    • Guin
      March 15, 2015, 4:07 pm

      It’s called a “peek-a-boo” bathroom, and it’s a current trend. A strange one if you ask me. To keep the “open” feel and still have privacy, I would’ve opted for etched glass or some other translucent material. Otherwise, I LOVE this design.

    • Steve
      October 25, 2015, 2:32 pm

      Since the area is a wet room stool, sink, shower, perhaps it would be best to leave off the glass and put a shower curtain over the entire area.

  • Craig Browning
    May 22, 2014, 7:17 pm

    What about design issues for Converting a 20′ or 40′ Container into a Tiny House.

    Such as:

    Adding a Pitched Roof (Cutting out original Top for More Height)?

    Adding Wheels/Axles and Keeping Street Legal Heights (Notching Container for Fenders, Etc)?

    Adding Insulated walls with the minimum amount of added Thickness?

    • Derek
      October 26, 2015, 7:11 am

      These are designed as permanent structures… i.e. to be placed in situ.

      These are not transportable… as in tow behind your pickup truck. Any idea how much these monsters weigh? Typically from about 5200 lbs and UP! Depending on initial construction, obviously some containers need to be stronger than others due to what is being shipped in them.

      BTW, unless pitched roof is added on to structure before lifting off its original top, then the structural integrity of the container will be greatly compromised.

  • James
    June 6, 2014, 4:17 am

    True, the glass wall for the toilet is crazy?
    Unless you live in a nudist colony…!
    Seriously though, why have a glass wall from floor to ceiling…?
    You could easily have frosted glass 3/4 of the way to the ceiling, then clear glass for the rest. Still let’s in light and give you some privacy.
    I’m sure nobody wants to see me wipe my butt.

    • Isaac
      October 26, 2015, 7:03 am

      Maybe there’s a button that you can press and the glass frosts over while you are doing your business… ; p

      • Sondra
        March 23, 2016, 6:08 pm

        haha my thoughts exactly, push the button the glass frosts !

  • Elle
    July 13, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Costs for this one begins at $60,000. No mention on the site of delivery being extra, just that they will deliver it. With the finished and such, I don’t think it’s that great. And I’d sign on to the glass bathroom as pretty but not where I’d like to sit down, given the exposure. I suppose you’d get very familiar with your company when they visited!

  • Todd
    July 28, 2014, 7:27 am

    So, what’s the relation between Montainer and http://www.cargotecture.com/page2.html, besides the exact same design, house name, etc? Licensee?

  • Suzanne
    August 15, 2014, 1:12 am

    So, the picture of the kitchen was taken from inside the bathroom? This particular design with the bathroom opposite the kitchen, separated by a glass wall just doesn’t sit right.

  • Captv
    September 4, 2014, 4:15 am

    I wonder when companies will try to price their products to the general public. Seems that these things are designed and built for the people who can spend that kind of money on what they would consider a novelty. The people who can afford it actually would live in these things? I doubt it. While I find the idea of tiny living, commercializing the construction of these THes defeats the purpose. I just don’t see the economy of TH built buy companies.
    If you try to live without a mortgage, buying “off the shelf” is not the way to go. By the way, you probably couldn’t get a home lone for it anyhow so that leaves you, at best, with an RV loan if even approved which would probably carry a higher interest rate at 5-15 years.
    I’m all for tiny houses, traditional or modern design, they all can be made functional as well as beautiful but you just have to build it yourself if you want to make it economically pheasable. It’s really not that difficult. To build the shell and the roof is fairly straight forward. Hanging doors and windows isn’t much more complicated. There are many instructional books available. If you can’t build furnitures, IKEA is a great place.
    Converting containers isn’t a bad idea, but welding skills complicates it and make it costly when you hire the job out at the labor rates that are prevalent now a days. Anyhow, it’s a nice showcase design, Eye candy, but I really don’t see this particular design livable especially not at that price.
    I wish them well in their business venture but I question their success.
    Well, that’s my 2 cents worth.

  • Shenandoah Mike
    September 4, 2014, 1:08 pm

    I must say the whole concept of these containers is quite appealing, and can give a person a very sturdy structure to live in.
    In one of the pictures above the workers are placing the container on cement piers. I don’t know about you but some insulating material between the container and pier my not be such a bad Idea at all ! But then again if you are in the market for some excitement, grab a beer and some wings and sit in the doorway when the next thunderstorm rolls in to town!!! 🙂
    Have a great day my brothers and sisters ! Mike

  • Roy
    March 15, 2015, 3:24 pm

    just jumping on the bandwagon, the whole attraction of this idea other than the minimal cost is to do it yourself with your own style, flair, needs not have someone do it for you !

  • Karen R
    March 15, 2015, 8:59 pm

    No, the whole idea is NOT to do it ourselves for some of us, although most of us admire those of you who do. Neither is the idea to be teenie tiny, to be able to live off grid, to be able to travel down highways . . .THE IDEA IS TO LIVE IN A MORE ECOLOGICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY RESPONSIBILE WAY THAT SUITS EACH INDIVIDUAL. I personally would not dream of building my own home, want a bath and a half with flush toilets, and a main floor bedroom. That is extravagant to some, but a lot less than my three story home with three full baths and my 40-foot living room.

    Using containers for home conversions makes a lot of sense. I am sure these can be produced in various price ranges. Glass walls in bathrooms make NO sense, however. Got our attention, though, didn’t they?

  • March 16, 2015, 3:41 am

    For the do-it-yourselfer that doesn’t want to do a lot of metal cutting, look at the end view of the yellow modal with the container doors open.
    The living area can be put on this end and with the doors open it has light and view, with the doors closed and locked you have pretty good security. with a roof over the deck and the doors positioned to protect from wind you have a comfortable outdoor room.
    I believe filling the corrugations in the container walls and ceiling inside and out the sheeting the inside and outside would give sufficient insulation for a mild climate.
    My experience with solar tube lighting indicates that installing one for the kitchen, bath and bedroom would give lots of interior light without heat loss.
    For a simple living space that can be left secure for periods of time and moved if necessary it would be hard to beat.

  • Kirsten
    March 16, 2015, 8:31 am

    THANK YOU, Karen R! Maybe I’ve missed it, but I have yet to see a small house that is ecological, economical. and practical. Living in a tiny/micro house won’t work for me. I am an artist and a writer who needs to keep a lot of reference materials around me while I work. I also struggle with health issues (five different autoimmune diseases) and must consider that I might be fully handicapped in a few years. To sum, I can and do support myself fully, but have very limited funds (paycheck to paycheck). I have limited mobility, so I can’t have a scenario that features ladders or very steep steps. I need bookshelves (lots of them) and a full bathroom. I figure the very smallest footprint I can live in is about 800 sq ft. As soon as those parameters are set, I find that the price is almost 200,000. Surely a couple of containers could be reconfigured to meet my needs for under 60,000. Is anyone addressing the aging population or are all the designs for single trustafarian adventure seekers? I’m trying not to be snide, but I look at this site every day hoping for one, just one , permanent design that is adaptable to our aging population on limited incomes.

    • Marcy
      March 16, 2015, 9:22 am

      Kirsten, You make really good points. I’m not as young as I used to be, and when I look at many of these tiny homes, I know that it might work for me for the next 5 – 10 years, but what about after that? My next home (I’m currently renting) will be my final home.

  • Kelly Libert
    March 17, 2015, 1:38 am

    In my home I replaced a bathroom window with glass block and installed a good ceiling ventilating fan. Even at night the most that can be seen from outside is a silhouette. With a large decorative mirror on the hall wall directly across from it, it brings a lot of light into a formerly dark area of the house. My point is, there are ways to bring light in without compromising your modesty or causing psychological damage to your neighbors. 🙂

  • Kris
    March 20, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I totally agree with you Kirsten. I’m a single, full-time-working 67 year old female who is looking for that last home of my life. Because of health problems and my age (stairs won’t be getting any easier as I get older), and because I must more or less live paycheck to paycheck, I’m going to need something all on one floor and that doesn’t cost an outrageous amount. I am lucky to know one end of a hammer from the other, and because of health problems, I could not build anything myself. I’m thinking that my only option is going to be a mobile home or a small shabby shack somewhere. I drool over some of the tiny houses, but I don’t see them as being within my reach.

  • Steve
    October 25, 2015, 2:39 pm

    In many European and Asian hotels, a “wet room” bath is standard, because accommodations are smaller than the American average. I prefer those that have a hand shower mounted at waist height. This cuts down on a lot of splashing that would result from this design’s ceiling-mounted shower head. In Asia, many bathrooms have a sitting shelf/bench or waterproof stool in the shower area, so bathers can sit or stand with a foot on the stool.

    Some hand-held shower heads with a lever on the grip that one presses to release water — very ecological.

  • AmyCat =^.^=
    October 25, 2015, 6:34 pm

    Agree 100% on the many comments expressing dislike for the clear glass bathroom wall/door! Translucent glass (etched, frosted, etc.) would be much better and still let in plenty of light. Likewise, adding a clerestory-type window up near the ceiling would do double duty: bringing in light and allowing for better ventilation (mold/mildew preventive!).

  • Comet
    October 25, 2015, 7:46 pm

    Gotta love the people on here who are bound and determined to tell us ALL–in Large Friendly Letters–what exactly the TH “movement” is ALL ABOUT. And how that somehow always manages to be THEIR vision of it!

    I suspect that there are as many visions of this as there are people thinking of it! Not all of us have the same needs wants and desires.

    And can I mention—many many people here have made HUGE big deals about never shopping at WalMart; never buying anything made other than in the USA—well reality is–these shipping containers are prolific here now BECAUSE of WalMart and OTHER importers bringing in things from China and the REST of Asia; and that it is somehow CHEAPER for them to abandon the containers after a ONE WAY TRIP HERE. Not to burst the bubble but–if you are gonna talk the talk–you then need to walk the walk. By “encouraging” using these–you are encouraging this same sort of consumption.

    I know–I a being a “Kill Joy” here–but please don’t think these just show up washed up on shore like shells. Are they a good resource for shelter? Yes–just like train box cars are for a lots of third world countries. The prices on these tho–esp when coming via a 3rd party–are some what insane esp when you figure out the price of land; permits; taxes–OMG—yes you WOULD need to pay the dreaded TAXES on these to provide the ROADS and BRIDGES to bring them TO you on—and to get you municipal WATER; and SEWAGE–all of which our taxes PAY for. Add in getting wiring-even if YOU don’t USE electric purchased from a Utility–permits most likely demand you HAVE it. Water hooks ups; sewage hook ups; natural gas hook ups–all have to be paid for; inspected; and hooked up. You probably need to have some sort of a heat source –again;; if YOU don’t use it it STILL NEEDS TO BE THERE for inspection. Or you can’t get an occupancy permit. OR —quite possibly–a loan (mortgage).

    Do I agree with all of these? Not all. And I do wonder at some of the prices. You can find actual houses with land here in Upstate NY for (in some cases) $35,000 or less–so $75,000 for this to ME is–insane. My actual house with an absolutely gorgeous view of the Vermont mountains across farmland is not large (but quite a bit larger than a shipping container!) with a full finished basement and two full baths and an acre of ground; wood heat AND electric AND kero heat system; wood shed; tool and mower shed; and a freshly enlarged chicken coop. —and I will happily sell it too you for about $25,000 more than this.

  • Carson
    October 26, 2015, 1:37 am

    I agree with Karen, I live in a 2700 sqft 2 story house on Galveston bay in Bay Cliff Texas. I payed $145000 for. I enjoy the ideas from this site but come on really$80,000 for a fancy tool shed that I already have in my back yard? If we are going to promote tiny living this way it just isn’t going to happen. What happened to affordability? Maybe it’s just me but some one is getting hosed in all this. I enjoy the Ideas on here but come on guy’s REALLY?. most of this houses are not sustainable, environmentally sound , and would you really like one in your block?
    At least I have 2 1/2 baths 4 bed rooms and no mortgage for less than I’m seeing people on here paying for 700 sq. ft. and I have a water front view. I’m not knocking the idea but lets step back and think about it. And my house was built in 2005. My total utility’s this month were less than $200.00 in the Texas heat. winter will be cheaper.
    I’m just saying we need to use a little logic here.

    • Alex
      October 26, 2015, 8:25 am

      Carson great points but just a reminder to all that housing has already appreciated quite a lot since the lows of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. So your 2700 sq. ft. house is most likely worth a lot more than the $145000 you paid. Lots of us weren’t fortunate enough to take advantage of that timing because we were hurting during those years. Many us too, unfortunately, also lost our homes completely.

  • Brett King
    October 28, 2015, 6:12 pm

    I have read the comments and all I am really hearing is the woes and the negatives. Let’s look at the full spectrum, of course you are going to have to adapt to some of the different ways this is not a brick and mortar home. This is not even mobile home, unless you put it on wheels. But this is the good news, here in Atlanta where rent and mortgages are crazy but getting crazier, you can buy a 40’X8’X9.5″ used for $1700-$2500. You can get solar panel system for $1200(4000w), which I’ve figured out will light, heat, and keep cool the container, and give me enough energy for a Xmas tree. And that is a one time light bill. Think about your light bill now, I pay $125 a month to the light company, so in less than a year, I would eradicate that bill. $125 a month extra, is alot to me. I’m getting ready to buy my first one and I can’t wait for the challenge, because I think that I will be more proud of my piece of art than I am with my current apartment. I know I will. So try to not be so downtrodden, if it’s not in you to try it, don’t. It is a great idea for some of us. My only problem is finding the land to put it on. The rest I can deal with. I love being a boy scout.

  • steve
    August 29, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Dear Editor,
    Could you please try to find companies/ articles about companies that are making more cost efficient/realistic homes using shipping containers or other eco-efficient domiciles ?
    That would be helpful to many of the comments listed.

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