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Man Converts Two Shipping Containers to Off-Grid Self-Sustained Cabin

This is the story of a man named Larry who built a self-sustained and off-the-grid home out of two shipping containers. He wanted all of the comforts of a home and to be able to live in it comfortably up to a year or more if need be.

To do this he ordered two sea containers and welded them together to make one awesome cabin. Water is heated using solar power or by woodstove if necessary. Access to water is by well. The two containers combined add up to a 40′ x 16′ floor plan so about 640 square feet of space inside.

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He Built The Ultimate Self Contained Shipping Container Cottage


Sea Container Cabin

Please learn more about this custom off-grid shipping container cabin (and check out the floor plan, cost, etc., too) below:

After he prepped his land for the project he ordered the two sea containers


Each one weighs over 8,000 lbs. Larry was able to adjust them to the right spot (on his piers) with the help of the driver, his compact tractor, an old floor jack, and a 4 ton power-puller.


Before they were welded together he chained them and spray foam insulated the space in between them.


40’x16′ Container Cabin Floor Plan


The Cutting Begins

To cut the walls he used about one 4 and 1/2″ disc for every 5′ of wall he had to cut.

Since the containers are made of very heavy steel they are super sharp in the edges after you cut them (so be very careful if you ever do this… better yet, get some help!)

He decided to cut the openings in arched shapes to retain the strength of the container’s roof and so that it will match the arched windows too.


These cuts were then recycled and used later on to create a covered front door entrance. 🙂

Welding the Containers Together


Insulating the Cabin Shell


Cutting the Windows and Doors

sea-shipping-container-cabin-0029 sea-shipping-container-cabin-0025

Framing the Interior


$35k Off-Grid Shipping Container Cabin


Entrance to Living Room


Two Doors to Bedrooms


Bedroom 1

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Bedroom 2

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Wood Stove in Living Room


Door to Bathroom and Kitchen to the Right


Bathroom and Laundry

sea-shipping-container-cabin-0022 sea-shipping-container-cabin-0023 sea-shipping-container-cabin-0024


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Food Storage


Sea Container Cabin

Images: http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/

Heating the home can be done by solar as well as with the wood stove.

Lighting options include 110 volt, 12 volt and kerosene.

Cost to Build

In total, he spent about $35,000 to build it which includes the containers, well, landscaping, plumbing, interior, and the carport. But it does not include the land it sits on.


  • Larry’s Taj Malodge Shipping Container Cabin Blog  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/
  • Complete Tour with More Info on the Finished Cabin  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/p/finished-rooms.html
  • How he Welded Them Together  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/p/welding-containers-together.html
  • How he Insulated Them and Did the Landscaping  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/p/spray-on-insulation-landscaping.html
  • How he Framed the Interior  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/p/interior-framing.html
  • Interior Insulation and Walls  http://seacontainercabin.blogspot.ca/p/interior-insulation-and-putting-up.html

If you enjoyed this shipping container to cabin conversion you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with 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!
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Rinthe renoud
    February 18, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Best one yet because it actually details the FYI type of work & how to stuff. Thanks for a completed article

    • Alex Pino
      February 18, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Thanks Rinthe glad you enjoyed it

  • Susan
    February 18, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Love the concept and the exterior. Respect all the work done. Do not like the interior…dark and bad decor (except for the bathroom sink cabinet ;-)).

    • Alex Pino
      February 18, 2014, 4:59 pm

      Thanks Susan

      • Julie
        November 18, 2019, 8:41 pm

        I like it, it’s old school. Not that “modern” all white “doesn’t really look like a home” look, that everyone seems to want now days. All I can think about it how dirty looking all that white probably gets. :p

  • Jade
    February 18, 2014, 3:35 pm

    THis is great. Could you purchase two more and make it a double story?

  • Otessa Regina Compton
    February 18, 2014, 3:42 pm

    I do not like animals mounted on walls, etc…;however, this one is full of life and is robust in color.

  • Brian
    February 18, 2014, 5:04 pm

    Love it and all the suggestions and cautions. I would find this very easy to live in for any length of time. Well done and I shall be following your Blog.

    • Alex Pino
      February 18, 2014, 7:31 pm

      Glad you liked it Brian thanks

  • Debora
    February 18, 2014, 9:08 pm

    I’m not a big fan of shipping container homes, but this one is great. I love the feel of it. Whoever decorated it, did an excellent job. Looks and feels very homey.

    • Alex Pino
      February 19, 2014, 9:30 am

      Thanks Debora glad you like it!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob
    February 18, 2014, 11:12 pm

    I have seen this cabin many times before posted online at facebook and other social media sites the last two years or so. So this cabin is really not a new one, it’s been around for awhile now. But still in all, it is a really nice place for being simply two shipping containers. Great idea!!!

  • Comet
    February 19, 2014, 12:12 am

    Wow I would move right in! LOVE that kitchen stove! someday—-

    I am guessing tho that in a “normal” winter you don’t get much snow? Wondered if the metal adjustable columns–sorry don’t remember official name—would help with some peoples design issues. I know we have them under the “seam” on our modular with full poured basement and on a different house where the house sits over the garage—those columns are poured into the cement of the garage floor. They can be boxed in nicely to look like finished beams and can be hinged for access if you think you might ever need to adjust.

    Several people over on Larry’s Blog mentioned windows—-I would start at the window places and THEN run to HABITAT RESTORE for the actual purchase. For the cost of a decent dinner out you can buy (Here in Upstate NY where everything costs a lot!!!) a gorgeous huge custom design Pella that was never installed—Even my husband the Window Guy was astonished at the prices selection and name brands. And you can also heat these type places with a MONITOR heater—we heat about double this space with the larger unit and it is extremely efficient and you can even–if you NEED to–run it off an inverter to your CAR. Easier to keep it warm in some cases than a wood stove if you are out all day.

    This is def in the “Maybe when we retire” file!!!!!

  • Terrie Williams
    February 19, 2014, 10:34 am

    I absolutely LOVE this place! Its floor plan is very usable for disabled persons. all the rooms are wheelchair/powerchair accessible except for the food storage and maybe bathroom, but that is accessible by walker. The price (except for land of course) is very very reasonable! This doable for persons on fixed or limited income. Finally a place that isn’t out of reach for most. Thanks, Alex, for sharing this!

    • Alex
      February 19, 2014, 11:32 am

      Thanks Terrie glad you enjoyed it too!

  • Glema
    February 19, 2014, 6:51 pm

    That’s a great food storage area. No windows and it is a sea container made into a home so that this particular part of the “pantry” is built underground and made of steel so very strong, long lasting. So it is like an old fruit cellar. Wonderful Idea! Thank you for sharing this with us Alex and congrats to the owner, on a job well done. I love the design shape of the dresser/wash stand combo for myself I would make it a bit smaller, thinner and put it in a TH on wheels. Since I’m dreaming I would update it a bit as well, perhaps a little lacey fancy woodwork carving on each side up to the mirror? And a different faucet setting might be in order.
    Much lighter woods for my taste as well Adina but as they say, to each their own. On the laundry/water heater area maybe a screen room divider sort of door with folding hinges and a thin paper screen work type of thing rather than the shower curtain. Just saying. ☺ As for the rest I would make it my own in other ways and put it on wheels ☺ I mean, since I’m dreaming. Lol Happy trails everyone, God bless!

  • Dave Rogers
    February 19, 2014, 10:19 pm

    Any way to contact (larry) with some questions?

  • Renée Martin
    February 20, 2014, 8:27 am

    I love the concept but the interior leaves a lot to be desired. To each his own and I am happy to see someone get the home of their dreams even if it’s not to my taste.

  • Sevina
    February 22, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Wow! I really like the layout of this space! Too many designs out there waste space, but this one is perfect and not only that, it doesn’t seem cramped at all like many other shipping container homes. The hunting cabin décor isn’t my style, but I was very nicely surprised to see the homeowners incorporate some lovely touches like the charming bathroom, nicely tiled kitchen/dining, beautiful kitchen sink and the cheerful, vintage stove! And that huge pantry – that’s something you sure don’t see in most small homes. Love it! Just an all around super smart layout and design. Thanks for sharing this with us! Very inspiring!

  • Bill from Boomhower, Texas
    February 26, 2014, 11:51 pm

    My wife is interested in this concept. We have one 40 footer now, on railroad ties, in the back yard for storage. It is kind of a Ford blue, with a white top, and a light grey interrior, but is hot as Hell on mild days. I believe a metal carport roof a couple of feet above, would help with that problem for my situation.
    I’m curious about how you keep it from rusting etc, from being buried. If I could overcome that, I’d like to try something like that, to keep stationary during a tornado, and to help keep stable temperatures inside. We’ve talked and thought about doing something similar for a long time, but I was thinking more about having two, blocked high enough to back a truck up to the open end, with a small dock, and maybe 14′ apart, with a metal carport roof over all of it, so I could park a truck and fifth wheel between them. What you have with the round top windows and inside paneling looks cute, and should appeal to the Mrs. How do you waterproof the buried part?

    • Larry
      April 17, 2014, 10:49 am

      I used spray foam on the outside for a sealer and insulator, but you can simply use brush on water sealer just like they use for basement walls. You can get that at any hardware store. It is a tar like substance and come in either 5 gal or 1 gal buckets.

        February 1, 2019, 11:47 am


  • Mary
    June 26, 2014, 10:55 pm

    I love this concept and it is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. Love the layout also.

  • Amy
    September 9, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Love the concept, and the construction plan is very well-thought out and executed. The only problem is that the decor is dated and simply hideous. To each his own.

  • Liz
    October 17, 2014, 11:32 am

    Can I please have this for my birthday? Man, what a GREAT home. Not house; home!!

  • Susie M
    October 18, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Very Impressive work!! Obviously a lot of thought and planning went into this before delivery and cutting began. This is the first one I’ve seen to use arches for structural integrity. Nice simple layout, and when you look at it from the front – it actually looks ‘normal’ enough so that any neighbors that have a view of it, shouldn’t be offended enough to complain. Let’s face it – that can be a huge deal in living peaceably – even on your own land.
    That it was built for only 35k is amazing, and off grid too – yet it is so spacious – like a regular house! not a Mc Mansion, but a down to earth, regular home – when you look at the basic structure and how well everything is done – the resale value has to be a definite plus on the return on investment scale – but if it were mine – I think I would be staying put – I do wish people would look past what are obviously personal touches, like decorating – of course everyone would decorate differently – that’s what makes us all unique – is that really the point of sharing these home? to pick apart the decorating? Come on people – get real – if you want to do that – get a subscription to Better Home and Gardens already! Look at the bigger picture here – geesh!!!
    Awesome job Larry! thank you for sharing your unique approach to living in a home that you built yourself – and for opening our eyes and minds to a new approach to container living – it’s stunning!

  • Sandi B
    October 18, 2014, 9:55 pm

    He did a great job — I have looked into using containers for a home and think it is a great cost effective idea. I have to say and would make it one bedroom with a large walk in closet, the living room would be smaller and the kitchen bigger with way more counter space, but really like the pantry, but would have more of a U shape and narrower shelves so as not to have to climb into the shelf to get stuff at the back. While he put an insulating material on the outside I think I would insulate all the interior outside walls — it does not look like he did this with this build. I am of course looking at full time living and not just using such a structure as a cabin get-away. Again, a great job good ideas (really like the bathroom sink cabinet idea – very cost effective and doable anywhere). Kidos and thanks for sharing!!

    • Containerhomeforum
      December 12, 2014, 4:14 pm

      Sandi, I am working on some designs like that, When you insulate the insides, you actually will have even less room inside depending on what kind you decide to use.

      I am in the process of building one myself and current debating whether to spray outside or inside..or both..

      The design you were thinking about living in, was that a 20′ container or a 40′?

  • Sandi B
    October 18, 2014, 9:58 pm

    oops, meant Kudos — broken arm and poor typing

  • Glen
    October 19, 2014, 7:45 am

    There are some fabulous homes that have been made using shipping containers. This is not one of them. Yuck.

  • Roger
    October 31, 2014, 6:37 pm

    The blog has been removed with all the instructions. Where can I find those now?

    • Larry
      December 9, 2014, 8:30 pm

      I deleted the blog but then regretted and was able to republish most of it, but I lost a lot of content Q’s & A’S, but hopefully the pictures will still be of value.

      • Alex
        December 10, 2014, 10:40 am

        Thanks for bringing it back, Larry!

  • Lisa
    November 4, 2014, 4:25 pm

    I would love to permanently live in the house that Larry built from the two containers. Kudos to you Larry as you did a superb job. Would love to see the blog.

  • Laney
    February 18, 2015, 8:22 pm

    nice job, I love shipping container homes. I actually have a 16′ x 20′ cabin I’m working on and living in. I have a shipping container for storage, a 40′, I don’t like living with clutter so this works perfectly. I keep everything in there; extra clothes, tools, an office, work bench for my crafts, riding lawn mower and numerous other things. Enjoy your home, it’s awesome!

  • susan
    March 23, 2015, 10:32 am

    Not my decorating style, but absolutely love the lay out, AND actually showing how he got from A to Z. Great Job!

  • Betty
    October 23, 2017, 12:33 pm

    Love the layout, but the decor is not my favorite. 😞

  • Carrie Gronewald
    August 22, 2019, 4:27 pm

    I love the entire project from start to finish. I also love the antique and rustic decor. One of the few interior designs that has the look and feel of a rustic cabin. I definitely could live off grid here!

  • Laurie
    November 18, 2019, 6:08 pm

    I would like to do a container home but we live in a temperate rain forest where we have a lot of moisture problems, as well as a colder climate. My husband is convinced that a container home would ‘sweat’ and have a lot of mold/moisture problems. Can anyone tell me if this is true?
    Thank you.

  • JimBob
    November 18, 2019, 6:15 pm

    The industrial designer Raymond Loewy once said “nothing is worse than a bad idea done well”
    so where most of us come from this is called, um . . . . a “doublewide”.
    however – fairly well done ! :/

  • Sue Zaple
    November 26, 2019, 11:04 pm

    i love everything about this shipping container tiny house

  • Rhonda
    February 16, 2020, 7:21 pm

    Wow! awesome job inside and out. Thanks for the ideas!

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