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Top 10 Shipping Container Tiny Houses

This is our top 10 shipping container tiny houses. When it comes to tiny 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 as long as you convert it correctly.

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.

Top 10 Shipping Container Tiny Homes

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.

40-Foot Cargo Shipping Container Converted to Home with Slide Outs

40 Foot Cargo Shipping Container Converted to Home with Slide Outs 40 Foot Cargo Shipping Container Converted to Home with Slide Outs

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.

LEED Cabins Shipping Container to Home Conversions LEED Cabins Shipping Container to Home Conversions LEED Cabins Shipping Container to Home Conversions

Don’t miss the dog resting and of course the beautiful little kitchen.

Check out container #3 below:

Container number three is the Instant Build House and you can read more and even see more pictures of it over at Jetson Green’s post on it.

Shipping Container Tiny Home

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 soldiers 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.

Shipping Container Turned Lakeside Cabin Retreat

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.

Cordell House Shipping Container Home

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.

Cordell House - Shipping Container Home for a Family

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.

Please 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.

The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture

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 outdoor space to enjoy.

The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid ArchitectureThe Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture

This 24′ container home is designed to sleep up to four people comfortably.

The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture The Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid ArchitectureThe Nomad Shipping Container Tiny House by HyBrid Architecture

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.

Artist Community Container Studio Photo 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 rooftop garden as well.

Artist Community Container Studio Photo by Chris Cooper Artist Community Container Studio Photo by Chris Cooper

For more information and photos visit the original post over at Dwell. Photos are credited to the amazing Chris Cooper.

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 that it has small windows and the larger ones can be completely enclosed to make it very challenging for a burglar to get into.

Tiny Secure Container Home by SoftStainless Tiny Secure Container Home by SoftStainless Tiny Secure Container Home by SoftStainless Tiny Secure Container Home by SoftStainless

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.

Costa Rica's Container Homes by JimmyCosta Rica's Container Homes by Jimmy Costa Rica's Container Homes by JimmyCosta Rica's Container Homes by Jimmy Costa Rica's Container Homes by JimmyCosta Rica's Container Homes by Jimmy

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.

PFNC's Tiny Shipping Container Home PFNC's Tiny Shipping Container Home PFNC's Tiny Shipping Container Home

Below you can enjoy a video walkthrough 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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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!
{ 74 comments… add one }
  • jparkes
    July 11, 2012, 11:21 am

    Container homes are absolutely fascinating in configuration and how clever some of the designers are. Building with blocks for the big boys, it’s a timeless fascination for us…
    I have so many ideas i don’t know if i’ll ever have the time to draw them all. I like the idea of using two or more containers to create outdoor spaces between them, then covering the entirety with a giant over-roof…giving one only a couple hundred sq. ft. of enclosed living space, but a couple thousand sq. ft. of open outdoor covered living space…it’s and environmentally, and inexpensive way to marry modern/large living spaces and the tiny house movement while still being environmentally friendly.

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:11 pm

      Hey Jparkes- love that idea on dividing two containers or even two tiny houses on trailers with some outdoor space. I’ve put a lot of thought and even some sketching towards that. One tiny house for living and the other as my office. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dominick Bundy
    July 11, 2012, 11:51 am

    I like the concept of these being used as housing.. But I’m concerned of one tiny glitch.. I would image they would be a strong draw towards lighting. (all that outside metal) One can only wonder what it would be like being in one during some ass kicking thunder and lightning storm. Dominick.

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:12 pm

      Good point!

    • John Duncan
      July 14, 2012, 2:03 am

      All you need to do is ground the unit to a rod in the ground and insulate the floor. I think they all have wooden floors, but not sure.

      • Bruce Whitfield
        April 18, 2014, 5:06 pm

        No problems with container houses during lightning, the metal enclosure acts as a Faraday shield and any lightning strike will flow around the container and down to ground…helped of course by a driven earth stake that’s heavily bonded electrically to the container. But regardless you are very safe..just as you are in an aircraft that gets hit with lightning.
        The only time that you place yourself in serious danger is if you step outside, during a storm. & then you can become a possible the target for the lightning strike.

        • Ian
          May 2, 2014, 6:58 pm

          What about heat from the sun?! some deranged politician thought it was a good idea to send these metal boxes to Haiti where I’m from, as an economic alternative to a housing project, a tropical country with sunshine and high temperature year around, Who thought of these things an evil genius or someone really dumb.

        • R. K. MacPherson
          May 16, 2014, 8:59 pm

          Actually, I lived in a converted shipping container in Iraq. Properly insulated, it didn’t get warmer than any other structure and it was very economical to cool with an air conditioner.

          They make surprisingly good housing.

  • Dusti
    July 11, 2012, 12:01 pm

    I liked them all, but the one with the red bathroom, blew me away. I would love to have the money to buy one empty and design it myself. These are great and on a piece of land where you could catch the sunsets would be lovely. Having two containers would also give ideas to open space and covered space in other areas. Are there any containers people live in Illinois, so I could get some ideas from them?

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Hey Dusti not sure about Illinois container homes, I’m sure there are some out there but don’t know where exactly. I thought #7 was great, too very well done. Thanks Dusti!

  • Zanab
    July 11, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Hello Alex!
    You found some really breathtaking ones this go around! Yes, I love #4 too! Really so many good ideas overall but I have to say, whoever thought up putting a toilet behind a glass, see through wall was a strange bloke! Ewwwww! And facing the kitchen no less! LOL!
    Okay enough of me but really, thanks Alex! 🙂

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:15 pm

      Thanks Zanab, hahaha, it’s funny I thought the same exact thing on that one about the bathroom. I was like, “man, if you live here with a family it’s gotta be a close one.” They could’ve at least stained the glass or something LOL. Other than that, it’s GREAT.

  • Dixie Hacker Hurley
    July 11, 2012, 1:23 pm

    These little homes are not quite my style that I’d love to have, but I love them all the same, for the tiny size of them. That in itself would be perfect for me. I’m disabled an no longer can handle the tasks of the normal larger size homes, but I do not need to go into a nursing home, for many more years yet I hope. An my wish , my dream is or something tiny I can handle, that is mine, an that is more a home than a rented apartment. the thing is because I’m on disability an can no longer work I also have an extreamly limited income, most of which goes for my medications, that I must have.
    These containers are a neat idea!

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:16 pm

      Thanks Dixie! Glad you liked all of these ideas here. I’m wishing you wellness.

  • John Mauldin
    July 11, 2012, 1:53 pm

    You really outdid yourself on this one. This is by far one of the most complete and compelling articles I have ever seen in one writing anywhere. I have been involved in the storage container industry indirectly for many years, using them frequently as offices, storage, weekend retreats, etc. And right now, more than ever before, the cost of these containers are at an all time low. China has a huge surplus whereas just three years ago, they were very difficult to obtain at a fair price. In the far east, I have actually seen these used in huge apt. complexes and are also used in labor camps for migrant workers. One important point, if you stack these, which is often done, an additional support structure MUST be added if there are any alterations to the containers, e.g.: windows, doors, etc. This is because each container is designed using a kind of “uni-body” construction. The top, bottom and sides are all integrated into one unit. Any alteration to the structure causes dramatic impact on the other walls. And, of course, no one wants to be trapped inside a crushed “can”. These containers are designed to float, to be water tight, to lock up securely and to break into them is no small task. Overall, containers are a wonderful and underused way to create living spaces. Keep up the good work, Alex!

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much John! Hope you’re doing great!

  • Evan
    July 11, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I like the ingenuity of the MDU..

    I don’t care for number 2, think if your gonna build a container home it ought to have a kitchen designed for it rather than trying to mirror what one would find in a standard house.

    4 I like. The rooftop deck, the french doors opening upon the deck, very woodsy and rugged, yet something I could talk the wife into for a weekend getaway.

    5 Despite the size, only thing I wouldn’t do is raise the ceiling height for heating and cooling purposes. I like it, to big, but still nice.

    6 looks cool, but way – way to much money. We have a two-story house in Pensacola, Fl that cost less. You can write hybrid on anything, but for that much $ it should have more than plywood over the stove. How much profit does one need to make?

    7 only thing I don’t like about it is the carpet in the bathroom. I love the rooftop gardens, large windows, the deck, etc. Really thought inspiring.

    8 Really like the porch/sitting area behind the doors. If security was my thought on this I’d remove the windows and opt for skylights. I’d also find a way to heat and cook that didn’t require a chimney. More it looks like any other container the safer it’s contents would be.

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:19 pm

      Thanks so much Evan I loved your highlights/points.

    • Roseann
      July 19, 2012, 10:52 pm

      #1 A little too futuristic for my tastes. I’d prefer something with a little more old-world charm.

      #2 This bothers me as well. Especially in such a small space, every square inch should be utilized. The kick space underneath the cabinets could easily be converted into drawers for dog treats, linens, hats and mittens, etc.

      #3 I like windows. Windows are cool. Moving on.

      #4 Neat. It’s rustic while still being homey. Maybe not the best for a permanent residence, but I could see myself escaping to here for the weekend.

      #5 FAR too big for my tastes, but I do like the idea of piecing a few containers together for more space.

      #6 Right up my alley. Loving the glass shower but not the price. Pure highway robbery in my opinion.

      #7 Meh. The amount of glass kind of freaks me out, if only for privacy reasons. The rooftop garden is excellent and I’m in love with the bathroom. Bold but still tasteful.

      #8 I’m a sucker for any residence that incorporates a wood stove. However, the lack of interior insulation is a huge problem. Whoever lives in this is going to fry in the summer if they don’t freeze to death beforehand.

      #9 I would like to appreciate this but it too has some major flaws. The visible cable is the first part. Instead of one cable square in the middle of the porch, use one on each side. Keeps the kids from tripping over it and adds to the aesthetic appeal. Secondly, it’s not really a “hidden” safe if you show someone where it is. 😛 And the “standard” kitchen is missing something for storing food and something for cooking food.

      #10 Just because someone lives in a box doesn’t mean they want to feel like it. Windows would be great. Also, there’s a lot of wasted space in this place.

      Overall, I’m really glad to see people utilizing these containers in such a way. Improvements can be made but this is a big step on the path to sustainable living.

  • Carl in SC
    July 11, 2012, 2:17 pm

    I love how these containers can be modified to suit the owner, depending on the budget. Obviously I’m struck by the first model with eight slide-outs which increases the floor space when parked although it would be very costly to build.
    Unless someone needs portability I think putting 2 or units together such as in the Cordell house is more practical.
    The ISBU model in Costa Rica has one side wall that lets down to become a deck and I love that.

    For quite some time though I have wondered about whether some group could purchase cheaply or have donated several containers of various sizes to convert into homes for the needy in Haiti who are still living in tents. These would be sturdy and should survive hurricanes and earthquakes much better than most other structures. More durable than FEMA trailers.

    • Alex
      July 11, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Great points, Carl. I also love the ISBU Costa Rica one for the same reason.. I think the flip down porch is so cool and allows you to close it all up if you want to leave for a period of time and keep your stuff/home more safe/secure.

      Great idea for Haiti. I hear of some organizations building cement homes for families out there for around $4,000. Pretty cool. I wonder if the containers would cost less. I know they’d be bigger, though, in most cases.

  • Alex
    July 11, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Thanks Mili! So glad you were able to find more info on that one!

  • Alex
    July 11, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Cool! Thanks again Mili!

  • Alex
    July 11, 2012, 3:24 pm

    Thanks, Ted, no- I hadn’t seen it- glad you shared! I’ll post it in the comments over on that post so others can see it there too.

  • Ryan
    July 11, 2012, 5:37 pm

    9 was my fave wish i could get one.

    • Alex
      July 12, 2012, 5:00 pm

      Thanks, Ryan! I like 9 too, and it’s reasonably priced too. Have a good one!

  • Del Jack
    July 11, 2012, 8:26 pm

    Haiti has a lot of limestone and a lot of people making “Bloc” in backyards. The cost of a container is not as affordable as making a few bloc at a time.

    I like the design possibilities of 2 containers with space in between. Roofing over gets you a space with 2 sides walled in and the opportunity to insulate your entire roof. Some of these containers must be insulated right? No hay bales for sure.

    • Alex
      July 12, 2012, 5:01 pm

      Thanks Del Jack!

      Some are insulated but many are not. There are ones used for frozen/refrigerated goods and of course those are the ones that are insulated but it can fairly easily be done I think.

      One of the most challenging parts must be cutting out windows/doors, right? Thanks again!

      • Tom
        June 24, 2014, 10:46 am

        I’m building a bigger and more complicated container house in the Caribbean (two 20 foot containers below with an open space between and one 40 foot high cube above with lots of deck using recycled steel frame). My welder cuts out the window/door spaces with a metal grinding wheel (cutting torch will heat and warp the metal too much). As someone mentioned, the openings need framing to maintain the container’s structural integrity. The structure has bolts imbedded into concrete footings and is welded together to resist hurricanes and earthquakes.

    • Bill McDonald
      July 15, 2012, 3:42 pm

      Here is a guy out in the Texas desert doing something similar, re: containers, roof etc.


      My apologies if he has already been featured here on the site.

  • M. Mills
    July 12, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Love them all!

    • Alex
      July 12, 2012, 5:02 pm

      Glad you liked them and thanks for your comment!

  • Venera
    July 12, 2012, 7:48 pm

    I rather like the ideas for container housing. What I need is a home that is electric wheelchair (and associated medical equipment) friendly. With an inability to use lofts, the need for a handicapped friendly shower and bathroom. turning radius issues of the chair and widened door/hall openings the housing I need probably won’t fit in the “tiny” range. Shoving a bed into a corner won’t work either as you cannot get the wheelchair between the bed and the corner to make the bed. I’m trying to determine the balance between space enough to move around effectively and comfortably without a lot of unneeded space. Does anyone have any leads on something like this. Those of us needing this type of housing often are trying to live on disability and cannot afford a “full sized” house.

    • Alex
      July 19, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Hi Venera this is a great point and something that should be addressed more. I’ll see about starting some research on the subject. Thank you!

    • Keith G
      August 26, 2013, 3:47 pm

      Venera, I think you are right, that most of the so-called tiny houses would be too small. In concept though there’s no reason an assemblage of containers couldn’t be fabricated into an effective “accessible” solution. I’m not aware of any that specifically do this but there’s bound to be some. There are certainly various modular solutions out there besides container houses as well.

      But perhaps another idea, just about the smallest you could go, is the 400 sf Park Model type of RV. More more like a house than an RV, these offer the advantage of being factory-built and inspected, which in turn, if your zoning regs allow it, means that the local inspectors most only inspect site prep and utility hookups. Here’s one model made by a division of Forest River, which is one of the best RV manufacturers out there, that is fully “handicapped-accessible” that’s really exciting to see. I’m sure there are more out there that I don’t know about.

      (Link Expired: forestriverinc.com/parkmodels/Cabins/default.aspx?model=logs&page=floorplandetails&floorplanid=71&RVType=PRK)


  • Ivn
    July 13, 2012, 9:27 am

    I like all of these container houses, but no.7 is my favorit. In future I see one like that for me and my vife w1hen kids will be adults and had their family. I’m great fan of living small idea and I’m very happy to see that movement is spreading.
    Thumbs up for comment of evan@!

  • Catherine Wilson
    July 13, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Hi Alex
    I always look forward to your newsletters, but on this one you outdid yourself!!! Finally, an option I can use that looks good, but doesn’t require me to build the entire exterior structure. I just love seeing how people can have such ingenious ideas in their use of space!! I love small homes simply for the necessity of a vivid imagination!
    As for number six, I understand exactly why the bathroom wall is made of glass. This house is designed to not feel claustrophobic. Plenty of light and great sight-lines. Also, positioning the bath and kitchen next to each other like this wastes less space and concentrates plumbing lines. (That hallway has three or four purposes.) You could always put some “fake” stained glass over strategic places on the glass wall!!
    Thanks a lot.

  • jasmine duffy
    January 4, 2013, 8:24 pm

    hi i want to build a bigger house that includes 4 containers one set would be on top so i could have a second story and a built in deck with the 3rd on if a small car would fit nicely in a wider container but stay the same length i would only need 3 instead of 4 i want to be able to afford a house without a morgage and i have some friends that in contruction to get things up to code inside so it would be a nice house

  • Stacey
    February 20, 2013, 7:28 am

    These are incredible! Great informative letter!
    One question…how much do these things weigh prior to alteration?

  • Rocky Perkins
    February 25, 2013, 10:21 am

    I love reading about your posts/projects. Keep them coming. I have been traveling so I can’t download much (spotty 4G coverage in US). Thanks for sharing Alex

  • George Branch
    May 21, 2013, 10:22 pm

    That’s beyond great! I’d love to have that house, wether it’s made out of containers or not. Superlative architecture!

  • Emma
    June 12, 2013, 2:36 am

    I absolutely love this idea. I didn’t even know this existed! Is this just a “save the environment” or a “save money” thing? It looks really cool though, if I had to live in something like this I would try to make it as enjoyable as I possibly could 🙂

  • Ruth Vallejos
    July 18, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Hey there – I couldn’t find a link to the next container house, just saw the red one. I’m probably looking right past it. Help!

  • Kim Stewart
    August 12, 2013, 11:21 am

    I have the same problem as Ruth. I only can see the red container house but can’t find the other 9. Help too!

  • Joel
    August 15, 2013, 9:18 am

    How do you go about finding and getting a shipping container?

  • Keith G.
    August 26, 2013, 4:15 pm

    A lot of great observations here! Regarding #2, I don’t know why there are so many negative comments on this one. I actually quite like it, as its rather spartan but elegant. In any of these, I don’t think I’d do mine exactly as shown, but it does get the ideas flowing. To set reasonable expectations though, I’m not sure where the $17,000 figure came from, as the lowest figure quoted on the LEED Cabins site is “low 20’s.” still, not bad at all considering these come with insulation, heater and water heater, bamboo flooring, some fixtures and appliances, move-in ready.

    And to those who say that #5 is way too big, let me remind you that it’s still only 1,120 sf. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,700 square feet in 2009, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970. ( From Infoplease.com). These are astounding numbers when you start to look closely at actual needs. So even this house is way more modest than most others out there.

  • Dawn
    September 4, 2013, 12:46 am

    Everyone says how cool they are, but you have to own property…you just can’t plop these down on some prime oceanfront property or in the woods somewhere, in that way it is misleading…also the cost 17k to start and then all your creature comforts inside like flooring, insulation, lofts, kitchen, toilet and bath, electrical, heating and cooling…it’s all nice but dreamland.

  • Jay B.
    September 6, 2013, 7:12 am

    Number 4 is my favorite as well, seems like perfect weekend getaway, the location is great. It immediately caught my eye because of the the little terrace on the roof.

    Container houses are trendy, no doubt, and that is why they get so much coverage in the design world. They are rather cheap, I think you can get some of them for about $1,000, and easily accessible…Docks are full of empty ones everywhere you look. But it´s a bit restricted living space for my taste. Also, I would be afraid of all those chemicals they use for coating and floors to make it durable.

  • McMansion-Lite
    November 6, 2013, 9:21 pm

    $60,000 for a 192 square foot container house. That really sums up the “conspicuous anti-consumption” silliness that underlies the bulk of the “tiny house” cult.

    If you want to be taken seriously by thinking people, stop promoting nonsense of that sort.

    • JS
      April 9, 2014, 6:33 pm

      I agree 100%, except to not be rhetorical, I’d have to know how many are authentic vs. like this. I had my first duh moment when I saw Jay Shafer’s price estimates.

      The initial point is affordable shelter. Then we go up from there, not down from the penthouse.

  • jo
    November 20, 2013, 12:16 am

    These are nice homes but you could buy a nice mobile home cheaper than some of these- the only difference is a mobile home has wheels. I don’t see why everyone is making such a fuss over these container homes, for 60,000 dollars you could buy one hell of a mobile home loaded with all the extra’s.

    • Chris
      May 15, 2014, 3:45 pm

      I feel you really, but the thing is… Mobile homes break down, the stuff is not really made to last. The containers, are made to last and withstand Mother Nature. Plus, the images above are simple designs, you can get a lot of space of out 3x containers (3120ft). You can even lower the price if you do some of the work yourself. In VA, I just have to get the blue prints and codes with a VA Seal. Then bam, I can build myself…. I feel the money pit will be in the foundation…

  • gail poulton
    December 2, 2013, 11:56 am

    amazing how the price of any of the small homes becomes un-affordable the minute they are built in the US or Canada. Actually nauseates me. something that is very reasonable elsewhere in the world becomes ridiculously prices and “trendy”. I have been looking at small houses for several years now, but the price has put me off… 500 sq ft or less should be far less than 50 thousand and that is with the services needed installed on a city lot. In Victoria and Vancouver BC, Canada, they are building them and they start at 100 thousand.. not affordable anymore, when they are meant to be in-fill housing or granny homes.

    • Meeh
      December 11, 2013, 9:58 pm

      This “trendy” stuff is marketed to make money, and the markup reflects that. Ditto the “eco” BS.
      ISOs are terrific for DIY, industrial, and military use. Also, FFS why don’t serious people use High Cubes instead of equally expensive 40′ standards or even worse, the tiny 20s? Much love for containers properly used, but they don’t offer much to people building boutique homes except being trendy.
      If you are interested in ISOs, do your homework and visit sites where people post who mod them for a living such as welding forums. Also visit commercial container custom builders. Ignore almost all the fancy stuff UNTIL you know how it’s made and can make an informed choice!

  • Mary
    February 13, 2014, 10:09 am

    I had a boss purchase a used 40ft container for $3500. He used it for storage, but if you do a lot of the interior work yourself, you can probably fix up the interior for a little more than the container cost. So, you end up with a custom 320 sq. ft. home for less than $10,000.

  • JS
    April 9, 2014, 5:49 pm

    There’s a business in my community not mentioned here that builds-out livable storage containers.

    My visit to them was interesting, but ironically they didn’t know the local building codes, particularly regarding whether or not they require foundations. Anyone happen to know what is standard in that regard?

    I think he said they don’t need them structurally, but ordinances may require them. It seems like a strong selling point.

    The only hint I got is that they don’t mortgage. Otherwise you’d just need hook-ups, like an RV.

  • Craig Browning
    May 15, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Has anyone Built something like these, but added Wheels/Axles such as on a more traditional Tiny House? Also Roofs for Sleeping Lofts, Etc. Also Insulating Walls (climate and Soundproofing) and the like.

  • Robin N Stokes
    May 31, 2014, 11:16 pm

    I would love to get more info on building one in Atlantic Beach, NC. I have a lot I own but wonder if they would allow them on the island. My problem is I have to have a king size bed. I own 2 cargo/shipping containers at my home for storage. Who came up with the idea of the container in the beginning? Was it Malcolm McLean? I call mine my Malcolm McLean designed storage building because he was born in NC close to where I grew up. Would love lots of info. Thanks rns

  • Marion Barnhill
    June 11, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Can these be financed? One of the non-profits in our area built one and has a buyer but he can’t get financed.

    Any thoughts?

  • Jeff Jonz
    June 24, 2014, 6:34 pm

    Keys to remember:

    – Building with shipping containers is not at “cheaper” alternative
    – You should only decide to work with containers because you really want them, not because you think you will save money or have an easier time with your project. Containers take massive (sometimes expensive) renovations to make into livable structures
    – Containers have to be shipped and “craned” into place, so add around $5000-$8000 each for shipping and crane expenses
    – They are metal structures and metal structures tend to be much noisier
    – They tend to be very thin and narrow for residential purposes

    The bottom line is, don’t build with containers unless you really want to. The supposed savings will be eaten by other expenses renovating the containers and shipping them to the site. Consider other cheaper “green” materials if inexpensive and environmentally friendly construction is your purpose.

  • Glen
    October 19, 2014, 8:09 am

    Quite a mix of innovative and bland container homes. None appear to be equipped to collect rainwater. Why is that I wonder? .

  • Donna Tripp
    March 15, 2015, 8:29 pm

    I am wanting a container house made with 3 of the 20′ containers. Making it 20 x24′. That is 480 sq. ft. I am a widow and would need someone who could build it for me. How do I find someone to help me?

  • April 10, 2015, 9:18 am

    I’ve just reposted this on /r/cargotechture and containerist.com user forums. 3 years old and still very much relevant & inspiring. How did you round up so many great projects?! Looking forward to more.

  • Paul Kahler
    May 6, 2015, 1:43 am

    Check out this tiny container house.

    (Link Expired: vimeo.com/125287037)

    • Alex
      May 6, 2015, 11:26 am

      Awesome! Thanks Paul!

  • Ivan Felipe Morales Garcia
    September 25, 2015, 12:29 am

    I truly love this subject about the containers homes, in fact I am making a blog to spread the word about this Eco-friendly type of buildings. Can you check my article and give me your opinion please? Container Homes NZ(Link Expired: containerhomesnz.com)

  • BrownLuster
    March 23, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Wow really shocked my all-time favorite shipping container home by Nova Dekko didn’t make the cut…

    It’s absolutely beautiful & dreamy….ahhh. I can’t wait to own one.

  • April Cook
    August 30, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I have always wanted a tiny house, and I am loving these shipping container styles. I really like numbers 6 and 7 because of all the windows that they have. I would want a home that opened up to the outdoors easily. This way I would feel like I had more space. I also love the garden that is on the roof. That is a great idea!

  • Dale
    August 23, 2019, 2:47 pm

    These are amazing. I think more people should look into buying shipping containers for modification projects and more. They can be used for absolutely anything. Sheds, outdoor workshops, tiny homes, storage, etc. In Vancouver, BC we sell shipping and storage containers that can be used for a variety of applications. Hats off to the people that built these and great post, Alex!

    November 17, 2019, 12:41 pm

    Do you have catalogs of different designs inside a storage container time house.

  • April 19, 2020, 9:02 am

    Containers are a great base to start off when building a home. Structurally sound and ready for road transport. AND they are sustainable because there are allot of containers that have been used for import but have no use any more after that. Its too costly to send them back to where they came from.

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