My Home in a Box

by Christina Nellemann on August 27th, 2012. 22 Comments

Despite several controversial issues with using shipping containers as homes, there are still many people who are interested in converting the ubiquitous metal structures into their own tiny house. My Home In a Box is a blog dedicated to shipping containers and how they can be used as the basis for a small or tiny home. With its various photos, videos, information on exterior and interior design, the blog is a great reference.

The blog covers building with both 20 foot and 40 foot containers, information on insulation, alternative energy, heating and cooling and interior and exterior ideas. The owner of the blog, Dean, has also designed his own conceptual off-grid shipping container home with a composting toilet, a living room with a hidden bed, water storage, a solar panel and wind turbine and a hot water heater on the roof. The design also has a two drawbridge sides that become decks, an aquaponics system and the ability to store up to 6 months worth of food. Continue Reading »

Designboom’s Container Office

by Christina Nellemann on July 30th, 2012. 21 Comments

Designboom is a publication and blog that focuses on design, architecture, art, photography and graphics. Their main offices are located in Milan, Italy, but for the hot summer months, the crew of Designboom recently moved their offices into a series of cargo containers on the island of Sardinia. Their DIY adventure was profiled in a recent post on their website and the results are a beautiful representation of relaxed, sustainable living (and working) on a desert island in the Mediterranean.

The government of Sardinia has adopted some strict criteria for building permits on the island to curb overbuilding. However, one way to get around the long permit waiting period is by using temporary or modular structures as housing. Designboom purchased three used cargo containers and crane-lifted them onto natural stone pavement since the team did not want to use any concrete in the construction. The outdoor flooring is made from local stone and dry set with sand and mortar. The containers are placed at 90 degree angles to each other so that their external doors can be latched together to protect the dining area from the ocean winds. Continue Reading »

Livin’ Large, Living Tiny

by Kent Griswold on March 9th, 2012. 33 Comments

Guest Post by R Blank (this is a repost from his original blog)

My wife and I have now been living tiny for several months. For those who don’t know, tiny homes (living units under roughly 200sq’) have become increasingly popular in the past couple of years. When we researched many options for different types of tiny homes, we found a lot of information — but very few first-person accounts of the experience.

And, after all, that’s what tiny living actually involves — a fundamental shift in thinking about consumption and space utilization — the rest (what type of tiny home, whether its mobile, how its built, etc) is all just details.

Our Shipping Container from LEED Cabins, in Place, with the Completed Porch and Privacy Fence

Given the increasing popularity of tiny homes I thought it might be valuable to someone out there considering the same to read some of my thoughts on what this experience has been like for us.

In our case, this isn’t a tiny home, so much as a my home-office. But we decided to place this small office structure on the land first, before building our home. Our land is 30 miles away from the nearest town (where ‘town’ is quite loosely defined; we’re literally 20 miles away from the nearest service at all, which is our post office), which makes development quite challenging. So we started small, so we could establish a base of operations without too much trouble (that it took us a year to even get this far, is an entirely separate story). Continue Reading »

Cargotecture by HyBrid Architecture

by Christina Nellemann on June 13th, 2011. 26 Comments

Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park, Calif. was held at the beginning of June, and one of the stars of the show was the cargotecture c-series Sunset Idea House by HyBrid Architecture. The c-series represents a group of pre-designed, factory built units made from recycled cargo containers that can be combined or customized as desired by the owner.

Hybrid coined the term cargotecture to describe any structure built partially or entirely from recycled cargo containers. The c-series consists of five models ranging in price from $29,500 to $189,500. The home featured at the Sunset show was the c192 nomad which costs $59,500.

The prices of the c-series include:

  • Recycled ISO cargo container with new paint
  • Soy based spray foam insulation
  • Aluminum clad wood windows and doors (one 10 feet long opening and one side door)
  • Bamboo finish floor
  • 5/8 inch drywall ceiling and walls
  • Panelized wet room bath with redwood decking.
  • Duravit bath fixtures
  • IKEA cabinets and kitchen fixtures and lighting
  • Summit appliances
  • 30 gallon electric water heater (gas if available on site)
  • Convectair Apero heat
  • Factory plans, State L&I permits and inspections

Green and off-grid options are offered including solar panels, composting toilets and “green machine” sewage treatment and roofwater harvesting.

All the models are insulated about 15 percent above IBC and UBC building codes in the floors, walls and roofs. The building can be placed in cold climates as well as moderate to hot climates. The recycled plastic and soy sprayed-in insulation creates R24 walls, R44 ceilings, and R32 floors. The roofs can handle 60psf snow loads.

The HyBrid homes are shipped complete. A local contractor will need to be arranged for electrical and sewage hook-ups as well as foundation work. In many jurisdictions, if your project is less than 200sf there is no permitting process required. HyBrid has completed residential and commercial cargotecture projects in California, Oregon and Washington and has designed over 20 projects on 5 continents. They will ship their cargotecture homes worldwide. Continue Reading »