Named after a San Francisco sculptor who could not afford a permanent place to live in her expensive city, the Sarah House Project in Salt Lake City, Utah is one man’s attempt to build an affordable home out of castoff shipping containers.
Sara Putnam, (the “h” for the project had already been added to a banner advertising the building) who recently died from cancer was living at an artists’ colony at the Hunter Point Naval Shipyards — where she wasn’t supposed to be sleeping. Her friend, Jeffrey White is building a 672 square foot home out of two 8×40-foot shipping containers. While visiting the Naval shipyards one night, White noticed dock workers unloading containers and thought about turning the big metal boxes into homes. The Sarah House Project has been funded by grants, donations and money raised by Jeffrey’s custom made funeral urns. He said in a recent Salt Lake City news report that his small, custom urns take up less space below ground, just as he hopes his home will take up less ground — above the ground.
The home will have a combination living room, dining and kitchen, a bathroom and bedroom and a day room. Jeffrey had originally put a 40-foot container on his driveway and started converting it into a house, but ran into trouble with city officials. Now the home is being built on some land procured by a local nonprofit, the Crossroads Urban Center, and when completed, will be sold to a low income family or couple.
Jeffrey estimates the cost of the project, including the land, at $108,000 – $115,000. This, he says, is close to the cost of a conventional home and is higher than he expected, but White hopes he’ll be able to bring those numbers down in future.
“I would love this house to come somewhere in the $60,000 – $75,000 range,” White said.
Photos courtesy of the Sarah House Project
Not that I’m looking to move to a tropical island anytime soon, but when winter comes along…sometimes it’s nice to dream about becoming an expat in paradise. Instead of dreaming, this is what Nate Olive of Atlanta did. After a few life changes, he moved to the beautiful island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, met an equally beautiful woman and opened up a sustainable farm and restaurant.
Nate and his wife, Shelly, also live in an interesting small home they’ve dubbed the Cozy Shack. In this episode of Ex-Pats by the Reserve Channel, the host mostly discusses Nate’s reason for becoming an expat, but the location and Nate’s home really caught my attention. Continue Reading »
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 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 »