Five Examples of Shipping Container Homes

Tiny-House-Building-SystemsBy Christine Walsh

Compliments: Jetson Green

A home made of shipping containers can be as big or as small as you want it to be. And if you have the desire to downsize to a tiny house, a shipping container lends itself very well to the purpose. With the right type of insulation, flooring, and perhaps choosing one of the high cube containers, which has a higher ceiling, such a tiny home can be quite cozy indeed. Below you will find the top 5 shipping container homes made from a single unit, which can easily be called tiny homes.

1. Tiny Homes Made by New Generation Builders

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The Florida-based company, New Generation Builders, specializes in transforming recycled 8 by 20-foot shipping containers into tiny homes or offices. They built the home pictured above for a North Carolina couple. It is made from a single 8 by 20-foot shipping container, and it is equipped with a full kitchen, and a bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower and toilet. The bathroom is located at one end of the shipping container and separated from the main living area by a 30-inch pocket door. The rest of the shipping container is taken up by the main living area (which also doubles as a bedroom) and a fully equipped kitchen. More details

2. Sunset Idea House

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This tiny home was designed and made by Seattle-based company HyBrid. It offers a modest 192 square-foot home, yet with enough room to sleep up to four people. It is made from a used 24-foot shipping container with a galley kitchen, micro bathroom, and large openings, which nicely blend the indoor and outdoor spaces. This home is also solar-powered, which makes it that much more sustainable. More details

3. Tiny Prefab Home Made by InterModal Design

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The company InterModal Design makes sturdy and durable prefabricated homes from used shipping containers that can be shipped almost anywhere in the world. The homes they offer lend themselves well to off-the grid living, and can easily become the main residence, guesthouse, or office space. The units feature a kitchen space, a living room that can double as a bedroom and a full bathroom. More details

4. Ecopods

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The Canadian company Ecopods makes sustainable, fully recycled container homes. Each Ecopod is made from a standard 8’x20’ steel shipping container, and, though primarily designed as a temporary dwelling, one can easily use an Ecopod as a main residence. What’s more, all Ecopods are made to function off the grid. These homes are powered via an 80-watt solar panel and a 12-volt battery, which means that an Ecopod is ready to live in right after it is set up. To extend the livable area of the home, one of the 20-foot sidewalls of the Ecopod can be lowered by 2 hydraulic cylinders, powered by a solar-powered electric winch , to form a sturdy deck. The deck can be raised to secure the Ecopod when leaving the home for a longer period of time. More details

5. ShelterKraft Werks Shipping Container Homes

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The Seattle-based home building company, ShelterKraft Werks, designs affordable homes made of recycled shipping containers. The base unit they offer is the CargoCottage, which is made from a single 8-foot by 20-foot shipping container. The house measures 160 square feet and features a two-person sleeping nook, a bathroom with shower, kitchen, and a dining/living area. The prefab homes they offer can also be fitted with optional, sustainable technologies, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro-generated electric power, as well as rainwater catchment and grey water reclamation systems, composting toilets, green roofs and rooftop garden installations. The units are made using eco-friendly building materials such as low-VOC paints and counter tops made of recycled fibers. More details

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Couple Takes Tiny House On the Road

tiny-house-tiny-homeBy Amelia Robinson

Compliments: Dayton Daily News

Former Centerville resident Jenna Spesard, her boyfriend Guillaume Dutilh and their 1-year-old Australian Shepherd Salies have taken their house on the road.

Yeah, you read correctly.

The couple of two years set off last week in their newly finished, 132-square-foot Tumblewood Cypress home from Shelbyville, Ill., where Spesard’s parents Alan and Rebecca Spesard live.

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At the start of an across the nation road trip, the pair swung by the Cox Media Group Ohio building and showed off the biggest and tiniest example of their new minimalist lifestyle. It took them a year to custom-build the home.

The stop was a homecoming of sorts for Spesard.

The 28-year-old spent her kindergarten to eighth-grade years in Centerville after her family moved here for her father’s job at Mound Industries. She still has friends in the area. Dutilh is originally from Pau in the South of France. He has lived in the U.S. about seven years.

Spesard and Dutilh are hauling their cozy home with a pickup at a maximum of 50 miles per hour.

They will travel the nation and Canada indefinitely, making upcoming stops in Boston; New York; and Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

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The couple say a growing number of people are rejecting large homes and joining the tiny house movement.

“What we want to do is travel and live debt free,” Spesard said. She noted that many people who live in so-called tiny homes live in one place.

The average size of a new single-family house in the nation was 2,392 square feet in 2010, according to the United States Census.

Some tiny house are as small as 80 square feet.

Tiny homes are gaining attention. The new FYI network show Tiny House Nation features small houses and other living spaces.

Dutilh said he and Spesard are going against the grain of a society that pushes student loans and car loans.

“Our idea was to have a more free lifestyle and not be tied down,” the 30-year-old said.

He and Spesard said they were fed up with the cubical life.

The pair abandoned their 2,000 square feet apartments and jobs in Los Angeles.

She worked as an executive assistant at Dream Works Studio. He was was an engineer at Yamaha Motor Corporation.

“We want to live our dream lives,” Jenna Spesard said. “Why not take a risk and create a project around it.”

They spent $25,000 to $30,000 on their home, which they consider a drop in the buck compared to their rent in LA.

“You can make them cheaper,” Dutilh said.

Spesard said she and Dutilh wanted something more homey than a RV.

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Build Your Own Free Tiny House with Shipping Pallets

Tiny-House-Building-SystemsBy Ziggy

Compliments: Green Building Elements

Last week I talked about how to live simply and decrease your carbon footprint living in a tiny house. Even better than buying a tiny house is making your own, and Michael Janzen is blazing a trail with his free tiny pallet house. Not only is his house made out of recycled shipping pallets, it isn’t costing him anything to build. And lucky for us, he’s sharing his plans so you too can build your own tiny free house.

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You can save money, sharpen your DIY skills, and further decrease your environmental impact by following Janzen’s example of building a free pallet house. 

Keep pallets out of landfills

free-pallets-for-tiny-house-buildingHere are some disturbing statistics about shipping pallets:

  • Approximately 40% of all hardwood harvested in the U.S. is for making shipping pallets
  • About two-thirds of pallets are used only once before being thrown out
  • 1/4 of all wood in landfills is from used pallets

You can help prevent deforestation and keep pallets out of landfills by finding creative alternative uses for them, like building a house. Pallets can be found everywhere. Once you start looking for them, you’ll see them scattered all over your town or city.

Contact a local warehouse, supermarket, or any business that receives large shipments, and get permission to pick up their used pallets. Most companies are happy to give their pallets away.

Plans for a free pallet house

Janzen has made plans for building a free pallet house available on his website. These plans are a guide for building what he calls a disaster preparedness and emergency shelter. Janzen says:

As hurricane Gustav plowed across Cuba headed for the gulf coast of the United States memories of Katrina and the potential displacement of thousands got me thinking. I wanted to do something to help. It occurred to me that someone else might find what I now about building with shipping pallets useful in the coming weeks and months.

With some creativity, you may find that shipping pallets can be reappropriated in other ways to build your own free tiny house. For example, I have a friend that has disassembled shipping pallets and used the wood to build roof trusses for his straw bale building.

Ultimately, you can help prevent deforestation and keep pallets out of landfills by using them to build creative housing.

Think tiny and free!

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Tiny house hero Dee Williams on her book tour

tiny-house-tiny-homeBy Janet Eastman

Compliments: The Oregonian

Tiny house hero Dee Williams will talk about the benefits of living simply in a small, efficient space and read from her popular book, “The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir,” on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Vintage Books in Vancouver, Wash.

This stop – which includes a walk inside her 84-square-foot house on wheels – is one of many she has made crisscrossing the country on a book tour intertwined with her ongoing efforts to educate about building, living and enjoying tiny houses.

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The self-taught carpenter and founder of the respected resource center, Portland Alternative Dwellings, has lived in her solar-powered home for more than a decade. She cooks using a single propane burner and sleeps in a loft with a small window.

“The house looked gorgeous: just like an ad for pancake syrup or a painting called A Simpler Time,” she writes in her inspiring, funny memoir that resonates with anyone on a quest to downsize, de-stress, let go or feel at home.

People interested in green design and plans for an legal accessory dwelling unit can explore Williams’ tiny house, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Vintage Books, 6613 E. Mill Plain Blvd. She will read from her book and answer questions from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. inside the bookstore.

The event is sponsored by Vintage Books and Clark County Environmental Services’ Green Neighbors program.

Dee-Williams-Tiny-House

Williams has been interviewed by networks and newspaper reporters and has addressed TED Conference audiences, telling her powerful story about selling her high-maintenance Craftsman house in Southeast Portland and gifting away most of her possessions after she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

We caught up with her days before she is to tug her tiny house to Vancouver.

Q: You’ve been on the road telling your story and reading from your book since April. What has been the biggest adjustment being on the book tour circuit?

Dee Williams: I think the largest adjustment has been traveling so much. I’m a homebody – a real “stick in the mud” is what my 20-something-year-old niece would say. But I’m perfectly happy to putter around in my garden, to scavenge wood out of the rubble pile down the street or to play firefighter in the backyard with the four-year-old boy who lives next door. I like being home and the book tour is a bit of a distraction from that normal, mundane, simple life.

The other adjustment occurred by seeing that the small house movement isn’t just people who want to build a tiny house (or already have), or people who like cute tiny houses; it’s not that simple. Instead, the tiny house movement seems to be a tapestry of openhearted people who are interested in community building; they’re interested in living more simply on the earth, investing in their neighbors (both human and natural); they’re rabble-rousers and non-conformists, and some of the most compassionate, inclusive thinkers that I’ve met in a long time. It was invigorating and humbling to meet so many awesome people.

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Q. What is the most common question you are asked and how do you answer it?

DW: “Is that legal?” has probably been the most common question. And I usually answer it by saying something like… “ah dang it, not that question!” And then I’ll wax on about how much I like rules; that I’m an enforcement officer with the State, and I once cried at a stoplight because the idea of civil law is so beautiful to me – the way we all learn how to stop on red and go on green, and thereby save ourselves from having to tow our cars away in a heap.

So, I’ll explain who I am and then launch into how most municipalities apply travel trailer restrictions to wheeled tiny houses. They might restrict where you can park (not on the front lawn, in front of a school, too close to the neighbor’s house, etc.) and how long you can recreate inside the unit. If you’re living in the space for longer than 30 days or six months, you might be asked to move along.

I’d also throw in that there are a lot of cities that are looking for ways to redefine codes to allow for longer stays in tiny houses on wheels. They’re looking at ways to create better urban infill, and to create more affordable, sustainable, safe housing and little houses are a part of that discussion.

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