The actual containers used in this home are concealed behind the duplex, and mirror each other, just as the duplex units mirror each other with two bedrooms and three bathrooms. Similarly to designer Patrice Rios’ own container, these function as either an office or guesthouse. Neither contains a bathroom, but there’s easy access to one on the first floor of each unit. Rios is currently designing another duplex in the city that will incorporate shipping containers inside the home.
Six Oaks can be found deep in the woods of Felton, California (not far from Santa Cruz). It’s built in a former railway area surrounded by redwood trees, although you’ll be glad to know only two redwoods were cut down to accommodate the home, and those were used for interior elements such as the stairs. Architecture and design firm Modulus created Six Oaks by stacking six shipping containers as a way to maximize light, views and airflow throughout the 1,200-square-foot space. Skylights, a bridge and private outdoor shower are other standout features in a home that’s otherwise intended to blend into its surroundings.
Designer Patrice Rios of Sige&Honey specializes in customizing shipping containers. Her first foray involved adding a shipping container office to her backyard in Austin. But she’s become associated with building a duplex elsewhere in the city that contains two containers behind it. The duplex itself is designed to look like a container (pictured), complete with a boxy shape and floor-to-ceiling windows.
A dark-stained wood deck provides a small outdoor area for this shipping container house, painted bright yellow. A bright white bistro table and chairs complement the white French doors that lead out to the interior space. A small container garden adds a variety of color while also offering some privacy.
The Redondo Beach House in Southern California consists of eight shipping containers along with traditional stick frame construction. Designed by Peter DeMaria of DeMaria Design, the result is a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath that maintains its original corrugated steel walls and wood floors. Airplane hangar doors are a major standout element, and redefine bringing the outdoors in. If you’re a fan of shipping containers but can’t afford an architect, DeMaria also operates Logical Homes, a reasonably priced line of pre-fabricated container homes.
Even shipping container homes are bigger in Texas. Called PV14 House, since it uses 14 shipping containers, this Dallas home from M Gooden Design is one of the largest at 3,700 square feet. This home contains three bedrooms, a den, entertainment area, three-and-a-half bathrooms and a two-car garage. There’s also a small penthouse and a large roof deck. A glass-fronted second floor, complete with a full-length balcony, maximizes prime views of a lake and park across the way.
For many, a mega-mansion represents the ideal dream home, but for Mike and Shawn McConkey, a shipping container was their ideal. The McConkey Residence, designed by OBR Architecture, is one of San Diego’s first shipping container homes. Three containers form 800 square feet of living space, and floor-to-ceiling windows make the open-air design feel even larger. A retractable garage door next to the kitchen is another thoughtful element (and perfect for those times when the stove gets a bit too smoky). Speaking of smoke, the windows and roof incorporate flame-retardant materials in the event of wildfires.
Architect Adam Kalkin, co-founder of Industrial Zombie, has made a name for himself by taking shipping container design to the next level. Bunny Lane in rural New Jersey is a real mind blower, as it looks as though a shipping container swallowed a traditional house. The latter is a replica of a 19th-century cottage, complete with a porch, and could easily exist as a stand-alone structure. Unlike, say, a museum exhibit, both spaces are furnished and easily flow into each other. In another trippy twist, there’s even a three-story wall of nine cube-shaped rooms (glassed in), creating a real-life dollhouse effect.
This Colorado residence by Tomecek Studio Architecture is actually a hybrid container house, incorporating two shipping containers on either side of a more traditional structure. The entire 1,500-square-foot Nederland House makes the most of its Rocky Mountain views, while the containers are where you’ll find the bedrooms, bath, office, laundry room and kitchen. Though it’s not part of the containers, the upstairs of the center structure features a platform bed on sliding tracks — giving an entirely new meaning to sleeping under the stars.
Rain gardens can even pop up and work effectively on parking lot areas. After removing asphalt, a rain garden basin could be built along this parking area of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a shipping and cargo company at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. A traditional rain garden basin planting features a mix of shrubs, perennials and ground covers. The green container is a rain garden in a box. Rain gardens at this site handle roughly 250,000 gallons of rain water runoff annually, which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants washing into nearby Commencement Bay. If designers can build a working rain garden on a parking lot, you can make one work in your yard.