Shipping Container Houses and Homes

Living in a box - really?

Several years ago I became very interested in alternative housing - and I discovered shipping containers that were being used as homes and houses. Yes, those big containers that you see rolling down the highways on flatbeds, transported on ships and being hauled on trains.

Being an artist, I have gone through several phases of art in my life - and for over 10 years now I have been very interested in the use of recycling materials to create new things. When I found out that people were actually using shipping containers to live and work in, I was amazed - and very very intrigued.

Living small: Lulu’s shipping container home

Trend of the future

I'm not going to go into all the pros and cons here of using a shipping container as a house or home, but will provide you with links at the bottom of this hub (article) where you can get more information about how to build your own shipping container home and/or contact some of the builders that specialize in building with shipping containers. I want this to be more of a visual introduction for those that would have never considered using a shipping container as a living space - and to show you just how versatile and what amazing living spaces these can be. Of course the pros are many - you are definitely being "green" by using recycled materials, and the cost of building this way can be a good 80% less money than using traditional building methods. Beyond that though, as an recycle artist, the idea of living in one of these off the grid is extremely appealing to me. As shipping container homes gather more media attention, I think there will be a definite shift in future housing, to not only include shipping containers as homes but other building methods such as strawbale, portable folding homes (habitaflex) and other less expensive alternatives to building big and expensive homes. I for one am definitely considering using a shipping container as an artist retreat in my backyard in the future - and when and if I move I can simply load up my retreat and ship it to my next home or property. I love that idea!

Enjoy the tour!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shipping containers used to create a couples getaway.Container City is a complex constructed from large shipping containers, located at the intersection of 12 Oeste and 2 Norte. The idea is from England, but this version was built by a Mexican organization. Fifty of these containers have been joined an Whitemodel of a 3D drafting of a house built from shipping containers.
Shipping containers used to create a couples getaway.
Shipping containers used to create a couples getaway. | Source
Container City is a complex constructed from large shipping containers, located at the intersection of 12 Oeste and 2 Norte. The idea is from England, but this version was built by a Mexican organization. Fifty of these containers have been joined an
Container City is a complex constructed from large shipping containers, located at the intersection of 12 Oeste and 2 Norte. The idea is from England, but this version was built by a Mexican organization. Fifty of these containers have been joined an | Source
 Whitemodel of a 3D drafting of a house built from shipping containers.
Whitemodel of a 3D drafting of a house built from shipping containers. | Source

$1800 used shipping container as architects' backyard office

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco

This is great stuff. I'm working on a Hub right now on prefab homes, some of which at least take their design cues (or materials) from shipping containers. I like the idea of portability, too. Mass-production, or retrofitting a bunch at scale, makes the economics work really nicely, too.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Livelonger) Thanks and I'll be looking forward to your hub on pre-fab homes. I've seen some great designs. Great stuff!


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for sharing Livelonger. I have been intrigued by these, and other forms of alternative housing. My retirement plan is based around living in a home like this on a ranch, with solar power and wind turbines. Thanks for showing that these can be functional and look great.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

What a great use of resources. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@married) It's me, Dorsi, that wrote the hub lol but livelonger has one coming up on pre-fab homes. Thanks for coming by and reading!

@alocsin) I agree - I love recycling functional objects!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 4 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I always find these innovative homes intriguing. I’m afraid I’d have a long way to go to part with stuff to fit in such a small space though. Maybe as a vacation home. MSN featured innovative unique primary residences today, all under 500 sq feet, and some under 100. Some without electricity and running water.


calico Stark profile image

calico Stark 4 years ago from Earth for the time being

Very interesting! I voted up! This is a great concept! I do have a question, can the container still be shipped after it is altered with windows?


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Dorsi, this is a great hub! I've been interested in the Tiny Home movement that has taken hold in recent years. Living in a shipping container is another example of making do with less to enjoy life more. Love all the photographs and links. Rated up!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@rm) That's interesting. I could make do with 500-600 sq. ft but not under 100. My dogs would take up that much space lol. Thanks for reading.

@calico) Thanks for reading and yes, I believe it can. That's the beauty of using a container!

@steph) Isn't it awesome? I've been following this too and never cease to be amazed at the creativity that people are using. Love it!


FGual profile image

FGual 4 years ago from USA

Great recycling idea, this would work well in underdeveloped countries and devastated areas such as Haiti or anywhere with a housing shortage. They look similar to mobile homes.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@FGual) Thanks for reading and I was actually reading about a guy that is doing that very thing for families in Mexico. The prototypes look wonderful and I wish him well with this.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

This is really cool! I am so glad I ran across this one! Thanks so much for SHARING!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you homesteadbound!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Hello, Dorsi! I so enjoyed this hub, and so I decided to share it with all in my latest hub luv hub. This was great. It is amazing what they are able to do with a shipping container!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@homesteadbound) Thank you so much!! It is really amazing and these shipping containers are practically indestructible.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

This concept intrigues me, also, although I don't know that I could ever live in a small space full-time. Maybe as a writing retreat. Great article.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

An interesting hub on alternative housing and well received here. Thank you for sharing with us. We have a firm here on the west coast of Canada who are actually taking decommissioned containers and revamping them and sending them into impoverished areas as housing.

Hugs for this


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

This is very interesting Dorsi, thank you for sharing this. We need more of this type of thinking world wide!

Voted Up!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@DeborahNeyens) Thanks for coming by. Some people are putting several of them together which makes them into pretty big spaces!

@Rolly A Chabot) That is such a great idea. I really like that.

@Curiad) Yes I agree, we need more people that think "out of the box" lol....except I suppose we could call this "thinking inside the box" when it comes to shipping container homes!


Chris Achilleos profile image

Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

There are some great ideas for houses on this hub which I have found AMAZING. I'm following, sharing, voted up, interesting, awesome and useful :).


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Chris) Thank you so much. I love these container homes too)


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I saw photos of some beautiful shipping container houses and have been intrigued ever since! Did you ever do your artist retreat in the backyard? I wonder how shipping containers are in terms of hot in summer/cold in winter. A fascinating hub! Voted up and shared.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

These container homes have been used in London for a few years now. They tend to be very high end though. Sometimes several stacked on top of each other and linked together. I saw them in South Africa too. Who knows maybe these are the way forward. If we want to moved just stick it on a truck and go.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@vespa) Thanks for reading and the comment. There are some incredible homes made from shipping containers!

@molometer) Yes exactly, just rent a truck with a flatbed and move! Thanks for coming by.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working