We’ve spoke about it a lot here before at Container Home Plans, and one of the biggest advantages of building with shipping containers is that they are so flexible and portable.
This means that shipping containers can be used to build homes in some pretty remote areas- places where typically you just can’t build homes!
It’s been truly incredible to see the growth of container homes over the last decade or so, and some of the innovation and creative ideas we’ve seen continue to amaze me- even now.
In this article I’ve collected my 5 favourite off grid container homes that I wanted to share with you.
Each home has been selected for different reasons- some just for their pure ‘wow’ effect and others for their creativity and cost saving.
Let me know which is your favourite in the comments section at the end!
#1 Tiny Off Grid Shipping Container Home
The first up in our Top 5 is Brenda Kelly’s new shipping container home.
For those of you who have been following us for a while now, you will remember Brenda from our first shipping container home interview we did with her earlier on last year.
Well since then Brenda has been very busy and she has decided to upgrade from her existing 20 foot container home and convert a slightly larger 40 foot shipping container in addition to a 20 foot container to make her new home.
The container home has been built on the side of a steep hill and due to the container’s structural integrity, cheaper timber pile foundations were used instead of concrete piers.
This shipping container home was finished at the start of 2016 and provides around 500 square foot of living space.
The larger container hosts the kitchen in addition to the main bedroom. And the smaller container is used as an office, though this could easily be turned into another bedroom.
What’s really incredibly about this container home is that it is completely off-grid and produces all the electricity it needs from the bank of solar panels on the roof. In addition the roof is used to collect rainwater which is used within the home as a source of fresh water.
#2 Redwoods Shipping Container Cabin
Originally Kam Kasravi and Connie Dewitt were going to build a prefab home on their plot of land in the Santa Cruz Mountain area.
However they soon realised that because of the narrow lanes that led to their land a prefab home wouldn’t fit- this is when they turned to shipping containers.
Because shipping containers are only 8 foot wide, they could easily fit down the narrow lanes, so Kam and Connie’s dream of a cabin in the forest could begin!
One of the great advantages of shipping container homes is how fast they can be stacked. As you can see in the video, Kam and Connie’s containers were delivered and placed on the foundation pads in under 8 hours!
Throughout the home spray foam insulation was used to keep the rooms as wide as possible and you can also see that they decided to leave the container’s ceiling and floors bare to show off the industrial look of the containers.
Finally, as anyone from the area will know you can expect earthquakes! This is why they decided to build with containers because they knew once secured in place they wouldn’t be moving anywhere!
To our knowledge this is the first underground shipping container home and it belongs to Steve Rees who lives out in California.
What’s so innovative about this design is that because the containers are completely buried underground the home is incredibly cool even during those 100+ Fahrenheit California summer days.
And also during the Winter the earth around the containers helps to keep the heat locked inside the containers making it an incredibly efficient home to live in. Steve hasn’t paid a utility bill now for the last decade!
Two 40 foot high cube containers were used and provide Steve and his wife with around 640 square feet of living space.
To eliminate any lighting bills, solar tubes have been fitted throughout the containers which harvest the natural sunlight and ‘project’ this down into the containers.
One of the nicest features of the home are the huge oak beams which are used as supports for where Steve has removed large sections of the container’s walls to connect them together.
The total cost for this build was just under $30,000USD which equals out at around $47 per square foot.
#4 Off Grid Container Home with a Deck
Richie left the city life behind and bought a plot of land out in Australia, but he couldn’t afford to build a house after buying the land.
To save money he decided instead to build a shipping container home and all told it cost him less than $45,000. This figure includes the $6,400 which he paid to purchase a brand new shipping container.
Richie built his new home using a single 40 foot high cube container and managed to double the living space by building an outside deck area with a canopy on top.
There are two really impressive features with this particular container home. Firstly, instead of welding the container to the foundation pads, this container was bolted. This means that Richie could move the container to another location if he wanted to. Secondly, Boston ivy was planted onto the side of the container to act as a heat shield during the summer.
To insulate the container further, rock wool insulation was used in both the ceiling and walls to retain extra heat during the winter months.
#5 Off Grid Tiny Container Home for $4000
The last home in our list is Lulu’s incredible tiny shipping container home.
Lulu built her home back in 2010 and all told it cost $4000 to convert the container- this figure includes the insulation, drywall, internal fixtures and plumbing! Not only this but it only took Lulu one month to convert the container.
She was given the container for free- but a similar used 20 foot container would set you back around $2000.
I would really urge you to watch the video of Lulu and her container home- you will pick up a lot of little tips and tricks. For instance she used bubble wrap in-between the container and the insulation panels- this helps to prevent moisture spreading into the insulation!
For Lulu her container home was a lifestyle choice. She didn’t want to be working 40+ hours a week and not see her young daughter. So she decided to leave the 9-5 and live in a container home which meant she didn’t need to pay rent anymore.
I hope that after seeing what these incredible people have built using shipping containers that you are feeling inspired!
I’m constantly blown away by the creativity of people after seeing what they have done with their shipping containers.
These people have shown that shipping container homes are affordable and I hope you can now see that you too can build and live in your own shipping container home.
Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to live in one of these homes!