Hybrid Shipping Container and Log Cabin Home Built Blog Cover

Hybrid Shipping Container and Log Cabin Home Built For $16,900

Posted By: April 27, 2016 In Interviews

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Following the success of our interview series last year, it’s with great excitement that today we announce the first interview of 2016.

In case you’ve missed our previous interviews, you can find them here.

It brings me great pleasure to bring onto this week’s show Brian Morris from Yellowstone Timber Fusion.

Brian has recently finished building what is believed to be the worlds first hybrid shipping container log cabin home.

When Brian got in touch with me earlier last month I was blown away by the end results and I’m sure you will be too. So, without further ado, let’s get to the interview!

Initial Plan For Container Hybrid Home

Tom: How did you get the idea of building with shipping containers?

Brian: Truth be told, it was a combination of a weekend getaway with my amazing girlfriend, to Pine Creek Lodge located just outside of Livingston Montana.

The cabin we reserved for our fishing trip on the magnificent Yellowstone River was a bright yellow 40 footer. It sat among 3 other containers, all equally as bright and beautiful.  It was at this point we settled into a nice evening, that the thought occurred to me. My passion as a log-smith would allow me to really rock one of these out. Not long thereafter, I came to the realization that I must create a model for this concept.

Initial Plan 2

Tom: Why did you decide to build your home out of shipping containers?

Brian: The reasons for which I built with shipping containers are numerous; for one I don’t know why you wouldn’t build with containers.  Due to their ability to have numerous design configurations and finishes it is a no brainer. Be different, unique, innovative, and challenged.

What more does one need to justify building with shipping containers?

Containers are structurally sound making for the ultimate building block- from large-scale industrial versions to residential housing, to the mere microstructure!

Tom: How did you insulate the containers?

Brian: I insulated the container with core bond urethane spray foam; this is the best product on the market. Not only does it have the highest R rating available, once it has cured expanded and set it becomes one with its backdrop.

Battening shipping container

This allows for peace of mind regarding thermal gain and the loss that can take place.

In my mind there is no substitute for quality insulating practices.

Tom:  Can you talk about the process of building your home- what were some of the highlights of the process?

Brian: The highlight for me was picking up the telephone and contacting Lockwood storage out of Missoula Montana and inquiring on and 8 x 20 conex box. The highlight unfolded as the bright green evergreen container was delivered to historic Virginia City Montana!

Container being delivered

Tom: Roughly how much did it cost to build (can you give us a high-level breakdown here)?

Brian: Here is my breakdown for a 20-foot low cube with a 10 by 20 deck with porch roof, which in total cost $16,900USD.

  • Container – 3200$
  • Door and Windows – 500$
  • Framing – 1500$
  • Fasteners – 500$
  • Drywall and Tape -350$
  • Plaster Coat Finish – 250$
  • Electrical Wire – 800$
  • Plumbing – 400$
  • Cabinets – 1300$
  • Countertop – 200$
  • Sink Basin and Faucet Fixture – 300$
  • Insulation Corbond – 1300$
  • Roofing Corten/Porch – 2600$
  • Chinking (Concrete) – 200$
  • Timber/Log work – 2500$
  • Materials – 1000$

Tom: In your experience what are the advantages of building with shipping containers?

Brian: For me the advantages are as follows, in order, versatility of design, structural integrity and the reuse or repurpose of a seemingly solid piece of steel which has a story all of its own to tell.

The design versatility speaks for itself. It can be seen in every corner of the globe. People are generating amazing new ideas that can be facilitated with containers, creating a very small footprint.

Hybrid Shipping Container and Log Cabin Home Built

Structurally they blow a stick-frame home out of the water.  Containers have a structurally superior framework. Being made out of steel one may alleviate the use of large volumes of concrete.  The use of concrete for many people creates a large expense, an expense that typically gets backfilled and goes unseen.

Last, for all of you eco-friendly folks you can simplify it by referring to it as recycle, repurpose and or reuse. Call it what you want, it is all in the eye of the beholder.

Tom: Would you recommend building with shipping containers?

Brian: Yes, of course I would!

Tom: Where can people find out more about you and get in touch?

Brian: If people what to get in touch or find out more information you can visit my website at: http://www.yellowstonetimberfusion.com/

Gallery of Brian’s Home

As always, thank you for joining us for this interview, and a big thank you to Brian for joining us and sharing his home and experience!

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’m sure Brian will do his best to answer them!

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  1. Kace DOORNBOS

    That looks amazing! What a clever idea! I must have one.. I will be getting in contact with Brian!

  2. Jan

    Did Brian do the work himself to keep the cost low?

    • Tom

      Hi Jan,

      Yes Brian did convert the container himself.