Blog 13: Style in Unexpected Places: Living in a Shipping Container
You heard right, living in a shipping container. Turning steel boxes that are 8 x 8 x 20 (sometimes 8 x 8 x 40) into habitable buildings is a hip new trend all over the world. And it’s exactly what it sounds like – taking steel shipping containers and assembling them into dorms, offices, and even homes.
Why Shipping Containers?
Shipping containers are used to ship goods all over the world. They’re strong, sealed, and stackable. But because it’s expensive to ship them back to their home city, used containers rust away in ports all over the world. Shipping containers provide a cheap solution to other prefabricated homes.
Because using containers reduces waste, building a container house is very green and leaves a smaller carbon footprint than a traditional home does. They’re also quite cheap – costing a fraction per square foot of normal homes. And because they’re made of steel, a container building on a standard concrete foundation is extremely sturdy. Some builders even claim they’ll survive a hurricane.
But How Can You Live There Every Day?
While a steel box that is only 20-40 feet long might not seem like a lot of space (well, it’s not), you can weld more than one container together for more square footage. The Redondo Beach home in Los Angeles is eight containers welded together.
But what about no windows? No problem there either. Windows are easy to cut out; some homes have even cut out entire walls, resulting in one big window!
A common reaction to container houses is the concern that they’ll be really hot in the summer and cold in the winter. However, not only can you buy a refrigerated box that is already insulated, you can add insulation to any container to make it comfortable. You can also have other basic needs, like water and electricity. All of it can be set up just like any other building. Many owners also put in hardwood flooring; some even install eco-friendly bamboo flooring.
As for the exterior, your shipping container home can be aesthetically pleasing as well! Honestly, you can have all of the same comforts as you do in a traditional brick-and-mortar home. Sheetrock can be applied and it can be painted the same way you would when building a house.
But one thing a traditional house can’t offer is the endless possibilities to customize – your containers are blank slates. Put windows where you want, as big as you want. Paint the outside bright colours. It can even be made to go mobile! Simple boxes can become modern works of art. Art you can live in?
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