Open Casting Call! Who Has a Container House/Tiny House Being Constructed?



[EDIT] This post is a few years old but still very much relevant to me. If you are currently building any type of alt house, be it tiny, shipping container or otherwise, please post what you are doing in the brand new Containerist User forum at the top of the page. You can log in with your existing facebook account. EASY!- Deuxvan

There is nothing more fascinating to a containerist than a currently-being-built container home! Who out there is constructing a container home? I am talking right now… this minute… a site with a container on it, being built.

We all want to know what it’s like and how you feel about it. Please reply to this post as a comment and we can all enjoy your progress. Please inspire the rest of us! You can post your website address or steer us to some pics. We will eat it up!

All comments are moderated, so be patient and I will approve legitimate comments. Sorry, spam makes me do it this way.

  • I a building a container home in Thailand, intend to blog updates regularly. Post 1 is here

  • Jen

    Greetings Terry, just paying your site another visit checking in to see whats going on. 🙂 Our ArkHaus off-grid container project is still under construction…one of our two containers is complete running on clean solar energy and heated with a 20lb propane tank. (It’s cold ’round these parts!) The other container has been harvesting plenty of rainwater which we have been purifying using a Berkey water filter, but it is otherwise still under construction. The interior is framed, the exterior wall is complete with ceder shingles from Maine (that smell incredible by the way!) and a nice steel front door is in place that lets in lots of light. Our compact interior design (not currently uploaded to the site) will make the space inside as efficient as possible. So far we have purchased the shower, the composting toilet, the LEDs and the low voltage track lights and recessed lights. There is much work still to be done and with a crew of 3 + a dog it is going to take us a little while longer to have it completed. This week Trevor & I are looking to build a deck out of re purposed pallets given to us from a company down the street and finish insulating the attic. We still have some exterior painting to do and would like to put lattice around the base of the containers to keep critters from getting under there. We will continue work on the interior this coming weekend when Craig will be available. He has been essential to this project as he is the man with all the knowledge of construction as he is a retired ship builder. But for the meantime Trevor & I have plenty to keep us busy. Continue to check in on our progress at: we try to keep the site updated fairly often. Take care & good luck! -Jen

  • Terry,

    I work with a company called IDS (International Disaster Services) and we build out of shipping containers. I currently have 17 schools on the ground being assembled in the Turks and Caicos Islands. All of the schools are made out of containers and fabricated in our Macon Georgia based facility. Once on site the containers are connected and power and water is run to the units.

    I also currently have assembly teams in Kotzebue and Kivalina Alaska. Both of these cities are in the Arctic Circle. We are assembling a forty unit apartment complex out of 56 shipping containers, a 2,100 sqf home out of 6 shipping containers, and a medical facility out of 5 shipping containers.

    All of the projects I have mentioned are currently on site and in the assembly phase. We have several other shipping container structures currently in the fabrication stage in our facility. I will let you know where they are going once they have arrived on site. Terry,

    Please feel free to contact me for further information,


  • Jen

    Kyle your work is inspirational. Keep it up! I’d love to see more of your work.
    Shipping containers in the Arctic Circle…damn. Bet they never thought they’d end up THERE! lol

  • Jen

    To the guy who first responded with his home in Thailand…You have quite the piece of land! Absolutely beautiful! I assume it will totally be off grid. 🙂 Congrats! Best of luck!

  • My (hopefully) son-in-law is my first ISBU customer. He bought a 40 at auction for $2300 and had it delivered to my driveway two weeks ago. My city near Denver CO allows a storage container in the yard behind a fence.

    I used 2×6 LVLs (got them for .40 a foot)from a salvage yard for the floor and put 6″ FG insulation in there before tacking down the 3/4″ ply subfloor the 16 ft that will be the bath and utility closet of Can #1. I framed 1/3 of the walls last week and bought all the rough in supplies from Home Depot.

    The floor plan is the WC at the left side rear, the FG shower next to that behind a wall with a 2-6 door and the WD will be in there. Then the 5′ vanity and the door from the bath towards the front of the can. There will be a mandoor accross from the utility clo and then the kitchen/living.

    We plan on welding the two doors in the open position and installing a metal grid for a balcony. There will be a set of doors to get out. Can #2 will be just a bedroom and the rest open to the doors and the steps down. When can #2 is set we will cut out the 16 ft of wall to open the two cans up to each other. We are using a dual fuel cook stove (wood and propane) to cook and heat the house. There might be a separate fireplace down the road. I am installing ducting to carry the heat to the rear of the cans.

    The layout is to be two 20 ftrs holding up 2 40 footer and open in between below. It is all to be backed into a low hillside in a valley near Pueblo CO. Can #2 will have the BR and can #3 will be the propane generator etc and can #4 will have the sewer connection and well connection inside.

  • Got most framing done. I set a 2×4 wall 5.5″ off i.s. of can wall so I could use R-19, 6″ insulation. Did a coffered clg in the middle so lowest clg hgt is 7′ and the taller is 7′-4″. The i.d. is 6′-9″ wall to wall. I had to put the round metal hvac vents in place as I framed. I built everything in place, so I essentially had to build it from below. Almost all wood connections are toe-nailed in place. I used clamps and wedges to pull joist and top plates tight to the studs to nail.

    Temps have been below 20F all week. Another 6″ of snow today. But, I got the joist last evening before the snow hit and I will be finishing the clg frame today.

    Merry Christmas,

  • 1st container house on residential property in south africa was approved last week by the east london municipality. we intend posting research data as well as local difficulties re authorization and development of the project etc as time goes on. for one thing it cuts the national building cost per m2 – now approx us$740 – with >50%!
    God bless

  • Tyler

    Hey all,

    I go to Texas Tech University and I’m majoring in engineering. I’m looking to start my own container home project and was needing some help. I need an elaborate list of materials and costs if its out there… Any of you have reference to a list of this sort???

  • tyler, i am in the planning stages of a 40′ x 40′ workshop 2 units tall consisting of 5 40′ units, two for each side with the top one staggered 8′ to allow one unit to cross between the sides. i can get std 40′ units delivered for $2500 each. each side will have four footings: 4’x4’x24″ deep (ignoring loose fill), reinforced with four #4 bar, each way, top and bottom. the rebar matt will have 3″ concrete above it on the top, and below it, on the bottom. this should support 8k pounds at each corner. the units are designed to stack but i think there should be some welded tabs to keep the top and bottoms together so as not to allow the weight alone to supply positive location. i don’t know how large nor how many of these tabs should be used from a structural engineering pov. the open end will have a steel tie (or two) going between the side units. here again i don’t know what size nor method of securing is best. end walls will be stick framed with a conventional roll up door at the end with the cross unit and a 10′ tall roll up at the open end. interior (courtyard?) floor will be well packed road base. i’m a scrounger and recycle whatever i can find for whatever i need. i’d guess the trim out of the interior would not be far off what is used in conventional stick construction as the interior of a livable unit will be framed and insulated and this will vary with climactic conditions in the area of construction. i’m not far from luckenbach. if you get down this way holler.

    jens and trevor, cool project! lattice won’t stop critters from burrowing underneath. i like the duece 🙂 my heavy truck is a ’51 int’l l-160 with a flat dump bed

    terry, kudos for your efforts!


  • josh lucas

    well im a new guy from utah, married with 3 kids. me and my wife have been looking out getting some property and building a place out of the city. we dont like the way things are going today and want to show our kids what we think may be a more simple life. so we have drawing up ideas for a place using shipping containers as the shell. so now we got us 11 acres in utah. not to far from 2 large lakes. so its got a large gully running through the center and winter run off right through the middle. as well as a river on one side all year, lots of trees and tons of huge rocks. some the size of small homes. very nice lot, and we have bought 2 40 ft shipping containers that will sit on a pin foundation and will span them apart from each other 22 ft. the in between 22 ft will be the kitchen, living, dining area. inside the containers will be 2 bedrooms masterbed, bath closets, and small office, as well as a large pantery. we will use some prefab trusses and face one open end to the south with full glass wall and the north end will be framed in.
    a composting toilet 3500 gallon cistern buried on the hill next to the cabin. will do solar and mabey wind later, would like to do some kind of roof mounted solar water heater.a nice big wood burning stove in the main area. we just got the containers delivered and the long driveway in with a nice road done to the bottom of the gully and back up the other side, as well as a nice big cleared area for our crazy cabin. it will be insilated with spray insilation from the exterior and covered in rough cut pine boards. it will be alot of work but were hoping a better life for are kids, able to ride 4 wheelers and fish, hunt and learn about some other stuff as they grow up. and we got 11 acres, so as the kids get of age we will give each kid a acre or 2. heres some drawings i did on sketchup and some of the containers being delivered and the new road going down to the gully all covered in snow.
    or this plan.

  • Reply

    Building a 20 container building on the east coast that has been underway for about a year now. Had a hell of a time getting through building permits – in part because I built with containers. Needed to pickup a lot of tools and know how along the way but the overall final result is intensely strong and amazingly practical. Not as “pretty” as most houses but it works for me. I would suggest spraying ISO foam on the outside of the containers – not inside.

  • alvena

    We have two 40ft,high cube, second hand,freshly painted containers on a friends property.
    We placed them in an “L” shape and have a large deck completing a square shape. After a year of working on this project on a shoe string,we are quite comfortable.The inside is almost complete. We are running power from the house for our fridge and some electrical items, we have a water tank,our hot water and stove top is gas.Our roof is a very large tarp for cover over the full square area.We personally did all internal fit out except gas fitting, including plumbing, tiling,flooring and walls, windows etc.We have no door as the living space runs smoothly to each area for simple living.We lined the walls for insulation as it is cold here close to Tamborine, Brisbane Australia.We collect rain water form the tarps for growing our own vegies etc, and for my mini rainforest garden under our two out door living domes. Our toilet is out side and is serviced twice a month.(A place to think, but next winter I want one indoors!)We have a claw bath that will look out into the natural bush soon,when the roof and sliding door goes in. Our costs now per month is around $600 compared to $2500 before.The 2 containers cost us about $7000 and the fitout, quite pretty,mostly new and near new,about $20000.
    We will save that in rent within a year, but our home is forever, no bank can take it, we just move it to a new location.The cost for that (besides our labor) about $1500 or less! We pay that here and more for a bond on a rental property. I think we are wise to have made the simple decision to remove our selves from the slavery of morgage debt. I can finally sit in nature and ignore the agressive drives of the rat race. We have raised our children and around 50yrs,enjoy simplicity now,you can buy a house but you need to make a home, and we did just that!
    I will send some pics if you like? This is a great site .cheers alvena

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