how to make a home from shipping containers – 2 x 20ft – concept & design by Keith Dewey & Craig Arnatt

how to make a home from shipping containers - 2x20ft - concept and design by Keith Dewey and Craig Arnatt

This is the 02 Design which i thought would be worth posting for people to get an idea of how you can make a simple home with 2 x 20ft containers. As you can see its functional but also there is a lot of wasted space that could be utilized but it still fits!

For an example of how to work things out generally I would go for the number of people living in the house plus one when it comes to seating. As there is only a double bed in this house and living room seating for 6 you can half that space. Dining table could be set for 2 with a fold down table so that more seating could be added if needed rather than taking up 1/4 of the home. Sofa bed or Murphy bed would be more practical than a double bed that looks like its stuck in the middle of the sitting room. Not an ideal plan for me this one but at the same time like I said its all in there and with excess. If creating open plan in the sitting room/bedroom I would go with a divider after reducing the amount of seating as this will allow wardrobe space in the bedroom and a TV unit in the sitting room as well as small storage.

But the important thing is here is you can see how it can be done at the same time having a canvass to work from you can also plan out how you would do it.

Infill Container Home Designed by Leger Wanaselja – San Francisco bay, U.S.A.

This project was based on three shipping containers from which home designer Leger Wanaselja transformed into a luxury modular home. Its located on eastern hills above San Francisco Bay. The advantage of using shipping containers in this design is that it offers a structured uniform look that only adds to the buildings character as well as the containers themselves are ideal for this purpose due to the design and nature of them because they exceed many of the building standards that would be required for construction at the same time cheap to work with and buy.

How the containers are used is 2 40ft containers are stacked while on the other side another 40ft was cut and stacked leaving the central area as the sitting room and stairwell area which was opened up by a high glass wall from floor to ceiling.


Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja


Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja    Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja

Infill Container Home Design by Leger Wanaselja

Container retreat – Hybrid architecture Seattle

Cargotecture as Hybrid Architecture describes it offers large low-cost prefab housing solutions based on a vision of sustainability and a modular approach. Which to be honest i agree with. This building called the c320 Studio is ideal for a weekend retreat or a small home. It has a bathroom and separate sleeping area as part of the 2 x 20ft container home. While still managing to not stick out too much even though bright orange in this riverside location.

Container retreat - Hybrid Architecture Seattle

Container retreat - Hybrid Architecture Seattle Container retreat - Hybrid Architecture Seattle Container retreat - Hybrid Architecture Seattle

Shipping container basic apartment rental, would you rent?

shipping container hotel - sudan


Although these containers were used by journalists in the Sudanese elections it does make me wonder if Expat’s or other travellers would be interested in living in containers as a budget residence for short stay or long term. The fact that these were comfortable in Sudan prove the point that shipping containers can function as a residence without over heating if the right measures are put into place during construction. Also the number of people I have come across in the Philippines trying to avoid paying for anything more than they want to these would fit into their budget as I could easily see these being rented at P4,000 a month long-term in a good location as a basic living accommodation or for budget hotels around P1,000 a night.

Shipping container transformed into a house over a period of time.

The practical side to this video is that often it doesn’t have to be built in a day. The couple involved obviously seen the advantages of using containers as simply the can be “locked up” when back doing the day job allowing the weekend project to continue until its ready. Very functional and simple design worth watching as it shows that you also don’t have to be a craftsman to do everything as your container only needs to develop or transform as much as you want to do it.


shipping container house transformation

Amazing shipping container house, slots into tiny gap to create a new home.


A perfect example of maximising space with a shipping container home and I can see this sort of space being utilized in many towns and cities where people can’t vision something fitting into a gap.

This was built by architects Pieter Peelings and Silvia Mertens of Sculp(IT). Who reside in the containers as a workspace and home. Ground floor being the work floor, 1st being dining, third relaxation and sitting room. Finally reaching the 4th level with great views and a spa. Although not giant at 2.4m wide and 5.5m deep it does give a practical, functional property that slots in to the smallest of spaces.

Folding laptop desk for shipping container home

drop down folding desk

I came across this folding desk which is available in Ikea but also if you look at it you could easily construct this yourself as a minor woodworking project as well as being able to build the unit further into the wall of your shipping container if lining the interior as you could measure out a hole for it to be set in afterwards. I would advise making up a jig for that purpose purely because you can leave it in place while constructing. Great idea though and obviously one that is very cost affective and adding a lock to the door a secure place to keep your laptop when out.

are shipping containers good to build a home with?

I am finding more and more people are thinking on the same path as me with shipping containers yet the designs are more varied as time goes on.. why?

In reality we are all experimenting and it means that we spend a lot of time looking at other finished projects which does mean as time has gone on our own projects improve even if a single thing hasn’t been done outside our heads.

So are shipping containers good to build with? in all honesty i can’t think of a better start module especially if you get it cheap. I have worked with modular homes previously and its one thing they don’t come with is a cheap price tag. Shipping containers allow the person with the most basic of skills to evolve and construct their own home. Many of the other projects I have worked on in my lifetime it would be impossible purely because of the amount of information you need to understand from an architects perspective and engineers never mind the hands on side.

Shipping containers are great to build a home with because you can physically do most of it yourself. They are a contained box which means even if it takes you a long time it doesn’t matter you can’t throw anything at it worse than the sea’s and oceans which means you can develop your skill level as you go and on top of that they are easy to join together and construct from in basic form. If your looking for a blank canvas for a home a shipping container suits that need perfectly.

Maximising space inside a shipping container home

The problem in the West we think home we think big.. we think of more and excess and the “we can’t live without items”. But then again how many of those items can you really live without?

Once you have an idea of reduction you have a step forward in the way your container home can be.

best use of a small space bed,wardrobe and bedside tableHere you can see the bed, small steps and side table alongside a wardrobe. Maximising the width of a small space. Underneath the bed is the storage space which is ideal for those with luggage and I can see this being used in things like modular hotel systems.

under bed storage space wash basin and hob combination

 Combining wash and cooking facilities into one reduces space drastically as generally we are doing one or the other so makes sense. At the same time strongly advise good earthing (ground) to reduce risk of electrocution.

You have to remember you may be losing some of the worldly goods of excess inside but you are gaining the environment on the outside allowing living spaces such as gardens and views over a concrete jungle.

Shipping container cafe–NJ Asbury Park

shipping container cafe, recycled shipping container

These interesting shipping container shops and restaurants are an ideal showpiece of how urban architecture using containers can fit into many locations well. On top of being a cheap construction method it also offers a secure building.Designed by Madison Marquette, they were brought in as recycled containers and then painted to blend in with the other buildings inside the boardwalk.

Not a lot of other information can be found about the units themselves as most of the stuff online seems to cover the retail side of the boardwalk but another fine example of shipping containers in daily use.