This well crafted shipping container home can be found in El Tiemblo, Spain and was the idea of James & Mau Arquitectura. Formed out of 4 x 40ft shipping containers it has an area of over 2,000sqft. A great home showing keeping the shipping containers in a stacking position doesn’t actually look out of place especially with good interior design.
Over the years I have noticed a trend of things having to be done by “experts”. If you watch a lot of TV shows its not a case of doing it yourself but getting in people to do tasks. This is simply removing the ability from many people as instead of reaching for the toolbox they reach for the telephone to get things done. Air conditioning like many other things can be done by people at home. That includes servicing which I recommend every 3 months personally with filter cleaning every month.
Anyway just wanted to share this video of air conditioning being installed in a shipping container as it does show how quick and easy it can be done.
This is an odd thing in the UK as there is thousands of houses left empty and the worst offender is the government. Failed regeneration schemes, buying out of buildings for other reasons as well as empty caretaker and other ex use homes from past government posts are laying empty all over the place. Working inside the government housing sector before previously the issues are often more complex than they seem.
First issues are many have been left empty for years meaning for them to be utilized by government for social housing it would require considerable investment for any property due to the strict regulations. E.g. rewiring, re-plumbing,renewing the gas installation including all pipework, renewing bathrooms and kitchens over 25 years old etc. etc. these are all part of “politics”. You see what happened is people started to set housing standards that the government past on to its social housing these standards in general cannot be met for multiple reasons the main one being cash flow but also the quality of tenants isn’t great but their expectations and needs have increased.
What happens then is this situation where councils have properties they can neither renovate or rent out and although some of its down to stupidity often more than not its more to do with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I remember an allocated property lot we received from the Royal Air Force for the housing association I was contracted with at the time. They had specific requirements to be brought up to standard yet even the basics were behind coming from another department. E.g. Our guideline is no more than 25 years on a kitchen or bathroom yet every property we received hadn’t had any major work done for at least 35 many still had coal bunkers and exterior toilets. Although they had a new bathroom installed at some point (still well past 35 years ago) which gave them a toilet indoors you get the picture of the state of these homes.
Why is this all relevant to shipping container homes your wondering? It shows the madness of society we live in where there is so much red tape and legislation that even the government creates problems for itself which also means getting your shipping container home through planning may be an initial battle. BUT the important thing here is the more people push through the more acceptable it becomes and the more people can do it. Personally I think there are many developments the social housing sector could benefit from using shipping container homes themselves as a long-term solution if not short-term for the housing shortages in the UK.
The other way to look at it is most of these houses are old and rundown the investment into them would be extremely costly and a stalemate is currently what we are seeing. Often its easier to rip out and start again rather than renovate and the shipping containers are a cheap option to the solution.
Yes this gets away from the green solutions but there are very few options open for these homes currently not in use and over 2 million families regardless as homeless in the UK but its a thing to ponder on how would you fix the problem?
The thing with shipping container homes is you will either get a “that’s cool” or you must be mad type of comment from the people around you. But myself I consider myself one of the right type of people for a shipping container home and I will explain why.
Initially through my first years of leaving school and struggling through college I was having to make do and maximise my cash flow sometimes would be a case of down to the last few pounds (UK money) and then buying something I could then sell later to make more money. Over the years this developed where I was cashing in my salary at the end of the week selling goods all weekend before putting money back in the bank on Monday.
This isn’t thrifty but it does go against the grain as we are told we should have the latest clothes, expensive car, nice house etc. the fact is everything is based around consumer spending and increasing personal debt. I will give a simple example of what I mean if you take a rawl plug its pushed on all the DIY shows as the way to hang a shelf etc but does anyone talk about a whittled piece of wood you just hammer in the hole and snap the head off? Something that is free, doesn’t damage the environment and most of the time actually does a better job due to a tighter fit? Of course not you go down to hardware store and buy the bits and pieces we are told are “right for the job”. The removing of thought from most things has been on going for some time.
Now for me I spend most of my life up and down financially as even when I was with my ex partner and having a great salary her expenditure was a struggle to control. We had the house, the car, 5 horses, ate out most of the time etc.
My salary then was around ten times greater than most of the people I knew from school and generally it was gone at the end of the month due to everything being on finance to keep up with my ex’s desire to compete with the neighbours. But here is what changed.
I left after a problem in the relationship and within the first month I had already saved nearly £3,000 even though was still burdened by debt left over from the relationship. How? because I didn’t eat out and if I did it was lunch time at work that meant my night time meal wasn’t a big curry take out but often was even skipped if not something simple. I began cooking more and at the same time because I had regained my financial control I started to use my remainder at the end of the month for paying off huge chunks of debt instead of thinking “hey lets party!”.
I began to get debt free to the point where I am today living in a completely debt free environment on the other side of the world in the Philippines. If anything I have learned we don’t need most of the stuff we are told are “essential” or this years big item! Even in the U.S. people are waking up to the fact they are sold lies daily and the American dream has changed including the idealism of consumerism. They have realised the last iPhone didn’t enhance their lives so generally don’t buy the new mobile because its irrelevant except as a fashion accessory. That’s all part and parcel of living in a shipping container because its not about “getting by” but actually taking control of your life.
Here in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated by church masses and giving food to neighbours the giving of presents is something being leaked in from the U.S. but thank god most people haven’t bought into it. Personally I actually tell people not to buy me gifts but instead save their money. Not because I am too tight to buy for others but simply most of the time people buy stuff for each other they neither need or want. I would rather someone took the cash and paid off a bit of their credit card because that’s a Christmas gift that keeps giving and not only makes me happy but also helps them get debt free.
This is how it gets on to the right type of people for Shipping container homes as its often down to what people want and need in life. There has been a lot of interest in the single mother living in a shipping container home she built for less than $4,000 but in reality it was her financial restraints that led her into this type of life. For others its being environmental,minimalistic or wanting control of their own lives. For me its a case of minimalist living and being debt free while achieving home ownership. Its not for everyone which is why people either get it or don’t.
This is a bit of an odd scenario to be in as I have been hearing for the last year about shortages of shipping containers in specific areas. But now we are starting to see the downsizing of trade and ships taking goods from Asia into Europe with Maersk as well as other companies cutting 20% of its capacity between the regions and no doubt as things continue to worsen that will reduce further.
This does put at risk the shipping container home movement as obviously the less containers to go around, the less viable shipping container homes because of containers starting to maintain a value and the scale of imports and exports may actually improve due to the growth in Asian economies, as people start to want more European products as things level out.
The green movement will no doubt approve of the decline at the same time those just wanting an affordable home may need more convincing.
I have recently started looking into plywood furniture construction here in the Philippines and for multiple reasons. For shipping container homes it makes sense as you can construct some very multi functional furniture very easily which suits the needs of shipping container homes. But just as much so in many countries you can get things pre-cut at the store you buy it from giving you perfectly straight edges for your projects if you arrive with a cutting list.
On top of that budget wise plywood can offer some good finishes on projects and not look tacky. Here in the Philippines often furniture is overpriced and has poor laminate finishing which often breaks its seal and begins to blister and peel quickly. Plywood in many cases can replace a lot of this substandard products with something more unique,usable and custom made.
I used to look at ply sheeting as an inferior product until recent years where its mass produced nature and cost make it viable for many things and not just things like interior cladding of a shipping container. The fold down bed from the wall for example is one of those projects that can be done with plywood reducing costs of materials but also means the bed is only needed during the evening and conveniently folded away afterwards. I have prepared a space already for constructing the bed project myself as an experiment, but can already see the benefits of the double bed space if the bed is removed during the day.
I keep hearing people saying how bad the idea is for shipping container homes due to cost of moving the units as well as the space but is it really?
In reality a shipping container home can be built modular and with a small skill base, no architect, no builders, no big expenses so why is it wrong?
When you have bugs who do you call? Get the yellow pages!
When you want chicken for dinner do you go to the farmer next door or the supermarket?
These are reasons why shipping container homes are shunned upon because it breaks the consumerism barrier where your told you have to do something instead of thinking about how can I do it.
A shipping container home gives not only opportunity and a home but freedom and although you make have a bit of a pitched battle going on to get it sited its worth it.
When I look at costs of construction and mortgages its very quick to see that you can save 1/3rd if not more on cost because you reducing labour as well as being able to do it in affordable stages.
I have an added advantage of fighting the corner of the shipping container home movement in that I do have an internet troll with nothing better to do than be negative. Odd thing about shipping container homes is I have yet to meet anyone who built one that said it was a bad or wrong idea. Why? because normally they are debt free because they did most of the work themselves.
Although this shipping container isn’t a home I thought its design was a bit interesting in the use of trellis work to hide the metal side at the same time still allowing air to grow through no doubt once the plants develop it will give the building a bit of shade similar in the way I was talking before about building trellis slightly away from the sides of containers to allow airflow as well along the gap formed between trellis and container side. But also looking at the container more closely it becomes pretty obvious a simple restaurant or canteen can be formed without too much work with the ability to add extension roof canopies off the shipping container to extend the seating area etc. Which many people may assume isn’t ideal at the same time like here in the Philippines most people are concerned about the quality of the food and a bit of shade over most other things. So for a budget restaurant could easily see it working here.