Working From Home In A Shipping Container

Working from home often isn’t easy if its not the kids its other distractions during your working hours that appear. Fact is though having a shipping container for working from home in the back garden or other location separates home and work spaces. I remember back in the UK wanting an office space away from the house for the convenience of keeping people off my work area. Nothing worse than dealing with an important client on the phone to find your pen and notepad are missing. Discussing it later to find out you had a 2 year old visit and your partner decided to let them use it as a scribbling pad. Arguments then ensue and the “but its only a pen” response inflames the situation more.

Working from home in a shipping container creates harmony as you can simply lockup your office when you leave and you also know its a secure structure reducing the risk of burglary at the same time saving marriages.

The other side of this being it keeps people out of your house which in some cases needs to happen. Over the years working in the construction field you come across the odd drug addict from time to time where nobody notices their habit until things start disappearing. Out of sight, out of mind is always the best policy.

Waying up all the options though its also the fact having a shipping container office is also cheap making it more practical than many of the other buildings on the market. I remember looking at a spruce cabin before and seeing a £10,000 price tag on it where a container before starting installing windows,doors and delivery came in at £200 at that time. Doesn’t take much considering which is the better option for the budget especially when the money you save you can have a much more secure and creature comfort office with new chairs and other furniture for the same budget.

Shipping Container Backyard Office For Architects

Berkeley-based architect/owners Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger’s bought an $1,800 refrigerated shipping container and transformed it into a backyard office/studio.

Cutting out openings allowed large windows to be installed as well as putting the shipping container into a T formation. The fact that the insulation already existed in the container as well as the interior of the container being “food grade” meant that it didn’t need as much work as a basic container and those paranoid about toxic paints its unlikely to have any ill affects due to its previous type of use.

The architects may have had doubts about the viability of shipping containers for this use previously but as you can see in the video themselves they are more than happy with the result.


Container Habitacionales offers up showing how container construction can be a swift construction method as well as “clean finish” allowing quick mobilisation of purpose built prefabricated container buildings straight to location. At the same time pre-wired and plumbed also means they are quick to hook up and get working on site fully functional. More of an industrial and construction type of buildings inline with site offices etc. rather than a home. But even so a practical solution.

Shipping Container Office

Shipping container office 

During 2005 Stephen Shoup founder of design and build company ding LAB inc. purchased a furniture and woodcarving building they wanted to convert into a live/workspace. This then was outgrown as Shoup became a father so he began developing a plan to increase the space to create more room in the backyard. He created the office using an old retired freezer and a shipping container formed in an L shape.

The exterior of the Shipping container was then covered with cement board panels by CertainTeed as well as redwood. Hidden beneath the exterior panels is a layer of exterior coat insulation. The shipping container sides were filled with batt insulation and then covered with rigid insulation with a radiant barrier.

Inside the office you will find a drain back water based radiant heating system that is connected up to a 200 gallon holding tank as well as two 4′x8′ solar thermal panels. Cork flooring was used on the interior as well as the walls being covered with reclaimed fir and Homasote panels.

The window you can see in the photo was recovered from a salvage yard as well as the sliding door. Wherever possible recycled materials were used price wise the project came in at around $150sqft.

Shipping container office Shipping container office

Shipping container office plans

shipping container office (32 inter connected containers) Road Island – Box Office 460



This is a rather interestingly designed building that makes a colourful modern statement. Built from 32 recycled shipping containers it offers 12 office/studio units for business rentals. Constructed on a waste piece of land in road island previously the Harris Lumber yard. you can see how swiftly the construction came about in the video below. Another reason why shipping containers make an ideal modular framework.

Shipping Container Police Station – Polizei Germany

Originally the police used to use a Volkswagen van outside the Turkish consulate in Hannover but a new idea was put forward by an architect from Gesamtkonzept to use a shipping container as a police outpost. Part of his response on the idea to the police in the matter is shown below from the architect :-

Because this police car is placed at an exposed location and did not look particularly attractive in the cityscape, Mr. Wilhelmsen had the idea of designing a new, modern solution for a mobile station. His claim here was both to create a high quality and mobile architecture, as well as to establish an open and transparent working place for the police officers, that also can be produced quickly and inexpensively.


With these ideas and a first feasibility study we approached the heads of the local police commissioner’s office. Other than initially expected, the officials enthusiastically accepted the design, because they too were of the opinion that there was need for action concerning the old aged police bus.


Quickly they managed to overcome the bureaucratic, which often bar the way to project realization. Because all the responsible bodies indicated their approval we soon were able to carry on with the planning in close cooperation with the police to a ready for implementation state.

Dealing with local government in the UK I have had many issues over all I can say stupidity. For example contracts have to have a minimum of 3 bids from an approved contractor list for which this sort of building wouldn’t fit into as the providers of such buildings wouldn’t be on the contractor list in the first place. At the same time getting on the list also has a lot of strange requirements such as a minimum of 6 employees where for a maintenance company it may only need 2 to service an entire county for schools  and colleges. Which is why this “common sense” approach where an architect can contact the correct people and get the work done without all the usual headaches is an achievement in itself but more so it shows that an old bus has now become a functioning police station that enhances the area instead of making it look worse. Good going on the architect and would be nice to see more shipping container police stations that are obviously a visual deterrent but also something that can look good as well.


shipping container - police outpost shipping container - police outpost   shipping container - police outpost shipping container - police outpost image

image image image


Images credit Nils Günther

Shipping container alterations to an office / building

Con global container alterations

I added this video from Con global to show how seriously many people are starting to take the container conversion business. Currently im in the Philippines and getting good containers can be difficult. But soon enough we will be purchasing some and begin to show you how to convert one from a box to a home. It wont be easy as access to where they will become home is difficult at best. They will be needing cut into sections to get to the land. But either way this also shows if your serious about containers and maybe starting a business. YouTube could also be a good sales tool.