Shipping containers were designed to move anywhere in the world; there are cranes and ships and trucks designed to move them. They were designed to be secure. They were designed to resist anything nature could throw at them. They were designed for freight, not people.
That’s one reason I have been dubious about shipping container architecture; These boxes were not designed to be sliced and diced and tied down to one spot. They want to move.
Living big in a tiny house/Video screen capture
And it’s why I love Evans’ house in a 20 foot shipping container, shown on Living Big in a Tiny House and picked up by Tiny House Talk; it is designed to move. It seals up tight like a shipping container should so that you cannot even tell there is a house inside.
Living big in a tiny house/Video screen capture © Caru Containers Living big in a tiny house/Video screen capture
When it is opened up, it is another world. Evans is a boat builder, and has applied the lessons of boat interior design: storage everywhere, beautiful woodwork, compact multifunctional design. I have often wondered why tiny houses looked so much like, well, tiny houses, instead of learning more from the boat world, with its durable finishes, clever storage, and tiny but workable kitchens with a place for everything.
Here, the boat building experience shows, in the kitchen with its high table that can double as a work island, and its single bed for daily use, the sofa below that pulls out to a double.
It should be noted that this is not a standard container that you can pick up really cheaply; it is a full-side access box designed for extra-large machinery. They have reinforced roofs and a side wall made of doors, which is more costly than a solid wall of corrugated steel; There are not a lot of used ones hanging around; the best price I could find online for one was about US$ 4,000.
However that is still pretty cheap, and they are clearly wonderful for building a house that moves; you get to design as if there is no side wall, and then seal it up tight with proper container hardware. It’s a brilliant move.
Like a lot of RVs, it has dual systems; the lighting is all 12V DC and can run on or off the grid. Batteries and tanks fit in the corner behind the fridge. The toilet is RV style macerating, so its output can go to a sewer or a tank for pump-out.
Evans has bigger plans, to add more containers and use the open wall to build a wider space, to eventually settle down. But right now, it is truly a home in a box that can go anywhere in the world on a whim. That’s shipping container housing that makes sense. More images on Living big in a tiny house