Shipping container homes have their appeal; they’re durable, cost-effective, and quick to construct. That’s all good to hear, but can they compete with traditional constructions when it comes to design?
We have a list of 35 container homes that say yes!
1. Prince Road Container House
Let’s kick off our list of the top shipping container homes with something bold, quirky, and inspiring: Price Road Container House (PRCH) in St. Augustine, Florida.
When Hurricane Irma uprooted an oak tree that destroyed his house, Rob DePiazza didn’t despair. Instead, he decided to start over with nine shipping containers and some friends.
This time around, he let his artistic side take over with seemingly-hanging containers, MCM furniture, and kooky murals!
If this industrial style sounds appealing to you, consider booking a night or two at the PRCH.
2. The Smithey’s Home
Next on the list is Zack and Brie Smithey’s container home in St. Charles, Missouri.
The Smithey’s were drawn to the idea of affordable and upcycled homes. However, they didn’t hold back from showing off their unique style with a striped paint job that adds some pizzazz to the eight-container structure.
Although this was the couple’s first attempt at building container homes, the project was a complete success.
In fact, Zack took his passion one step further. He started a design and consultation company to help others build their dream container homes!
3. Sheridan’s Avant-Garde Home
One of Smithey’s clients was Travis Sheridan, who wanted an artsy house that stood out from the crowd.
Sheridan included his house on the neighborhood tour in 2019 as St. Louis’ first container home.
Aside from sharing his art collection, Sheridan finds that the tour is a good way of reflecting southern hospitality.
4. Air Castle Treehouse
Steve and Nancy, a couple from Texas, decided to let their dreams soar high (quite literally) with their Air Castle.
With six floors, the home stands 50 feet tall. That’s rather impressive when you consider that Steve only used four shipping containers for this project. He did use a crow’s nest for the upper parts, though.
The good news is that you can rent this towering beauty of a farmhouse for the night if you’re ever in Ladonia!
5. Guest House
Why don’t we step away from the enthusiast’s approach to container homes for a moment and check out an architect’s take?
Jim Poteet (owner of Poteet Architects) had to step into the world of container houses to help a client build her dream house in San Antonio.
So, of course, Poteet hit the nail on the head with a single-container and energy-efficient Guest House.
If you’re ever in Denver’s Zuni Park and looking for a cozy rental, you might want to check out Regan and Libby Foster’s Container52. It’ll even work for hosting events!
After all, Container52 is a 4,000-square-foot property made of nine shipping containers.
The Fosters knew they wanted a recycled house, but settling on containers as the main material took a while.
Then, the couple consulted BlueSky Studio to help them get that luxurious vibe. However, Regan also worked on the construction himself.
All in all, the couple spent around $500,000 on Container52.
7. Riverside Hideout
The handcrafted Riverside Hideout in Dover, Ohio, proves that container homes (or cabins, in this case) can still be dazzling without fancy exteriors.
The container looks as raw as you’d expect it to be from the outside. However, from the inside, it’s eclectic and surprisingly well-crafted. It seems like the family behind the cabin has excellent craftsmanship!
What really makes this tiny residence so unique is its location; it sits across the street from the Dover Dam and overlooks the Mighty Tuscarawas River.
8. Sea Train House
Imagine a salvage yard with tons of graffiti in an industrial area of downtown Los Angeles.
Wouldn’t a designer container home with a rusty gate and a lush garden at the back complement the aesthetic perfectly?
Richard Carlson’s Sea Train House is here to prove that the answer is a firm yes.
The brilliant architects behind the design are Jennifer Siegal and Kelly Bair from the Office of Mobile Design.
Each of the eight steel containers costs around $1,500, but it’s unclear how much the entire property (fish pond included) costs.
9. Amagansett Modular
Amagansett Modular is one of the most complex container homes in the Hamptons. MB Architecture worked on prototypes for nine years before the house was finally completed in 2019.
The Amagansett’s design makes it look like it’s embracing a single oak tree between its six containers.
MB Architecture’s typical prefab design involves only four containers. However, the architects had to use two more (a total of 1,800 square feet) since the client wanted more living space.
10. Beach Box
While Amagansett Modular is impressive, it wasn’t the first container home to pop up in the Hamptons; Andrew Anderson’s 2,000-square-foot Beach Box came first.
This one is also made of six shipping containers, but it’s only three blocks from the shore. Four containers make up the first floor, and the other two are perched on top with views of the Atlantic.
Interestingly, Anderson listed the property for a whopping $1,395 million back in 2012.
11. Old Lady Home
Adam Kalkin is known for his innovative work with shipping containers. He even collaborated with major brands like Whole Foods.
However, the Old Lady Home in Califon, New Jersey, is one of his best projects.
Don’t let the name fool you into thinking it’s a tiny nook for a granny, though.
On the contrary, the 4,000-square-foot structure is almost like an art installation—an $875,000 (2018 listing price) art installation.
The house is split into two wings with a courtyard in the middle. On the second floor, a deck bridges the wings.
12. Adriance House
The Adriance house in Northern Maine is another marvelous Adam Kalkin design.
However, this one differs from the other container homes on the list. Kalkin used 12 shipping containers to support a frame of glazed glass on the sides and a solid ceiling on top. Even the garage doors are made of glass.
The best part of the design? That would be how natural light flows from the oversized glass door into the living space — at least, that’s what the owner, Anne Adriance, thinks.
13. The Woodside Container
If you browse the Airbnb listings in Millersburg, Ohio, you might come across the Woodside Container.
Interestingly, the host, Keith, is the one who built the house himself. Keith used six containers (different sizes) to create a 1,600-square-foot residence with a minimalist interior.
14. Boulder’s Eccentric Net-Zero House
Mark Gelband and Courtney Loveman had to work around the local zoning ordinances in Boulder, Colorado, to build their dream home: quirky and energy-efficient.
They had to incorporate wood into the design and later fit the two shipping containers. However, they did use reclaimed wood to match their green message.
Plus, they ensured each nook and cranny echoed their eccentric character, from the “whale spine” metal staircase to the artwork blasted all around the house.
For some reason, though, Gelband and Loveman put it up for sale in 2020. The listing price was a hefty $3.15 million.
15. Envase Casa
The 1,920-square-foot Envase Casa is Utah’s largest freestanding container house (six containers), but that’s not the only appeal.
When Jarad and Kristy Brinkerhoff decided to take on this project, they picked the perfect location: the property is only a short drive from Zion National Park.
It did take the family a couple of years to finish their staggered-looking house, though.
16. SeaUA Housing
While the SeaUA in Brookland isn’t a single-family home, we couldn’t leave it off this list. After all, it’s Washington DC’s first-ever housing building made out of shipping containers.
In just seven months, Travis Price Architects managed to finish a three-floor building. Although Catholic University students moved into SeaUA right away, it’s unclear how much the rent is per room.
17. Lomax Housing
DC isn’t the only place with a container housing complex; Dallas has its own affordable (yet incredibly colorful) project.
Dallas’ Lomax Container Housing Project is a collaboration between CitySquare Housing (a non-profit), Merriman Anderson Architects, and Falcon Structures.
So far, the rent for each of the 19,300-square-foot apartments is $906.
All in all, the Lomax hits two birds with one stone. Aside from solving the housing problem, it’s also one way to upcycle old shipping containers.
Hopefully, the concept will be replicated all over the DFW metropolitan area!
18. Squirrel Park
One more container housing that had to make it on our list is Squirrel Park in Oklahoma City.
This one was designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM). So what brings a London-based architecture firm to Oklahoma City, you ask?
Well, the client was an Oklahoma resident and restaurateur who wanted to give back to the community by creating something beautiful in a neighborhood with high incarceration rates.
So, the client contacted AHMM and asked them if they could bring his vision to life.
With a budget of $1 million and 16 shipping containers, AHMM designed a housing development of four houses and a lot of greenery. The client resides in one and rents the others at competitive rates to help people needing a second chance.
19. Appalachian Container Cabin
If you’re a fan of the show Containables, you might already be familiar with Nick Skytland’s Appalachian Container Cabin featured in the season premiere.
The cabin is fairly simple. It’s just a 280-square-foot single-story building with three containers. However, the view from the mountaintop is breathtaking!
It’s safe to say that Skytland, the owner, picked one of the best spots in all of Otto, North Carolina. Notably, Nick’s wife, Krista, handled the interior design—she kept it modern.
The cabin is available for rent if you’d like to check out the view of the Nantahala National Forest.
20. The McConkey Residence
While we’re on the topic of breathtaking views, we have to mention The McConkey Residence.
This one sits on the edge of a canyon in California’s San Diego County with a lakeside view.
Just like the Appalachian Container Cabin, the McConkey is made of three containers, but its area is 800 square feet. The ceilings were also kept high to add a lofty feel to the modern design.
OBR Architecture, also based in San Diego, is behind the design.
21. The Oaks Helm
The Oaks Helm is a for-rent vacation house in Waco made of two shipping containers: a 40-foot one for the first floor and a 20-foot container on top.
As a result, the entire house looks like one elongated strip, but it still maintains a cozy vibe.
Plus, once you sit on the sunroof and soak in the view of all the greenery around the property, you’ll get where the “oaks” in the name come from.
However, it’s important to note that this is actually one of CargoHome’s designs.
22. Gold Container House
If one house proves that upcycling and luxury aren’t mutually exclusive, it will be the Gold Container House in Phoenix, Arizona.
The exterior still looks like good-old shipping containers, but the inside tells a different story. It’s a 2,969-square-foot house with a 500-foot elevated view of the city.
The garage? Well, it’s spacious enough to accommodate four cars!
This approach to container homes makes sense if you consider Jorge Salcedo’s (the engineer behind GCH) previous projects—spoiler alert: they’re all massive.
Currently, the property is listed at $610,000 if you’re looking for a residence that balances Arizona’s city and rural life.
23. OG Box Hop
Seth and Emily Britt have shared the dream of owning a container house since their college days.
Let’s just say they’ve been more than successful in achieving this dream; the couple runs not one but three vacation homes.
The Britts started with the OG Box Hop in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. It’s made of three shipping containers and has a fabulous ravine view.
After that, the couple expanded their brand with the Boho and Hygge Box Hops.
24. Ebeling House
Interestingly, the company that helped the Britts with the Hygge Box Hop has quite the cargotecture portfolio.
ThreeSquared is a Detroit-based company and design firm specializing in turning containers into family, commercial, and mixed-use buildings.
One of the company’s projects that stands out is the 2,600-square-foot Ebeling single-family house in Bruce Township, Michigan.
Its geometric design elements add modernity to the steel containers’ industrial aesthetic.
25. Cochrane Home
While Threesquared has a few completed residential container buildings, even more designs are pending construction, and the Cochrane Home is one of them.
The 1,800-square-foot house is to be built in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood. The company plans to include IVB steel and wood in the construction.
Hands down, the highlight of the design is the alleyway that bridges the house to a nearby garage. The garage itself mimics the house’s monochromatic exterior.
Rob DePiazza’s PRCH wasn’t the only shipping container house that bloomed from the devastation of a natural disaster.
Kicker Kalozdi’s family suffered a lot during Hurricane Katrina.
Later on, when he and his wife wanted to get a house of their own, they decided to opt for something untraditional. The couple didn’t mind the industrial vibes of raw container walls at all.
The Kalozdis’ KAN house was featured on Apartment Therapy if you want to take a look inside.
27. PV14 House
Michael Gooden (from M Gooden Design) first experimented with container houses in his iconic PV14 House in Dallas, Texas.
White Rock Park is right across the street, and the house is elevated. So, the property gets quite the view of the lake.
PV14 is around 3,700 square feet and comprises 14 shipping containers. However, the house also incorporates other construction materials, including a concrete pier, beam foundation, and a CMU masonry veneer.
28. Cinco Camp
In the middle of the Texas desert landscape sits the simple structure of five containers that’s Roger Black’s Cinco Camp.
Cinco Camp costs about $161,000 to $200,000, mostly because its remote location made construction difficult.
Mark T. Wellen, the architect, believes that the costs could’ve been cut in half if it weren’t for the off-grid location.
However, this remoteness is actually what Roger Black adores about the property; it makes the camp the perfect place to unwind from the hectic city life!
How remote, you ask? The kind of remote that’s a 45-minute drive from the nearest town. Only a reliable 4WD vehicle can get you there.
29. The Hinckle House
Picture this: a retired couple decides to sell their home and build their dream home, which just happens to be out of steel containers.
Dave and Jamie Hinckle hop on Craigslist and get themselves a nice piece of land in Kalama, Washington.
Then, they get the necessary permits in order, buy two shipping containers, and get to work as hard as they can.
All of a sudden, Dave suffers from a life-threatening stroke.
A different couple might have given up on the project at this point. Yet, the Hinckles jumped right back on site after Dave’s release from the hospital and kept up the good spirits until construction was over.
In fact, Dave found that working on the project helped him recover.
While the 406-square-foot Hinckle house might not be as luxuriant as other homes on the list, its inspirational story of resilience and passion makes it amazing!
30. Union Pier Container Home
While some designers embrace the rugged and industrial feel of shipping containers, Susan Fredman (from Stone Throw’s Interiors) went a different route.
She wanted the Michigan container house to blend seamlessly into the neighborhood. So the overall aesthetic bounces between the traditionalism of wood and the industrial design elements in the facade.
The Union Pier property was sold for $652,500 back in 2019.
31. Canon City Container Cabin
The Canon City Container Cabin is a retreat with a stunning view of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
Tomeck Studio handled the design for the owners and built the concept around seven shipping containers with structural reinforcements for the ends.
Overall, the most eye-catching feature of this house is how the facade reflects the sky during the day.
32. Catskills Contanium
If you’re into modular homes, you’ve probably heard of Contanium, which sells (and customizes) container cabins.
Well, one of their cabins currently sits in the Catskills Mountains and is available for rent.
While the interior is luxurious and well-braced for the harsh winters, the whole construction is pretty simple; it’s just a single 20-foot shipping container.
The cabin’s guests must also prepare themselves for the outhouse experience since the container doesn’t have a toilet. However, the serene location (a few hours from New York City) is well worth it!
33. Carroll House
Stepping away from the Catskills and onto Brooklyn’s Monitor Street, you’ll find one of the most peculiar container constructions ever: the Carroll House.
The LOT-EK architectural firm designed this 21-container home for two restaurateurs, Joe and Kim Carroll, who wanted an industrial aesthetic.
However, the industrial facade isn’t really what makes this house stand out from the rest of the buildings on Monitor Street.
Instead, the diagonal cut gives the property its unique character. It just makes the house look like it’s floating!
In 2021, the house was listed for a mighty $5 million.
34. C-Home Hudson
Yet another innovative shipping container house by LOT-EK is the C-Home in Claverack Red Mills, New York.
LOT-EK used six containers to create a total living space of 1,920 square feet.
Keep in mind that the term “C-Home” now refers to a prefabricated/modular design that comes in multiple sizes.
The smallest is a single-story 320-square-foot studio with a starting price of $85,000.
35. The Starburst House
Finally, we wrap up our list with a jaw-dropping design to be built in the middle of the California desert.
The Joshua Tree Starburst design concept by Whitaker Studio has been gaining quite the buzz for the past couple of years.
It got to the point where the house was listed for $3.5 million back in 2020 before construction even began.
There’s no official word on the progress so far, but the Starburst house is bound to be groundbreaking once it’s completed!
Whether it’s the industrial feel, the ability to stack up containers in unique designs, or a heartwarming story, a lot can make a cargotecture construction truly amazing.
What do you think? Would you give shipping container houses a shot?