DIY Your Own Shipping Container House

By The Editors
August 7, 2015 9:00 am

Shipping containers: once the ignominious poster child for marine-industrial blight, they’re increasingly being utilized as a popular building material for homes around the world. And for good reason.

Used, a shipping container can cost as little as $2,000. Considering you can make a livable, commodious home out of a single 40-foot shipping container, that’s a serious bargain.

Of course, your outlay will climb (substantially) when you add in architect fees, insulation, permits and everything else. But the humble shipping container still offers a unique opportunity for creative, DIY types — especially those with a bit of land on hand — to make a giant steel box into a home.

To wit: five examples — at a range of different sizes and build prices — to help you get started.

Architect Matt Mooney’s 3,700-square-foot Dallas home is made from 14 shipping containers. 

Photo credit: Wade Griffith

This upstate New York retreat designed by Tim Steele rests 40-foot containers on a base made of 20-foot containers. 

Located just 20 minutes outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, this residence by Benjamin Garcia Saxe cost around $40,000 to build. 

The sloping roof on this Wuxi, China, home was created by connecting the top of two containers to a single one below — leaving a large living space between them and room for a garden above. 

Architect Jim Poteet reworked this single shipping container for a San Antonio artist, who split the space between a guest room (with large glass windows) and a garden shed toward the back.

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