Beautiful Two-Story 4x40ft and 1x20ft Shipping Container Home, Santa Barbara, California

Floor plans
3D Renderings
About AB Design
About Barber Builders
About McFadden Design Group
About Ashely & Vance

ProjectHO:ME 296
ArchitectureAB Design
BuilderBarber Builders
Interior DesignMcFadden Design Group
Landscape ArchitectGreens Landscape
Structural and Civil EngineerAshely & Vance
Electrical EngineerJMPE
Area2,435 SF
Containers4x40ft, 1x20ft
LocationSanta Barbara, California

Description from architects:

How did the architects create a luxury, single-family container-based residence in Santa Barbara County that infused the owners’ distinct personalities?

Schulte Lane captures the essence of AB design studio’s ethos of “inspiration through collaboration.” From concept to completion, the studio strategically maintained a collaborative relationship with key stakeholders at every level to realize this high-end, container-based dwelling in Santa Barbara County—the first of its kind to be permitted in the area.

Entrusting AB design studio with their vision, the owners—an environmental attorney and a fashion stylist—wanted a sustainable and elegant contemporary home that complemented their personalities and occupational passions. The result is a two-story residence, seamlessly integrating five reclaimed shipping containers, nestled into the lush Santa Barbara hillside. The upper level consists of four 40-foot containers that form the master suite and bedroom spaces, separated by a dramatic central stairwell and corridor with skylight. On an open first floor plan, the architects combined living spaces and kitchen to create a center of activity and area for entertaining. The space’s main focal point is an exposed 20-foot shipping container that was transformed into a pantry and scullery.

AB design studio worked closely with Barber Builders to ensure a timely construction process, and with Greens Landscape, Inc. to create a drought-tolerant landscape. The architects incorporated green strategies, such as photovoltaic and bio-retention systems, along with high life-cycle materials, including concrete and structural steel. Together with McFadden Design Group, the studio balanced the rawness evoked by eco-conscious elements against highly refined interior spaces featuring weathered oak-stained wood, minimalist finishes, and modern fixtures. Blurring the line between indoor/outdoor spaces is an expansive floor-to-ceiling, folding glass door system that opens up to showcase unobstructed views of an 85-foot swimming pool and sweeping canyon vista.

Description from SteelBlox 

Bret and Dani Stone, long time residents of Santa Barbara, CA had a goal, and there simply was no stopping them from seeing it become a reality. Building a world class industrial modern home, using recycled shipping containers as the core building element, is no small task. When you add the complexity of doing this in one of the most prestigious communities in the US, that challenge becomes exponentially more difficult. The key from the start was to assemble the right team. The right team can mean many things, but in this case the assignment was clear. They needed a team who:

  • Understood the vision
  • Respected timelines and budgets
  • Could deliver a phenomenal home

The journey began by hiring ABdesign studio. The local architecture firm who specializes in modern designed structures, and use of alternative building materials like shipping containers delivered a spectacular design. 

The next step was finding a builder who could deliver the product on time and on budget. Bid after bid came in well above what the Stone's wanted to spend. It seemed the project was doomed. Along came the team from Steelblox. Don Barber and Al Harris both, Co-founders of Steelblox put there heads together to figure out a strategy to make this concept a reality. They tapped into the many resources accumulated over the years to figure out a hybrid shipping container modular home concept, that would help the Stone's see the plan come together.  

Over the next 12 months an amazing shipping container home in California began to take shape. With site work (grading, foundation, utility connections etc) and steel fabrication taking place simultaneously, the project moved along at light speed. A plan executed so flawlessly, there was not a single change order though-out the build. 

In addition to the normal modular components, the shipping container home was delivered with highly specialized details typically found only in custom site built homes. Poured in place concrete walls and floors, exposed steel beams, custom cabinetry and casework, and custom exterior flatwork and pool coping are just a few of the elements that makes this project and the work exceptional. 

Description from Barber Builders

The Client

Barber Builders built my dream home out of shipping containers! The work ethic and attention to detail exceeded my expectations. Don is an artist and demands perfection. He builds to his own high standards.

Bret Stone - Homeowner

The Journey

A newly found labor of love, Don and his team came to embrace the challenges of using Shipping Containers as a unique and powerful building material to help the Stone's realize a truly dramatic result. All while maintaining a highly energy efficient "green" built structure.

Don attributes the end result to the level of effort put into early stage details. From understanding the Shipping Container and its native qualities, to pushing back on structural requirements that did not enhance the building process or efficiencies intended. The process was a true learning experience for our entire team.

"We left this project fully equipped with a new set of educational tools that will enhance our firm for many years to come."

The Team

A fantastic team of dedicated professionals helped to bring our project together. The vision, dedication and commitment made all the difference in making our dream shipping container home in California a reality.