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






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About Barber Builders

Architecture: AB Design
Builder: Barber Builders
Area: 2,435 SF
Containers: 4x40ft, 20ft
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Year: 2017

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.