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.

Two-Story Shipping Container Home Construction, California

New 2,435 sf two-story single family dwelling constructed with architectural concrete, steel and (5) ISBU shipping containers. (4) 40’ containers make up the majority of the 2nd floor creating a Master Suite comprised of (2) containers connected via a breezeway to two additional rooms comprised of (2) more 40’ containers. The fifth container is a 20’ ISBU and is located in the lower level great room serving as a pantry / storage area behind the kitchen. The southern facade is all glass that opens up to the patio and the view through the canyon. The home is built into the hillside and steps down to the patio and pool area below.

DESIGN TEAMClay Aurell, AIA | Josh Blumer, AIA | Robert Pester
TITLE 24Inger Associates

3 Bedroom Shipping Container Home Floor Plans, California

Two-Story Four 40ft and One 20ft Shipping Container Home 3D Renderings, California

About AB Design (California)

AB design studio transforms ideas and concepts for living into beautiful shipping container homes and buildings, spaces and experiences. Every aspect of design is thoughtfully executed with passion and attention to detail using an interdisciplinary approach based in the principles of ENVD, environmental design. We bring a modern understanding of architecture with an appreciation for a variety of architectural styles. Utilizing innovative techniques and thoughtful use of materials we explore the potential of each design in order to translate it into practical, responsible and buildable projects like this shipping container home in California. Each project comes with its own set of opportunities, obstacles and considerations; to this we bring intentionality, experience and creativity.

AB design studio strives to unleash explorative context-based designs that allow us to creatively re-assess what a built environment can provide for its users and the future. We value creativity and a rigorous process of problem solving. ABds believes that creativity reaches well beyond the arts to affect disciplines in various industries. Problem solving isn't an ability, it's a mindset that drives people to proactively shape their environments. We believe that good design is good business.

Seeing is believing. We believe successful solutions are communicative, tangible and visible. AB design studio brings our projects to life using our unique visualization process. In addition to informing the assumptions in our design, this process produces highly creative and innovative concepts that emerge quickly and efficiently. The end result is a clear picture providing valuable project information that the project team and client can use to present and realize the design with local agencies, decision makers, consultants and builders.

Address in Santa Barbara, CA: 420 E HALEY ST SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
Phone: 8059632100
Address in Los Angeles, CA: 2234 BARRY AVE STE 100 LOS ANGELES, CA 90064

About Barber Builders (California)

Don Barber, President & Founder of Barber Builders

Living and working on the Central Coast of California for more than 30 years, Don has set Barber Builders apart with a simple hard work approach to getting things done. Shipping container home in Santa Barbara, California, has become a good example of quality work.

"My entire career has been about taking care of my clients needs with care and respect. I can't imagine doing it any other way. We're looking for great new challenges, and opportunities to grow our community with trust, care, and faith."

Hard Work

We appreciate the challenges of the day, and take them head on. Our crews are prompt and dedicated to the tasks at hand. We are goal oriented and work hard to keep timelines and budgets in good order.


Do the job, and do it right. Its a simple mantra, but it keeps our crews focused on success and delivering our clients out of this world results and this amazing shipping container home in California is a great example. Going the extra mile is just part of the race, and our clients should expect nothing less.


There are many choices in the marketplace, and when you choose Barber Builders for your project, it is greatly appreciated. We earn your business by building trust and delivering on our word. It has served us well over the years, and we think its the only way to grow a solid business in such an intimate community. Our clients become our best evangelists, as they share the journeys we've taken together.

Address809 Northpointe Place, Lompoc, CA 93436
Mailing AddressP.O. Box 723, Lompoc, CA 93438
Phone 1+18057357503
Phone 2+18058969648

About McFadden Design Group (California)

In the beautiful interior and decor elements of this incredible shipping container home in California we can see results of hard work of McFadden Design Group.

Transforming spaces has been a part of my life from a very early age . As a child I would constantly rearrange my parent’s living room until I felt it was ‘just right’. Even down to the smallest detail, I knew how a room made me feel when I entered it. My spatial and visual persistence eventually manifested itself into a career in design.

I began working in the art department of a Los Angeles production company where I designed and created sets, stages and vignettes for commercials, film and television. The demands of production meant quick turnarounds, strict budgets and client collaborations; all invaluable experiences I apply to my business today.

I later worked as a freelance stylist for a global retailer on their catalogs, books and magazines. This allowed me to travel to unique locations absorbing the different cultures where I learned to be creative with limited resources while creating settings layered with texture, history and locally sourced products.

Shortly after our first child was born, my husband and I returned to our hometown of Santa Barbara, CA where I launched McFadden Design Group. Here I have been fortunate to create a successful design/build business in both the residential and commercial fields.

Designing for restaurants and nightclubs provides me the freedom to push the boundaries of public spaces and draw from my experience with set design. Designing homes, including prefab homes and shipping container homes allows me to intimately collaborate with my client to create an atmosphere that reflects our combined vision.

I am currently in the pre-production stages of an eponymous textile line with plans to expand into home d├ęcor and a private label furniture line. Many of my clients have bespoke furniture designed by MDG studio.

When I am not working in design, you will find me working with my family's foundation, DJEMF and our herd of rescued and retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

This shipping container home in California has become another indicator of a high level of design.
Address3132 Argonne Cir, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, United States
Phone+1 805-448-0566

About Ashely & Vance

At Ashley & Vance Engineering, we value the building process – from plans, calculations and infrastructure to enduring relationships with people. Ashley & Vance Engineering is a civil and structural engineering firm that offers cost-conscious, practical and creative solutions, including solutions for shipping container homes for clients in California and all over the West. Our greatest desire is that our influence in each and every project is quality, creativity, and above all, integrity.

Valued as the firm’s greatest asset, our team is not only highly qualified, but they are ethical, talented people with strong leadership skills and deep-rooted community values. We have team members working in offices all over the United States, including California, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon, and we have been able to bridge the gaps traditionally posed by distance by fully embracing the benefits of technology for construction of prefabricated structures and modular shipping container homes.

Established in 2005, Truitt Vance originally founded the company out of his house, and later when Charles Ashley brought his expertise to the company, their mission was simple: to collaborate and to allow their construction experience to inform their design philosophies. Throughout the years and evolution of the company, our values have not changed. We continue to believe in practical, smart designs and we place great emphasis on our relationships both within the firm and with our clientele.

As we expanded to accommodate the burgeoning construction scene of the early 2000’s, we sought out skilled, knowledgeable engineers to join our team and maintain our mission of providing cost-effective and buildable engineering designs for various types of structures, including modular homes and shipping container homes in California. When the economy stalled in 2008, the business climate provided us an excellent opportunity to distill our company values and forge tight bonds within our firm. With every single employee still in place, we established company-wide traditions that would become integral in Ashley & Vance’s company culture. When the market started to turn more favorably, our team looked to future challenges with confidence, competence, and solidarity.

Civil Engineering

The civil group spans a wide spectrum of services that provide public and environmental benefits to many areas within our communities. We strive to come up with creative solutions that allow our clients to participate in the process of project development. It is our philosophy that we can provide the best service possible when we collaborate with all the team members.

  • Hydraulic Modeling 
  • Wastewater Stormwater 
  • Water Systems 
  • Low Impact Development (LID) 
  • Grading & Drainage Plans 
  • Public Right of Way Improvements Environmental Protection Plans

Creative, & economical solutions for a wide range of challenging projects:

The company has excellent examples of commercial construction, shipping container residential, industrial, institutional, public works, and renewable energy projects. These projects show how diversified our experience is for a large range of challenging work throughout the United States.

Strong Permitting Experience:

Federal, State, and local agency permitting experience in multiple jurisdictions throughout the western United States, shipping container homes permitting in California.

We also develop Preservation, Mitigation, and Enhancement (PME) plans for a variety of applications including, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), Erosion Control Plans, Hydraulic Studies, and CA Regional Water Board SMARTS System Compliance.

Structural Engineering

Our experienced staff is capable of providing structural engineering services throughout the United States. We are dedicated to efficient cost conscious solutions and we are confident our team has the capabilities necessary to complete your project.

We have the technical ability and experience necessary for your project whether it is an addition to your home, new custom home, shipping container home, commercial building, bridge, hospital, school, wastewater treatment plant, and everything in between.

  • Seismic Retrofits
  • Post Tensioned Concrete
  • High Lift Masonry
  • Tilt-up Concrete
  • Steel Moment Frame
  • Gluelaminated Timber
  • Composite Reinforced Concrete
  • Precast

Creative, & economical solutions for a wide range of challenging projects:

The company has excellent examples of commercial construction, residential, industrial, shipping container projects, institutional, public works, and renewable energy projects. These projects show how diversified our experience is for a large range of challenging work throughout the United States.

Structural permitting experience including shipping container homes permitting in California:

Construction Engineering

Our staff provides for shipping container homes construction administration services that includes onsite quality control, and on-site inspection for shipping container homes.

Additionally we provide services to contractors for construction plans requiring professional engineering design and approval. We provide value engineering for shipping container homes by collaboratively working with contractors and owners on many types of projects saving the owner money, and providing a better project.

Contractor Construction Plans:

  • Shoring
  • Pile
  • Crane Pads
  • Retaining Walls
  • Pipe Design
  • Thrust Blocks
  • Dewatering
  • Retrofits
  • 3D CAD modeling
  • Value Engineering
  • Temporary Erosion Control Plans
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP)

Toll Free(800) 549-8486

Bend, Oregon
Address33 NW Franklin Avenue, Suite 110, Bend, Oregon, 97703
Phone+1 541 647-1445

Reno, Nevada
Address7530 Longley Lane, Suite 105, Reno, Nevada, 89511
Phone+1 775 825-4945

Arvada, Colorado
Address9555 Ralston Road, Unit 201, Arvada, Colorado, 80002
Phone+1 303 755-9762

Rocklin, California — Sacramento Office
Address6960 Destiny Drive, Suite 109, Rocklin, California, 95677
Phone+1 916 790-3181

Pasadena, California — Los Angeles Office
Address600 S. Lake Avenue, Suite 308, Pasadena, California, 91106
Phone+1 323 744-0010

San Luis Obispo, California
Address1229 Carmel Street, San Luis Obispo, California, 93401
Phone+1 805 545-0010

Oakland, California
Address1729B Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, California, 94612
Phone+1 510 473-2221

Santa Barbara, California
Address210 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara, 93101
Phone+1 805 962-9966

More shipping container homes in California:

Shipping Container Homes California - Architects, Builders, Designers

McConkey Shipping Container Home, San Diego, California

Beautiful Shipping Container House Concept by Whitaker Studio, California

Low Cost Shipping Container Office Space, Los Angeles, California

20 ft shipping container home in Sacramento, California

Shipping Container Duplex House, Redondo Beach, California

Shipping containers in loft apartment, San Francisco, California

Modular Shipping Container Home in Mojave Desert, California

Refrigerated Shipping Container Home, San Francisco, California

192 sq ft Shipping Container Guest Cabin, San Francisco, California

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