Luxury Shipping Container House, Royal Oak, Michigan

Construction Process
About ModEco Development
About C3 UP

General ContractorModEco Development
BuilderC3 UP
Containers5x40 ft, 2x20 ft
Area2,350 sq ft
LocationRoyal Oak, Michigan, USA

Description by Zillow

Known around town as the shipping container house, this striking & eco-friendly residence made of 7 steel containers, providing 2,350 sq ft of modern living space. The industrial yet homey interior houses a mix of materials including steel, bamboo floors & exposed ductwork through the open floor plan.

Key features of the home: impressive 2-story living room with a wall of large windows providing ample natural light, a sleek gourmet kitchen, a large island, & a spacious dining area. Additional features of the 1st floor: office space, powder room, and a large laundry room. The 2nd level loft offers access to a relaxing zen garden balcony. A luxurious master suite waits at the end of the hall, complete with a private balcony, large custom walk-in closet, & a spa-like bath. Enjoy summers in the custom cedar-fenced yard just off an oversized 2-car attached garage. One-of-a-kind masterpiece!

Smart house: voice/smart phone controlled lights, thermostat, and more! Cameras all around the property. More efficient home. Cheaper heating and cooling cost. The roof is a commercial grade rubber roof that last forever with maintenance. Perfect blend of aesthetics inspired by high-end lofts, with the comfort of a luxury home.

Description by Realtor

Aaron Schnepp lives in the coolest house in town. That’s one of the reasons why he has to sell it.

The concept car designer and his wife made local headlines last year when they bought a 2,350-square-foot home in Royal Oak, MI. The home was made out of seven shipping containers.

Soon after closing, questions started stacking up for the owners: How much does it cost to heat? How’s your cellphone reception? How loud is it when it rains? The answers: less than a conventional house; great; and it’s a commercial-grade roof, so pretty much what you’d expect.

And they weren’t just getting questions at the grocery store—strangers would peer in the front windows, knock on the door, and ask to look inside. Somebody jumped his fence to check out the backyard. Four people drove up from Pittsburgh, nearly five hours away, to see the house.

Schnepp and his wife listed the house for $550,000 this month. They say they plan to build a second shipping container house in the area, ideally on property with more privacy.

To be fair, the questions from strangers were just a small part of why they’re selling. The main reason is that Schnepp is a designer, so he has a vision for the perfect house, and he’s obsessed with the details.

In the past 17 months, he’s replaced the home’s vinyl siding with wood, built a two-story wooden privacy screen, replaced the staircase and railings, added a dark wood accent wall in the kitchen, and repainted throughout.

The result is a stunning industrial-style house that’s unlike anything on the market in this wealthy Detroit suburb.

But Schnepp’s still not satisfied, and at some point it became easier to think about building from the ground up to exact specifications, rather than continuing to make minor tweaks to the existing house.

“I’m concerned that people are going to think we hate the house. But it’s not that at all; we love it. If the house doesn’t sell, we’ll happily live here for the next 10 years,” Schnepp says. “It’s because I’m so picky. The floor color is light brown, and I want it dark brown. Most people wouldn’t care, but I do.”

Schnepp’s attention to detail is readily apparent in this picture-perfect three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home.

The exterior features wood, metal, and stone. At first glance, the home doesn’t look like it’s made out of shipping containers, given its rich wood and brick accents and large picture windows.

It’s easier to see its maritime transportation origins inside: The living room walls still bear the blue-and-yellow logo of Hong Kong–based Florens, the world’s second-largest container leasing company. The home’s lower level is spare and modern, with frosted-glass entrance doors, dark gray walls, exposed ductwork, and an open-concept kitchen with dark cabinetry and white granite countertops.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is painted dark gray and purple and adorned with a dramatic chandelier. There’s a walk-in closet, a private patio, and a separate Zen garden–inspired balcony. Elsewhere, the home’s backyard has custom cedar fencing, and there's a two-car attached garage.

The house was built by Michigan-based C3 UP, which specializes in shipping container homes and businesses. The company makes tiny container homes that start at $31,500, and full-size shipping container houses like Schnepp’s starting at $125,000.

There are an estimated 17 million shipping containers in existence today. Buying a used container from a reseller starts at around $2,500, depending on size, condition, and location. But a house this cool is practically priceless.

Description by Detroitnews

Dark red steel stretches two stories high inside Aaron and Grace Schnepp’s Royal Oak living room with the company name “Florens” in the upper left corner on one wall and “Caution 9’6” High” below it.

The words tell the story of materials that once lived another life – as 40-foot long shipping containers, hauling cargo back and forth across the ocean.

Now these steel boxes serve another purpose: as the building blocks for the Schnepps’ new home.

Seven steel containers were welded together – six horizontally and one vertically – to create one entirely unique house off Rochester Road just south of 13 Mile. It’s one of the first single family homes made primarily from shipping containers in Metro Detroit, and possibly Michigan.

“I have always wanted a shipping container home but never really thought I would own one,” says Aaron Schnepp, a car stylist who designs concept cars for Chrysler.

Built by contractor Drake Boroja and his team at Washington Township-based ModEco Development, the 2,350- square-foot three-bedroom, 21/2 bath house is the culmination of roughly two years of hard work to design the house, find the right subcontractors, build it and then find the right buyer.

Curious onlookers, meanwhile, have stopped by nearly every day to ask questions. Even now, they sometimes peek in the windows, say Aaron and Grace.

“When we were building this thing, literally every five minutes there were people coming up, asking questions,” says Boroja, who now has several other shipping container projects in the works, including a house in Ferndale. “It was crazy. It was hard to get work done. So we knew that people liked it. The question was would they buy it.”

Though their unique house may not appeal to everyone – Aaron and Grace say some online commenters have been harsh – they love the novelty of their new home.

“I love the juxtaposition between the homey with the raw metal. They vibe off each other so well,” says Aaron.

Aaron and Grace met through friends and married more than a year ago in Korea. For seven years, they lived in an industrial-style loft in Royal Oak. Finally ready to buy a home and start a family, the couple again wanted an industrial style house, but finding one was hard.

Driving by the shipping container house nearly every day on his way to the gym, Aaron loved it, but was certain it was out of the couple’s price range. So he was surprised when it was listed in November and it wasn’t. Within hours, he made an offer, even though Grace, a product specialist for Toyota who works at auto shows across the world, was out of town.

“He was sending me pictures, texting me and calling me,” says Grace. “I never saw it in person. Obviously I was a little nervous.”

But now they’re both sold.

“We wanted something industrial, but we wanted a house,” says Aaron. “And we wanted something we could grow into... This solved that because it’s got the loft aesthetic with a home. It’s cozy. For us it couldn’t be any better.”

The house, which has a surprisingly open concept, flows from the front foyer to the living room, kitchen and dining area. It is a mix of materials – steel, bamboo floors, and exposed duct work.

Aaron loves the juxtaposition of materials, something he and Grace, who moved in in mid-January, plan to continue to play up in their decor. Much of their furniture is from Restoration Hardware.

Boroja first discovered shipping container housing six years ago. He contemplated building a shipping container house for his own family, but couldn’t find a contractor. “They said no. You’re crazy,” says Boroja.

Instead he and his partners at ModEco decided to build a house to sell. The project had its share of hiccups. Picking up old shipping containers at the Detroit riverfront, they discovered they could only get one container at a time, even though they rented a crane for a day to stack them.

“We had to find a tow truck company that had space that they would then pick up the containers over time,” says Boroja. “And when they had them all, then we could schedule the crane.”

The house originally was designed to be wider, but it had to be modified because “we couldn’t get the crane around. That was a huge issue,” says Boroja.

But now that it is finished, it’s built to last, says Boroja. He says the appeal of shipping container housing is that it is cheaper to build, cheaper to maintain, and energy-efficient. The shipping containers are coated with a special ceramic coating so they don’t sweat.

“We learned a lot from this house,” says Boroja. “It’s built strong, it’s not going anywhere. When the apocalypse hits, it’s going to be the last thing standing.”

Aaron and Grace, meanwhile, continue to put their touch on their new house. They plan to paint several rooms, replace the vinyl siding outside with cedar and do landscaping. “We have so much more work to do,” says Grace.

The couple, who paid $430,000 for the house, which they say is less than what similar size houses are selling for in Royal Oak, acknowledge some may question their decision, but they don’t.

“When you drive around, you can’t find a house like this,” says Aaron.

Grace agrees: “This was the perfect house for us.”

Description by mlive, 2015

They're easing people into things at ModEco Development.

The 2,250-square-foot shipping container home that went up in the 2500 block of Rochester Road in Royal Oak, Michigan looks like a new house with big windows and a modern design packed with sharp right angles.

At first glance, it might even be hard to tell a large portion of the new home is made out of recycled shipping containers.

ModEco partner Drake Boroja said five 40-foot containers and two 20-foot containers were used to build the shipping container house. It's taken about a year to finish, because when they started ModEco fabricated the shipping containers on-site in Royal Oak. It was their first time building such a structure and they were checking themselves at every step along the way.

And with a few things left to wrap up, the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath shipping container home has already sold for about $430,000.

It has an attached garage, vaulted ceiling, big kitchen and two second-floor balconies. The second floor is carpeted, as is the staircase built into a shipping container that had been turned on-end.

Boroja, his brother Dan and the third ModEco partner, Neal Patel, took more than a few chances with the home and design.

"When we did this design, we wanted to see everything that was possible with shipping containers," Boroja said. "(We) want to be able to let our customer see what is possible."

The containers are laid out is a long horseshoe pattern. The gap left in the middle of the home could have been sealed off and used for a courtyard, Boroja said. Instead, they built a ceiling and additional walls for an open living space, accented by the big red steel doors of four shipping containers on the north side of the shipping container house.

Outside, the red containers are covered by brick.

The south side of the shipping container building has more dark-colored containers. The three bedrooms upstairs all have different perks. One has two massive windows for natural light, the other has a similar picture window and a little more space. The master bedroom in back is massive.

The partners fitted a big walk-in closet and a luxurious master bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub (the other full bathroom has one, too) and a walk-in shower.

The large rear balcony also is accessible through the master bedroom.

Although the shipping container house took a little longer than similar projects in Detroit, it still was a successful step, Boroja said.

Architects and engineers can get crazy with the designs, both inside and out, of shipping container structures. The Royal Oak shipping container home was meant to show people that even with the unconventional materials, shipping container homes can look similar to traditional brick-and-mortar houses.

The shipping container building is safer, stronger and about 10 to 15 percent cheaper to build than traditional homes, Boroja said.

The shipping container home meets and exceeds any strength codes, he said. The entire shipping container house is almost fire resistant. If a fire broke out in one of the containers, it would be mostly container, Boroja said. If it went up somewhere else, only the wood and traditional parts of the home would burn.

Maintenance costs over the life of the shipping container building also are lower.

The containers are fairly easy to get, according to Boroja. Because of the trade imbalance with China, the U.S. gets a bunch of containers they never send back.

They won't ship them empty, he said. The big hunks of steel then sit in shipyards.

The containers come air- and water-proof. All it takes is some spray insulation and welding to start building a home.

So it's the novelty of the shipping container home and the access to sturdy, safe materials that have him and his partners working on about four other projects with the containers.

"The response has been crazy," Boroja said.

All through the construction, people have stopped by to ask about this beautiful shipping container home in Michigan and how it was being made, he said.

Luxury Shipping Container Home Michigan - Construction Process


Address2531 Rochester Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48073, USA

About ModEco Development

Upcycled, Modern Design, Eco-Friendly, Smart Technology ... ModEco's container homes are a step above in design from other similar products available today. Our lightly used shipping containers are upcycled to become a structural element in your new, environmentally friendly, completely state-of-the-art home. Find out why a ModEco Home may be the best for you!

We believe in a unique and customized design and experience for each and every home we build.

Each Individual is unique. One-size-fits-all approaches will never reflect your own style and character. We deliver custom homes, tailored to you, your culture and your one-of-a-kind styles.

We are a shipping container building company that can offer a range of services, all designed to help you design and build your dream home. Whether you're looking for a small tiny home or complete new construction. Our services are available so you can get precisely what you want.

Residential shipping container homes by ModEco:


Specs – 1000 - 1300 sq ft
Bedrooms – 2
Baths – 2 Full
Garage – 2 Car


Area – 1000 - 1400 sq ft
Bedrooms – 2
Baths – 2 Full
Garage – 2 Car


Area – 1500 - 1900 sq ft
Bedrooms – 3
Baths – 3.5 Full
Garage – 2 Car


Area – 1700 - 2300 sq ft
Bedrooms – 4
Baths – 3.5 Full
Garage – 2 Car

AddressModEco Development, Washington, MI 48094, USA
Phone+1 248-606-2220

About C3 UP

Address1809 James P Cole Blvd, Flint, MI 48503, United States
Phone+1 248-625-7444

More shipping container homes in Michigan:

3 Bedroom Shipping Container Home, Bruce Township, Michigan

Luxury Shipping Container House, Royal Oak, Michigan