$60,000 40 ft Shipping Container Home, Oklahoma

Shipping Container House Design with Minimalist Grit by Larry Lucas, AIA
About Larry Lucas, AIA
About Cisco Containers, L.L.C.
About 360 Engineering Group, PLLC

ArchitectLarry Lucas, AIA
Shipping container modificationsCisco Containers, L.L.C.
Structural engineer360 Engineering Group, PLLC
LocationOklahoma City, Oklahoma
OwnerJosh McBee
PhotographyJosh McBee
Project cost$60,000

Josh McBee first saw a shipping container home online one day in late 2012. His one-bedroom apartment in Venice Beach, California was feeling progressively smaller, and the blue guest house he saw online made from a big metal box caught his attention.

"I saw the container guest house in Austin. It was 20 feet long, and I thought to myself, 'I could live in that full-time,'" he said.

Four years and several moves later, he did just that. McBee is now one of the thousands who are using shipping containers to build homes, and the trend is expected to grow even more. According to Market Watch, shipping containers as homes are expected to increase globally by 6.5% annually from 2019 to 2025.

For McBee, the simplicity of the living area in a container and the low utility costs appealed to him the most.

McBee converted his walk-in closet in the one-bedroom in Venice Beach into his own personal bedroom, and rented out the bedroom to travelers through online couch-surfing and vacation rental sites in 2009. He supplemented his income as an industrial researcher and economic analyst through the rentals.

But that blue shipping container guest house he saw stuck with him. In 2013, he quit his job and spent six months traveling from Lisbon to Tokyo. "I knew I couldn't go back to Los Angeles, and I couldn't do a shipping container home there," he said. "But I could do it in Oklahoma City."

Casa RDP - Shipping Container Industrial Style House, Ecuador

Construction Process
Floor plans / Drawings
About Daniel Moreno Flores
About Sebastian Calero

ProjectCasa RDP
ArchitectsSebastian Calero, Daniel Moreno Flores
Area251.75 m²
Exterior Area123.55 m²
Containersseven 20-foot shipping containers and one 40-foot shipping container
PhotographsLorena Darquea Schettini
Structural DesignJorge Vintimilla, Elvis Escudero (Collaborator)
ConstructorEsteban Romo
PlatformsIván Cevallos, Víctor Sánchez, Leoncio Lanche
CollaboratorsLuis Fernando Taco, Roberto Alban, Gustavo Aguirre, Mateo Torres, Santiago Egas,
Gabriela Loaiza, José López, Tatiana Chávez, Lucia Gómez
ElectricRodrigo Tipan
PlumbingFernando Heredia
sq m cost$542 usd
Total Cost$170,000 usd

Description by architects

The projects we do correspond to the understanding of all the parts and the singularities of each particular environment. We do not intend to seek predetermined solutions, so the ideas of this shipping container industrial style house are born from the wishes, experiences and ways of living of the clients.

The owner, when he was little, sought to decipher the operation of old clocks. This passion for mechanics later led him to motorcycles and Land Rover cars. He was interested in a very didactic, utilitarian and detachable house (in the understanding of parts such as the mechanics of these vehicles) and that the constructive solutions are visible, regardless of their manufacture. By deciphering this direct connection with metal, the idea and the desire to live in a shipping container industrial style house appeared. One of the main reasons for experimenting with this material was the energy savings it implies, since after their useful life these objects become waste (as there are so many in the world it becomes a problem), by changing their function and livable, not only that it is given a new use but that it is built in a clean way. In the design a simplification work was done where only the necessary parts should exist.

Subsequently, seven 20-foot containers and one 40-foot container arrived in La Morita (Tumbaco) from Guayaquil. These modules were to help assemble a singular house, implanted in a large green area, almost flat, and detached from the mundane noise of the city.

The principles

The shipping containers are imperfect, they keep all their scars as the legacy to their record of blows and history of uses. These objects were conceived as the complementary spaces of the shipping container industrial style house: cellars, bathrooms, closets and kitchen, and they are practically used in their natural state. Thus, the possibility of not making changes to its original structure was raised, and if so, find the responsible justification to intervene. In this way, the modifications made were strategic and strictly linked to lighting, ventilation and linkage criteria between interior and exterior environments.

On the other hand, and in order to show the material essence, the factory paint was removed in the outside (bare metal), while inside, a neutral and sanitary character was maintained, guided by the white color. Later, the floor would be worked, which kept its original wood.

The process

Four stages of construction were planned:

1. Functional spots. Due to a slight variation of levels in the longitudinal section of the terrain, the platforms protrude as little as possible from the highest edge, they are small islands blurred in sight.

2. The second stage was the assembly, alignment and anchoring of the shipping containers on the concrete platforms by means of a mechanical crane. In all cases, the shipping containers rest on the concrete, fly slightly outwards, giving a feeling of balance and weight control. These pieces are distanced from each other in order to create and delimit living spaces and, in turn, constitute the backbone of the shipping container house, on which the roofs sit.

3. The third stage corresponded to the placement and welding of the system of metal beams, which cross from container to container and help to assemble the concrete roof tiles.

4. Finally, the fourth stage, consisted of hanging from the roof, a system of cables and beams, which helped to shape the bedrooms, inside which wood dominates.

This shipping container industrial style house maintains a strong link with the exterior (green area and mountains) and all the spaces between the containers are a kind of material absence, only the imperceptible metal frames with the glass are evident.

Three mechanical systems were designed to transform the use in the spaces, a manual elevator to go up to the second floor, manipulable blinds placed in the bedrooms and a flexible floor in the master bathroom that folds down to make visible and occupy a bathtub. All these solutions are like a game that allows the user to be a participant in an architecture designed for them.

La Secundaria Valladolid - Modular Shipping Container School, Mexico

Floor plans / Drawings
About Boutique de Arquitectura

ProjectLa Secundaria Valladolid (Valladolid High School)
ArchitectsBoutique de Arquitectura
Area240 m²
LocationMexico City, Mexico

La Secundaria Valladolid - Modular Shipping Container School is a project with unique characteristics in the educational field of Mexico. From the beginning of the design the goal was to do something different and innovative that would also be attractive to students. One of the most important conditions of the project was the construction time, since for reasons of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP), the facilities had to be verified on a specific date. It was the union of these two factors that led us to use shipping containers for classrooms, thus solving the problem of construction time and adding a very important recycling and environmental protection factor.

The complete project includes 15 classrooms. The first stage is made up of 5 classrooms, which include 3 classrooms for teaching classes, 1 computer laboratory, and 1 polyfunctional laboratory (physics, chemistry, and biology). Likewise, all the complementary spaces necessary for the proper functioning of the school were built: toilets (women, men and teachers), warehouses and laboratory annexes.

To make each of the classrooms or modules, a 40-foot High Cube type shipping container (HC 40" Container) divided in half was used, the union of the two pieces was made through a core of natural lighting and ventilation, with clear glass base. It is important to note that all the structural reinforcements were made based on certified structural calculation. This process was extremely complicated, since there are not a large number of projects carried out from the shipping containers.

The difficulty of the project stems from the scarcity of available information and specific construction methods for this type of modular construction in Mexico. After a long and in-depth analysis, absolutely all the structural and installation details were successfully resolved. The construction experienced several challenges throughout its duration (3 months), among which the tight delivery time, the logistics during the assembly of each container and the complexity of connecting each installation to the modules stood out.

Like most projects of Boutique de Arquitectura, La Secundaria Valladolid includes an important ecological part. On this occasion, our proposal is the reuse of shipping containers previously used for loading and unloading across the oceans. By doing this, we reduce the environmental impact since traditional construction methods that involve the use of natural resources directly on site are avoided. Likewise, we extend the useful life of the shipping containers by giving them a second use.

3 Bedroom 1300 sqft Shipping Container Home in Lago Vista, Texas (35 miles from Austin)


ProjectVilla de Shipping Containers
Area1,300 sq ft
LocationLago Vista, Texas (35 miles from Austin)
Price$622,500Sold in July 2020

Lago Vista, Texas (35 miles from Austin) is a beautiful location with scenic views and natural attractions, such as Lake Travis and the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. The climate is typically warm with mild winters, making it a great location for year-round living. A shipping container home in Lago Vista can provide a unique and affordable living space with a modern and minimalist design, and there are several additional potential benefits to consider.

First, shipping container homes in Texas can be relatively affordable and efficient to build, especially in comparison to traditional homes. The modular and durable nature of shipping containers can also provide a strong basic structure for a sturdy and resilient home, which may be particularly beneficial in a region prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Additionally, the adaptability of shipping container homes can allow for customization and flexibility in design and layout, while also providing the opportunity to be more environmentally conscious by incorporating sustainable materials and energy-efficient features.

Overall, this shipping container home in Lago Vista, Texas, may be a unique and attractive option for those seeking a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly housing solution in a picturesque location.

Description from realtor.com

Villa de Shipping Containers - 3 Bedroom Shipping Container Home, Texas, overlooking Lake Travis. It's three unique units that all share a pool. Optimal use: Picturesque and sustainable chic setting for long term rental (rent 2 and keep one for your lake house) [or] a perfect family vacation home where everyone enjoys their own private spaces [or] just live your best life here, it's awesome. Multiple level patios capture the natural beauty of Lake Travis and span the vast Texas Hill Country. Just a 45 minute scenic drive to Austin!

Hai d3 Shipping Container Development, Dubai, UAE

Drawings / Floor plans / Sections
About Dubai Design District (d3)
About ibda design

ProjectHai d3
Architectsibda design
Area1877 m²
LocationDubai, UAE
Design TeamYuka Takeuchi, Sho Ikeya, Takeshi Harikai, Takuma Fujisaki, Makoto Udagawa, Lloyd Fontilla
Architect in ChargeWael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto
Urban DesignCultural Engineering (Rashid bin Shabib)
Swing DesignCase Design
ContractorAMBB Interiors

Hai d3 is a concept created as an incubation space for the development of emerging local creative talents from the center of Dubai's 'Design District'. It was supposed to be a temporary facility with a five-year program of use, and with a construction time of eight months. The shipping container development is intended to host a variety of events, exhibitions, collaborative works, and displays to foster growth in the different fields of art and design in the Middle East.

It was designed as a neighborhood, showing that the master plan of the entire Design District Dubai was intended to encourage a community of artists in the region. Inspired by the efficiency of the traditional planning of the Arab quarter, the general lines of the shipping container development project were arranged to accommodate open spaces, which are further worked through landscaped "pockets" that serve as patios for each of the complex's buildings. These patios not only complement the industrial nature of the architecture, but also promote the activity, and consequently, the vitality of the entire site.

These buildings are formed with the use of recycled containers of 12 meters long, all transformation is done by hand with careful consideration to preserve its raw, industrial form. The application of these shipping containers allows for rapid construction and dismantling that opens up possibilities for re-fabricating the architecture if deemed necessary. Six different stacking designs were carried out, compounded to respond directly to the program. Art galleries, a workshop, a library, retail spaces, as well as a cafeteria and prayer rooms were introduced into the shipping container development, which were arranged based on the use of the facility. Annex buildings were also introduced, adding 6-meter containers for services, toilets and storage, as well as an access piece. An element that not only welcomes the people of the neighborhood, but also serves as a multifunctional space that artists can arrange for film screenings, meetings or outdoor workshops.

Sustainability was key in this shipping container development project, taking into account the region's ecological construction initiatives. Passive cooling, through shipping containers implemented as "wind towers" distributed throughout the site. These wind towers promote natural ventilation by capturing strong currents of winds that channel into the patios. Additionally, passive lighting is employed in buildings with the use of full height windows and high side lights, as the abundance of sunlight is intrinsic to Dubai. The openings also frame both the landscape of the place and the built horizon of the city.

This shipping container development project, with the use of clean and simple shapes, and simple but welcoming views, offers its users a platform of flexibility, in which they can embrace the dynamism of their work, and in turn, use it as a way to boost the creative industry from the Middle East.

Lily Pad Airbnb - Small Shipping Container Home, Ohio

Construction Process
The Lily Pad Contact Info
Hocking Hills State Park Contact Info
About Creative Cabinets
About Creative Cabins

BuilderCreative Cabins
Interior DesignCreative Cabinets
Containers1 x 40 ft
Area280 sf
LocationHocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio, United States
PhotographyLevi Kelly

Near Hocking Hills, Ohio, a design-savvy couple nestle a glossy black shipping container within a heavily wooded—and sentimental—piece of land.

When Troy and Dianna Shurtz—the owners of Creative Cabinets, Ltd who live near Lancaster, Ohio—thought to design and build their own shipping container home as a getaway, they knew it should be located near Hocking Hills State Park, an area south of Lancaster marked by sculptural cliffs, gorges, and waterfalls. "I spent a lot of time in Hocking Hills as a child," Dianna says. "My father passed away at the age of fifty-nine and I’ve always felt closer to him when I’m there, hiking or just visiting."

For years, Dianna dreamed of building a cabin near Hocking Hills as a way to reconnect with the memory of her father. "We found the right piece of land two years ago while driving on it during the dead of winter," she says. Located only two miles from Old Man’s Cave—a recess in a rock wall named in honor of a renowned local hermit—the undulating topography of the wooded site was idyllic. The Shurtzes were drawn to the land, but also to the idea of a shipping container. "We’ve always been intrigued by shipping container homes and knew we wanted to create something unique and special for this property," Dianna says.

The glossy, black-painted home, named The Lily Pad, features 280-square-feet of living space and a shed-style metal roof that cantilevers beyond the walls of the shipping container. It shields a large porch area where the Shurtzes arranged a hot tub, a living area, a gas grill, and a swing bed. Pale oak timbers frame the windows, providing warmth and contrast to the sleek black exterior. "Our goal for the outdoor living space was to keep it as open as possible, but still sheltered from the wind, rain and snow," Dianna says. "This allowed us to include many amenities."

On the interior, rooms are flooded with sunlight that bounces off of bright white walls, making the home feel larger than its 280 square feet. A motorized, industrial-style garage door in the living room rolls up, effectively removing a 10-foot-wide portion of the wall and connecting the space to the large porch and the landscape beyond. "We wanted a lot of natural light and to bring the outdoors in," says Dianna, who selected furnishings that feature leather and wood, materials that reference textures found in nature.

A large, custom-designed window floods the open-plan kitchen with more sunlight. "It’s a picture window that allows you to admire the outdoor scenery," Dianna says. a clerestory window above the fridge lets in additional light.

The kitchen’s white cabinetry is topped with light grey quartz and displays gold hardware and pulls. "Since cabinetry is our forte, we custom built the entire kitchen," Dianna explains. "We knew we needed small appliances, so we purchased a 24-inch-wide microwave and an induction cooktop and retrofitted the refrigerator. Once we figured out how much space we needed for these items, it came down to the cabinetry, which is constructed of MDF and painted with a white lacquered finish. All of the doors, drawers and pull-out storage trays are soft-close and there’s a fireclay undermount porcelain sink."

When the aluminum-framed glass garage door in the living room is rolled up, The Lily Pad’s 280 square feet of overall living space increases to 480 square feet. And from a distance, the sheen of the shipping container’s black corrugated exterior is like a siren call in the woods. "This property is beautiful, rural, and filled with pine trees and rolling hills," Dianna says. "When we first saw it, I felt my father’s presence and knew this is where I wanted [our house] to be."

Description from Airbnb

This small shipping container home nestled on 13 acres of woods just 2 miles from the entrance of Old Man’s Cave right on 664 S in Logan Ohio.

Inside we have a cozy bedroom with full view window, private bathroom /shower, full kitchen with cooktop, living room area with small dining table for 2, gas fireplace, YouTube TV, and WiFi.

One of the coolest additions is our motorized glass garage door. Outside under a covered porch is a comfy outdoor swing bed, outdoor lights, a hot tub for two and a glass grill.

The space

The Lily Pad small shipping container home is fully heated and air conditioned inside with a Nest thermostat.

Guests will have a keyless entry pad to gain access to the property.

We have a security camera pointed directly at the driveway for your safety and ours.


The outside living space area is fully covered with a large vaulted ceiling. We have a large ceiling fan for hot days and string lights for a cozy ambience outside . The Lily Pad small shipping container home will also include a large motorized glass garage door, which opens to a full patio for enjoying nature or relaxing in the hot tub. Also includes an outdoor Fire Pit with seating for 4 guests. We also have a gas grill and a outdoor seating area for 4. As well as a twin size swing bed comfortable for afternoon naps, or just to enjoy the scenery.

We have included 4 chairs for entertaining another couple during the day but the container only sleeps 2.


The bedroom will have a full view glass window from the ceiling to floor, so you can wake up to nature and its beauty. There are window treatments for privacy as well. Connecting to the bedroom is a private full bathroom. The living space area in this small shipping container home also has a gas fireplace, TV, couch, chair, and full view remote garage door that opens to the great outdoor. The kitchen has all modern amenities including; a small refrigerator with freezer (no ice maker), cooktop, toaster oven, and microwave.