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Cheap and chic: a creative eco-friendly container home

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
Container home Modern houses by Ecosa Institute Modern
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This shipping container house was designed as a collaboration between an artist (the resident of the home) and architects from Ecosa Institute in Flagstaff, Arizona. The residence is divided between two buildings: a main building measuring just over 2000 square feet, and a detached 20-foot container that serves as the artist's studio.

The construction of this home has been a true practice in creativity, transforming utilitarian, industrial objects into the friendly and artistic home you'll explore in this tour.

​Detached studio

Front studio by Ecosa Institute Modern
Ecosa Institute

Front studio

Ecosa Institute

Rather than hiding in the back of the home, the artist's detached studio stretches out in a friendly gesture towards the street. A wooden deck provides a hassle-free surface for the commute to work, and a sliding glass door on both the house and studio maintain a friendly dialogue between the two separate modules.

​Playful facade

Container home front street view Modern houses by Ecosa Institute Modern Iron/Steel
Ecosa Institute

Container home front street view

Ecosa Institute

The base materials of this shipping container home are made of a heavy, corrugated metal, instilled with an industrial aesthetic. To soften the look, the architects have painted the exterior of the home in a light-hearted pastel teal, lifting the mood of the home up and away from any sense of heaviness. You'll notice that the roof of the home supports an array of photovoltaic panels which provide a portion of the energy used in the home; it's only fitting that a home made of salvaged materials would feature an equally eco-friendly energy source. 

With its separated modular structure, unique colour and materials, and self-supplied energy source, this artist's home emits a strong sense of independence.

​Main living area

The main area of the home has been given a double height be removing the floor of one of the shipping containers, providing this bird's eye view from above. It's rare to find a home that features a the same pastel colour both inside and out, but in this home, the soft teal is a welcome sight! The dining room and living room in this image lean slightly towards Scandinavian design with a largely neutral palette and refreshing pops of colour. The dense metal walls have been replaced on one side with the translucent wall that you see lining the dining room wall, giving the light in the room a misty, fluid feel.

​Industrial echo

The staircase of the home playfully mimics the rectilinear metallic structure of the shipping containers that form the shell of the home, this reiteration offering a warm maroon contrast to the cool teal of the walls.


Master bedroom and bathroom Modern style bedroom by Ecosa Institute Modern
Ecosa Institute

Master bedroom and bathroom

Ecosa Institute

Leading to the bathroom through a sliding wooden door, this bedroom enjoys a similar treatment with a curtain that can be drawn across to provide extra privacy for the bed. You'll also observe a bedroom/bathroom window that can be opened and closed to connect or separate the bathroom and bedroom areas. Details like this interior window, fabric partitions, and sliding doors create both flexibility and the possibility for intimacy in the home, as do the many translucent surfaces that allow light – but not curious gazes – to pass through the exterior walls. Inside and out, the strong sense of independence and need for quiet, private space characterize the design features of the house.

Tour another stylish shipping container home in this ideabook!


The upstairs bathroom is located on a bridge structure between two containers, its narrow design played to the bather's advantage by pushing the tub up against the sunny window. In this interesting design, a person taking a bath can choose to cover the window with one shower curtain, and can obscure the view from the room with the other shower curtain.


Galley kitchen Modern kitchen by Ecosa Institute Modern
Ecosa Institute

Galley kitchen

Ecosa Institute

This in-line kitchen is an excellent example of a kitchen designed for a narrow space. Strong horizontal lines in the counter, cabinets, handles, and even the track lights allow this kitchen to stretch out from one side to the other, giving the space a less cramped feel.

What's your take on this sustainable container house? Comment below!
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