Luxury Shipping Container Houses: How Much Would You Spend on a Container Home?
Over the last few years we at Gateway Container Sales have written a lot about various types of shipping container homes. They are renowned for being cheap and easy to build, with much of the work done off site before the containers are effectively dropped into position and fitted together. Where low cost high density housing is good for the lower to middle end of the market, a number of architects have designed and built high end luxury container homes that have come on sale for over a million dollars. In Australia we have our own millionaire mansions, for example, the ZieglerBuild house was constructed from 31 shipping containers and sold for $1.5 million.
Where for a middle class family looking for an average sized apartment or low cost yet relatively spacious home a container construction isn’t so controversial, some people question whether using containers to build millionaires’ mansions is really on form? Let’s look at a few of them and discuss their merits.
The US$1.4 Million Beach Box
In the Hamptons of New York in the USA, you won’t find a cheap home anywhere. This is where the rich and famous from New York come to rest and socialise after making the economy boom and bust in their high pressure jobs around Wall Street. One of the most famous families to live in the Hamptons is the Kennedy family, the American aristocratic family that counted President John F Kennedy and a number of US Senators in their history.
Being an area where people have great wealth and certain expectations of how to fit in to the local set, a shipping container home of whatever type is likely to have turned a few heads and got a few chins wagging over the taste and style of such a home. Some of the locals may have whispered over their champagne and caviar at a soiree, “Is this place for the brash and uncouth nouveau riche?!”
Located just 600 feet from the sea in the exclusive hamlet of Napeague Dunes, the Beach Box shipping container home is constructed from six shipping containers and made by New York based SG Blocks, a company that specialises in container architecture.
For its somewhat inaccessible price the home isn’t huge, with only 2,000 square feet of space as well as a 1,300 square foot outside deck. For those willing to pay such a high sum for somewhere to relax occasionally, its fixtures, fittings and furnishings are of the very best money can buy.
The home is built with the environment in mind, designed to be ultra energy efficient and many of the materials used on the inside are sustainable. Bamboo is a fast growing yet very durable wood, and this is one of the main woods used for the interior décor.
Additionally, the home uses a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system to control the air quality and temperature within. These computer controlled systems have been used for many years in large spaces because of their low running costs. They are now being increasingly used in smaller units – the Beach Box is just the latest home to exploit the concept.
Don’t go thinking this is just an amped up beach hut for the stupidly rich, as it has some luxuries! One of those is a swimming pool that runs the length of the back of the home, so those using the summer bolthole don’t even need to fight their way through the dunes to go for a swim.
As will be seen later in this blog, it is very likely that the developers of the home made a fairly good margin on the sale price. Even with the very best workmanship there is no way that it would have cost as much as its sale price! One of the major factors in that is the cost of land in the Hamptons, which has some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
Will it have got people talking about the uncouth nouveau riche? We at Gateway Container Sales have some fantastic networks but we’re sorry to say we weren’t privy to such after dinner gossip!
US$800,000 San Diego Home
Many locals in the Grant Hill neighbourhood of San Diego got their knickers in a twist over a new US$800,000 shipping container family home. Gary London, president of London Group Realty Advisors was quoted in the LA Times as saying rather sniffily, “None of these techniques I’ve seen save enough on those components to overcome the biggest obstacle, which is perception,” he said. “The perception is that a site-delivered home is inherently inferior.”
Whether ‘inherently inferior’ or ‘superior’ is down to the perception of those considering living there – beauty after all, is in the eye of the beholder! The three container, 1920 square foot home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and is just right for the upwardly mobile family.
Location is everything in a home – you could build a palace in a tough neighbourhood with few local amenities and it wouldn’t have much value. Equally, in London England you can buy a single car garage for over $200,000 because of the property prices in the area! The Grant Hill home is right opposite a very good local school so for a family this is gold, and well worth investing in. Being on a steep hill overlooking downtown San Diego, the home has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the dome of San Diego Central Library. As such, despite being built on land that is very difficult to build on, the plot cost the architects US$220,000.
Another factor to consider in selling a new home is the availability of homes in the area. Grant Hill hasn’t seen many new builds in the area for quite some time, and this impacts the value of homes – a desirable area and having relatively few new homes on the market will push up the value even more.
Where some of the homes we discuss in this piece are designed to be lived in during only part of the year, this family home is designed as a main base. As such, the refined luxury is designed to be somewhere to rest permanently and not just as a brief bolthole to get away from the heat and smog of the big city!
The developers of the home, Matt Jakstis and Jonathan Sanders claimed that the home cost only US$280,000 to build, fully fitted. They estimated that this is a good US$100,000 less than it would to have built an equivalent home using more traditional methods.
The principle detractor Gary London complained to the LA Times that the savings made in the building of the home were not passed onto the buyer. One wonders that if he was the agent and taking a percentage of the final sale value, whether he would be so keen to talk the price down? Whether sour grapes on the part of the realtor or not, as you can see this home is certainly worth a second look during your house hunting around the suburbs of San Diego…
Ecotech Home, Joshua Tree
In June this year, Gateway Container Sales looked at the Ecotech Home in Joshua Tree, California. This is a media professional’s bolthole in the Mojave Desert and inside, is the largest shipping container home that we have looked at in this blog – covering 2,300 square feet of space.
As with the Hampton Beach Box, it has a lot of energy saving devices and systems designed to protect the residents from the excesses of the desert environment. In the blog we published on June 21st, we looked at the various ways that this home used to save money on energy – that could otherwise be phenomenally expensive given that temperatures routinely get above 40 degrees C in summer!
With the use of the indoor and outdoor cooling systems you can enjoy the barren beauty of the Mojave Desert from under the outdoor awnings in the cool outside corridors or from behind the large windows in this stunning hideaway.
As to the cost? The architects say that the home cost US$345,000 to build, but we don’t know what the developers sold it to the current home owners for. How much would you pay for a high end desert hideaway?
Old Lady House in Maine
Despite the name, this is not somewhere a dowager aunt would necessarily live in! This beautiful hideaway in the deep forest of Maine in the United States is understated luxury at its finest. While Maine is one of the more remote states in the Lower 48 and far north of the fashionable yet easily accessible Hamptons, this home is both off the beaten track yet very comfortable and modern.
The 1,920 square foot home is built of three, 40ft shipping containers set next to one another and stacked two tall, nestled into the hillside. Large parts of its sides are glazed with sliding windows, connecting the inside of the home with the deep forest outside of the home.
Though situated in the back of beyond, the inside of the home has an industrial look. The outside of the containers haven’t been hidden as with the other three homes we’ve covered in this blog, yet the red and white paint seems to rest well in the woodland environment. Inside, however, the home is fitted out with drywall to hide the interior of the containers. Showing off the connection to the outside environment is a large outside walkway that connects the two main units together. Maine is known for its snow in winter (and a typical winter snowfall is measured in metres not in centimetres!) so having that elevated, outdoor link between the two main units is essential to get around.
Inside of the home there are steel beams holding the home together but left visible to the eye. Steel columns that also stitch the home together vertically are left in view as are the windows fittings, giving a hard edge to what the name of the house suggests could well be a country cottage.
The main living space has wooden floors and large windows. It is designed around the ‘open plan living’ concept, with a 12 foot kitchen island demarcating the cooking area yet with sofas showing the living room space. For those who don’t like to hideaway as they cook for family or friends, this enables people to be sociable while carrying out one of the most important functions of living together in a home – cooking and eating together.
As to location? This is very similar to beauty. Not everyone likes to live in the fast lane around New York, Sydney or Brisbane – some prefer to live at a different pace far away from the madding crowd. Again, not everyone who lives in the backwoods likes to live in a basic wooden hut either – this home shows how it is possible to live in great comfort even miles away from the big city!
Dreaming of Your Own Luxury Container Home?
Our team at Gateway Container Sales have a lot of experience in helping people develop containers into a wide range of living and storage environments. Whether a basic single container holiday space or a very large container mansion, you can be assured that we know who to put you in touch with to help you design and convert shipping containers from basic steel boxes into something of beauty and comfort to suit your needs. Get in contact with us today and we will help you turn your dream into reality!