The One TEU Tiny Shipping Container Home
Shipping containers come in two main sizes – the 20 foot container (1 TEU) and the 40 foot container (2 TEU). A company in the US has just launched a 1 TEU shipping container home called the Vista C that is small enough to be sent almost anywhere in the world, yet has the facilities to stay in permanently if you so wish.
What’s a TEU?
One of the breakthroughs that made shipping containers take over the world’s cargo operations is that there are broadly only two sizes of container, so they can be stacked uniformly and, therefore, moved with machinery and ships of set sizes.
The Vista C built by Escape Traveler is designed to be transported just like the traditional container and indeed, is built out of the chassis of a one TEU container.
Introducing the Vista C
The Vista C tiny home has all the essentials that you will need for a shorter or longer stay. It comes with a queen sized bed, storage, a small shower room / toilet, as well as a kitchenette with a full sized refrigerator. Storage is built-in for your gear.
The main unit has a 15ft deck outside the front that is also built from COR-TEN steel, that can be lifted as a shutter to the front of the unit, allowing for security during transit. There are windows right around the tiny home allowing for good light ingress and an added sense of space so the occupier doesn’t feel hemmed in.
One of the issues around containers is that they can freeze the occupant in colder months and roast them in warmer months. There are two ways Escape Traveler have got around this – firstly with closed foam insulation to slow the ingress of outside temperatures, and the addition of an air conditioning unit that can be installed in a couple of locations according to the user’s requirements.
There are a lot of ways that the Vista C can be modified from the basic, US$46,600 style. Steel shutters can be added right around the unit, so it is secure should it be sent by train or container ship to a far away destination.
You can have a roof deck on it, accessed by ladder, as an added bit of outdoor space. This has foldable safety fencing in case someone enjoying the beer and sunshine too much has a stumble.
Depending on where the Vista C will be sited, it can have a water tank or be supplied from the local grid. You can have a traditional, dry flush or composting toilet, and there are options for solar panels and a battery system should you wish to hang out in the bush, completely off grid.
As to colours? The company offers a variety of different paints that are hardwearing and weatherproof. You could in theory use it as a hunting lodge and have it camouflaged so you can lie on the roof and take pot shots at local wildlife without being seen by your quarry…
The unit can be a temporary or permanent structure. For those who like to roll on to new horizons it can have a double axle trailer fitted, though admittedly you will need a car or truck with quite an engine to move it about! As with all shipping container structures, you don’t need much in the way of foundations should you wish to set it down permanently.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)
One of the markets that the Vista C shipping container tiny home is aimed at is the ‘Accessory Dwelling Unit’ (ADU) market. These are more commonly known as ‘granny flats’ where someone who needs their own privacy and space can live on the main dwelling unit’s land.
Granny flats are good for parents whose children are at the point where they want children of their own, yet cannot afford to buy a place for themselves in the area. Most people can’t afford to get on the housing ladder in Brisbane or Sydney because there is huge competition for homes in different areas of the cities which just drives prices up, and people in their late 20’s or early 30’s out of an area.
ADUs are controversial. While planners interested in keeping the right social mix in their area may support new units, often enough neighbours object on the basis it reduces the greenery in their view, and in some cases allows the residents of the new granny flat / house extension to overlook their own property.
City planners around the world often set planning rules that permit small extensions to homes without planning permission subject to certain rules. This allows families to grow, keeps the social mix in a neighbourhood and reduces the need for new housing on greenfield sites on the edge of town. The smaller extension might only be one storey in size and will often sit within a small footprint so the extension does not intrude too much on neighbours’ views.
The Vista C ticks many boxes in this regard. It is generally small enough and low enough to sit inside a planning footprint and, therefore, be dropped into someone’s back garden without excessive bureaucracy and dealing with unhappy neighbours.
To that extent, the single TEU shipping container tiny home meets the needs of a great many families around the world – it can often be dropped in and plumbed into the grid with minimal bureaucracy and cost, allowing the wider family to remain on the property for many more years to come.
At the Gateway Gazette we have looked at many off-grid shipping container conversions for those who are sick of modern life and wish to live off the land. Many of these people have chosen to convert their own home using their handiwork. A second hand shipping container can cost as little as $3,000 and then you build from there. For something comfortable but basic, expect to pay around $10,000 all in.
What if you had a little extra in your bank account? Could you buy direct from a company to prefabricate your shipping container home? Companies that make these tiny homes for a living know how to do the job properly and will not make beginners’ mistakes that are inevitable in going it alone.
Over the years writing about shipping container conversions we have seen people ‘reinvent the wheel’ time after time, making the same mistakes that others have made before. It could well be worth the investment on your part to pay for a basic unit such as the Vista C so you are not in complete discomfort while building out your off-grid homestead.
Gateway Container Sales
Whether as a business idea to build similar shipping container homes for new clients, or simply building your own shipping container home, granny flat or bolthole, here at Gateway Container Sales we can supply you with the shipping container you need, as well as access to expertise in how to convert it. Contact us today to discuss your needs.