Old shipping containers turned into cozy homes.

Few homebuyers would notice an old shipping container for sale and think: “That’s it! That’s our new home.”

Since 2011, Seattle Architect has been working to transform used shipping containers into modern works of “cargotecture.” He has completed the first 20-by-8-foot home and is building two others.

Modern stainless-steel appliances, hardwood floors, a tiled bathroom with a shower and a queen bed don’t crowd the 160-square-foot “Cargo Cottage” studio.

At 8 feet wide, outstretched hands can almost touch each side.

The starting price ranges from $35,000 for the cottage and up to $72,000 for the two-bedroom “Cargo Haus,” a double 40-foot container with 640 square feet.

He says the idea came to him while working as an architect for International Coffee House.

Gazing out the conference-room window during a meeting, he noticed the nearby shipping yard in South Seattle was full of bright-red containers 

“I started fantasizing about what I would need to make the space livable so I could sneak into a container and be transported back home.  I thought, let’s see, I’ll need a bed and bathroom and what else?”

Years later, after leaving his corporate job, selling all his possessions that didn’t float and spending two years sailing on his 26-foot boat, he had an epiphany.

The water was sparkling with bioluminescence, the stars were out and dolphins were swimming alongside his boat. He says that’s when he knew he wanted to propose going into the cargo-home business with his partner.

The first two cargo homes are being built at the on Whidbey Island. And, like a boat, they can easily be picked up by a boom crane and transported using a flatbed truck to a different location if needed.


“It’s the ultimate in reuse,” says one of the owners who purchased a Cargo Cottage with her husband. “I love the idea of taking a perfectly good steel structure and making it into something great instead of discarding it into a waste yard.”

The plan is to put the cottage on a piece of land on Whidbey Island that overlooks Admiralty Inlet, live in it for a while and then turn it into a guesthouse.

The energy-efficient, environmentally friendly aspect appeals to her. The homes are made of 80 percent recycled or re-purposed materials.

She also feels confident knowing that the architect has a system to track each container by identification number, like a VIN number on a car, to see what the container carried and to be sure nothing toxic has ever been transported.

It also doesn’t hurt that the containers have style.

“We stopped by to look at the model home for fun, but then we were absolutely surprised and amazed” The couple liked the round windows that broke up the boxy feeling.

“The more we looked at it, the more we realized it’s like a boat,” she says. “Everything, every square inch of space, has to be used and everything has to have a purpose in such a small area to make it work.”

He keeps dreaming of even bigger projects. He said he is in talks with interested buyers to construct containers to serve as everything from movable office space to hygiene centers for the homeless.

ShelterKraft has also sold a walk-in storage container unit and a classroom made out of a cargo container.

The architect also plans to build a couple of cargo containers within the next year for himself.

Maybe a double 20-foot elevated living and music cottage for Corning and a 20-foot “floating cargo cottage” for himself that he can moor on the water — just like a boat.

For further information regarding our storage containers for rental or sales, contact AZ Containers at 877-292-6937 to see how the most basic steel box to a customized, climate controlled storage or workspace with windows, they’ll have your solution on it’s way to you fast.