Tiny Off-Grid Shipping Container Home

Case Studies

Tiny Off-Grid Shipping Container Palace Costs $24,000USD Blog Cover

In our interviews, we introduce to you an owner who has built their own shipping container home. We ask how they decided to use containers, how they actually did the build, and what they learned along the way.

Today we welcome Brenda Kelly from iqcontainerhomes.

About Brenda’s Home

Brenda has managed to build an incredible off grid container home using a single 20-foot shipping container. The home is packed with functional, space-saving ideas and serves as a tremendous example of what can be built with shipping containers.

Her home is 107 square feet which means she could build her home without requiring any building permits or council consent.

Let’s get straight into the interview!

How did you get the idea of building your home with shipping containers?

I like to be different. I’m not sure where the idea came from. I’ve always liked the idea of small, cozy homes and I started to design them as a teenager. I think I may have passed a container yard one day and thought how cool it would be to live in one of them!

Why did you decide to build your home out of shipping containers?

The structural integrity of shipping containers is second to none. Not only are they fire, earthquake and hurricane resistant but they are affordable, easily transported, require minimal foundations, and are environmentally friendly because they are made from recycled steel. They can be painted or printed with imagery and are a modern funky concept.

It’s a combination of all these points which made shipping containers appeal to me.

Deliver Shipping Container Home

Brenda’s shipping container home getting delivered!

How long did your home take to build?

The research, design and planning took a while and is not to be underestimated.

However, investing the time here meant a smooth build without any unwanted surprises! The finished product is perfect and I’m delighted with the results.

Once I knew exactly what I wanted, I sourced the necessary materials. Then I got professional container modifiers to do the required cutting, welding and reinforcing. From here the build took around 3 months of evenings and weekends for me and my Dad.

How did you insulate the containers?

For the insulation, we used Kingspan’s Kooltherm K10 in the walls and ceiling. To insulate the container floor we used polystyrene.

Can you talk about the process of building your home? What were some of the highlights of the process?

A memorable moment was trying to break into my narrow upper-level window after getting locked out. I’m not sure I’d call that a highlight though!

In all seriousness, this was a great father-daughter project. We had our moments, but as a whole, it was a blast. (And yes, we’re still talking!) I loved all the learning, problem-solving, and innovative thinking involved. There’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Seeing your dream turn into a reality is incredibly rewarding.

Shipping Container Home Taking Shape

Brenda’s Shipping Container Home Taking Shape!

Roughly how much did it cost to build? Can you give us a high-level breakdown?

In total, my tiny container palace cost around $24,000. This figure includes:

  • Purchasing the container
  • Laying the foundations
  • Finishing out the container with appliances and fixtures, etc.
  • Setting up the utilities and bathroom.

In your experience what are the advantages of building with shipping containers?

In addition to the benefits already mentioned, you’re starting off with a strong, weatherproof structure. They are easy to transport which means you can build your container home offsite.

This is very handy if your final destination is in the middle of nowhere or if you wish to live off grid with limited capacity to run power tools.

Would you recommend building with shipping containers?

Building a shipping container home is not for the fainthearted. Do your research, especially if you want to get your home approved with your local authority.

That being said, when done right they are fantastic and have many benefits over traditional housing. Yes, I’d definitely recommend it.

Where can people find out more about you and get in touch?

You can find out more about me and my shipping container home over at www.iqcontainerhomes.co.nz

Gallery of Brenda’s Home:

If you want to see more of Brenda’s home, check out the video below which includes a video tour of her home!

Brenda has another container home that we profiled here, so check it out if you liked this one!

Let us know any thoughts you have about Brenda’s home below in the comments section.

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