studio 20

Budget – <$2,500
Square Footage – 160
Being a homeowner sucks when you don’t have enough storage, as is the case with living in a historic neighborhood.  A modern solution is to convert a used shipping container (ISBU) into a detached home office/garage space.  Using extremely inexpensive materials (mostly just pressure treated wood and 1/4″ glazing) you can achieve an interesting space on the cheap.  Makes a great DIY weekend project too.

container-3 house

Budget – $74,000
Square footage – 700 (approx.)
Recycling old shipping containers and using them in the construction of affordable housing is a concept that has been around, so I have found out, for many decades.  Since the 1970’s in fact, people have been using shipping containers for all manner of residential and even some commercial projects.  In recent years, the idea has gained considerable momentum and has received worldwide attention.  For lack of a better term, I have “jumped on the bandwagon”.
Housing is an important issue.  And affordable housing is even more important.  The container-3 house is what some might call “tiny living”.  The usable space inside is kept to a minimum.  Discussions had to take place about “what is really necessary in a modern home”.  The conclusion is that we, as Americans especially, waste a tremendous amount of space on our homes.  Storage for the sake of storage, large rooms that could be made much smaller, bedrooms with amenities that are completely unnecessary, the list goes on.
In our floor plan, emphasis is put on function, comfort and economy while still providing all the modern creature comforts that many expect.  Planters were added at the front to create “action” in the front yard without going to the trouble of providing a front porch.  Gardening or planting can now happen in the front as opposed to the back yard.  The exterior materials, colors and even the roof structure become the areas where exploration in design can really take place.  Since the shipping container is both form and structure on all 6 sides, the opportunities to explore new ways of shading and cladding are nearly limitless.  For this design, the exterior was kept simple and straightforward.

The Row House

Budget – $100 – $185 / sf approx.
Square Footage – 1,534
A modern Craftsman single family, 3 bedroom 2 bath, home with trellised car port and rear porch.  Please email us if interested.

Oak Street Porch Addition – unbuilt

Client – George Cornwell and Noli Novak
Location – Jacksonville, Florida
Budget – N/A

During the demolition of the home for the initial project, the rear porch was removed because it was deemed unsafe.  The plan was to rebuild the porch as part of Phase II, but has as yet not been constructed.  The clients wanted a rear porch that was a little more contemporary than the rest of the house because it is in the rear and not visible to the street.  The plan was to utilize the existing footprint of the old porch and extend to the inside corner.  Using 4×4 wood guard rails and posts and steel cable horizontal railings a modern minimalist look was achieved and can be constructed for a reasonably low cost.  The new roof overhang is typical wood construction with a copper colored standing seam roof to blend with the existing brick.  The portions of the exterior wall that are not brick will be covered with new waterproofing and vertical siding used as a rain screen.  The existing windows will remain, but will be repainted.  Add lighting and some exterior ceiling fans and the porch is complete.

Oak Street Renovation

Client – George Cornwell and Noli Novak
Location – Jacksonville, Florida
Budget – $200,000+
Completion Date – June 2009

The clients for this project approached me to design the renovation of their recently purchased 2 story, 2 family duplex into a single family home.  The renovation included gutting the entire first floor and a good portion of the second floor to accomodate 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a artists studio.  The first floor is comprised of one bathroom, one bedroom, a laundry area, new kitchen with pantry and an open loft-style family/dining room.  This was made possible by installing a 16″ deep steel beam the length of the house supported by steel tube columns hidden in the existing walls.  The original plaster walls were salvaged to the extent possible and repaired.  New drywall was installed where necessary.

The design included replacing the existing rear 2 story porch as well as installing a new overhand for the existing second story front porch.  These portions are, as yet, not constructed, but are planned for future phases.

Raymond Residence Addition

Client – Frank Raymond
Location – Jacksonville, Florida
Budget – N/A
Completion Date – N/A

Master Suite Addition to a single family home in the Lakewood neighborhood.  Addition included renovating an existing sunken living space and adding a master suite complete with walk-in closet and a new master bath.  The project was designed in 2007 and remains unbuilt due to the current economic climate.

3 thoughts on “residential

  1. Do you think it is feasible to create a non-profit manufacturing and assembly line facility that builds dwellings out of shipping containers? I would be interested on your input since you have archecitual knowledge in the area of shipping container dwellings of single and multi-family homes.

    My name is Hal Bell and I’m part of Denver Green Jobs Initiative (DGJI), where they are providing free green job training to the low-income and felons. The education center is set in an old trolley warehouse with ample space for assembly line construction.

    I am currently working on seeking funding and grants through federal, local agencies and obtaining private donations to build project that provides local jobs with building sustainable living.

    Thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to any comments you may have.


    Hal Bell
    Denver, CO

    • Hal, Thanks for your comments and questions. I certainly think it’s feasible as long as you’ve got a market for the product and solid partnerships with contractors and architects/designers that are providing the product and services to clients. I’d be happy to talk with you further via email if you like. Take care and good luck with your grant proposals. Cheers.

  2. Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

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