Document Cost: $450.00 US¹
Estimated Building Cost: $45,600.00 US
Inspired by a mobile prefab cabin design I saw recently, I started thinking about how to design a sustainable container cabin that is affordable, off grid and encourages a more active lifestyle.
The x | cabin is a simple shelter, 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, with all the functional requirements of a modern home (living, dining, kitchen, bathing, sleeping) but fit into two containers joined by a open breezeway/patio space. And the beauty of this design is it’s made to be completely factory fabricated, put onto a truck and delivered to site ready to go. The foundation pilings can be pre-poured on site, or the units can sit on prefab foundation blocks like these.
Electricity is supplied by a total of three solar pv panels. Two atop the main sleeping container and one atop the living container. Rain water is collected and stored in a single above ground container that is fed into a solar water heater. Heating is provided via wood burning stove while cooling is supplied either via cross ventilation or thru-wall a/c in each unit. Insulated windows and rigid foam insulation in walls, floor and ceiling round out the performance items on the x-cabin.
So, if you’ve got a piece of land you just don’t know what to do with, contact us and we can help you build that vacation cabin you’ve always dreamed about.
¹ – Document cost includes floor plans, reflected ceiling plan, elevations of each principle facade, (1) section and, if necessary, site plan based on site information provided by client. Additional services, documents and consultant coordination may be necessary in your jurisdiction and will be an additional cost. Please contact us with any questions.
I admire your work. But I do have a question. What US states are most open to container homes. I’ve ‘ searched online but no answer. I live in Oceanside Ca. I can’t begin to tell you how negative on the subject Ca is. They will tear down a lovely beach house so that a millionaire can build a monstrosity of a mansion but they won’t let an ordinary man or women build a container home. I’m looking for a new state to call home because a container home is the only home I want. Thanks, P.D.S
Priscilla, thank you for your comments. I’m sorry you’re having such trouble in your locale. I am a little confused about there being such opposition in California for this type of alternative construction. Washington and Oregon, both, have numerous container projects and I’m sure if I did a basic search I would find a number in California as well. It typically comes down to planning and proper construction detailing in order to get planning officials to sign off. Really no different than any other method of construction.
If you’d like to talk more about container designs or how to approach building officials and planning departments, I’d be happy to help.
Interesting blog and container concept. Have two technical questions as I consider feasibility of a container house myself. First, does your proposed pier foundation provide 18 inches of crawl space under the container – code requirement for manufactured homes – or are you assuming the container can get a waiver. Also, are you planning a ground vapor barrier and screening between the piers to keep vapor and animals out? Many thanks…devil’s always in the details, Mark
Container homes I suppose could be permitted as mobile homes, or more accurately modular homes. A pier foundation would be simplest, and cheapest, but it’s certainly not the only. You could put them slab on grade or even on a stem wall or above a basement. It’s a modular building material like any other.
Thanks, Jeremiah…unless I am missing something, looks like piers as you propose plus non-bearing curtain walls (with vents) between them would be the simplest and cheapest way to meet typical building code requirements regarding crawl space height and keep animals out.
I’m unclear what you mean by “non-bearing curtain walls”. Any walls that span between containers would need to support the load of whatever is above them (i.e. the roof). Interior walls of 2×4 wood studs are typically sufficient. Now, regarding building codes, there are many other factors to consider other than just crawl spaces and interior walls. Most cities have minimum square footage requirements for permitting. This can be difficult as the requirements are typically above what would be desired for a container home. Other issues come into play as well such as fair housing, hvac (i tend to take a passive approach), etc.
If you’d like to talk more, please feel free to message me directly via the “about” section.
Here’s a sample diagram of a pier and curtain wall foundation. Posting link as this is likely a topic of interest for folks contemplating a container home in areas subject to building codes and searching for foundation info. Curtain sections enclose the crawl space (and allow it to be substantially below grade) but are not load-bearing. Happy to be one-upped with a better approach, Mark http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x109/windyhilll/piercurtwall.jpg