40-Foot Cargo Containers into Stylish Small-Home Spaces


cargo container home

Stylish, simple, sleek and modern … are still not words we are entirely used to using when we describe the cold, cramped, enclosed rectangular boxes known best for shipping freight around the world on giant water vessels. More than many container home concepts, however, this design manages to bring together the best of modular thinking, mobile living and comfortable dwelling.

cargo container home exterior

As any architect or designer who has attempted to plan or construct a cargo container home no doubt knows: the limiting factor is not length but width. For a temporary and mobile home, twenty to forty feet long is fine – but eight feet wide is tough to work with even if you are comfortable in relatively cramped living quarters.

cargo container home interior

The trick in this rather stylish (well, for the inside of a shipping container anyway) solution involves pop-out side spaces that make more rooms when the house is sitting still but slide neatly back into their slots for maximum portability. Truly a ‘Mobile Dwelling Unit’ (nicknamed MDU), the center becomes the gathering and circulation space serving a surprisingly spacious little home.

cargo container home plan

Eight total elements slide and fold out from the core central container structure, including a kitchen, bathroom (complete with sink, shower and toilet), bed, desk, sofa, reading nook and closet or pantry. Of course, some of these functions require outside hookups much as they would in a traditional mobile house or home. Like containers, however, they could also be stacked in grids and serviced in bulk.

cargo container home interiors

A combination of simple light plywood panels and bright red-painted highlights gives the open space a bright feel and serves to accent various room-like areas. Perhaps not the height of single-location luxury living or quite as mobile as your typical cheap trailer home, but not bad for a house that can be easily transported on the back of a semi truck to anywhere the roads may take you.

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