Shipping container houses may be made of inexpensive recycled materials, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. Case in point: a unique net-zero home in Boulder, Colorado that just sold for $3.15 million dollars. The design began as a rather ordinary single-story structure but quickly blossomed into its current creative setup after a renovation by its second owners, completed in 2018.

As you can see, adding that second level onto the home is what really makes it stand out, especially since the builders highlighted the use of shipping containers in the design. More specifically, the renovation added two 53-foot containers sourced from Chicago, one of which still has its hinged steel doors thrown dramatically open to reveal a picture window.

The owners also incorporated reclaimed barn wood into the project, giving both levels the same distressed exterior siding to tie them together. The leftover barn wood was used for the interior ceilings of the main living space. Altogether, this weathered wood, the exposed steel of the shipping crates, the concrete floors, and pops of bright color give the home a lot of personality.

Shipping crates can be hard to transform into livable houses because they’re so narrow, but there’s no shortage of space in this four bedroom, four bathroom abode. Generous use of glass allows natural light to penetrate every square inch, and the rooms are laid out to take advantage of views in every direction, including the surrounding Red Rocks, Flatirons, and foothills. On the main floor, a garage-style door opens the living room up to a large patio.

The lucky buyer got the home fully furnished with all the ingenious little touches the unnamed sellers incorporated into the design, like a vintage dresser repurposed as a bathroom vanity, a commercial refrigerator with glass doors, diner-style stools in the kitchen, a striking industrial metal staircase, and botanical wallpaper.

“Both he and his partner are extremely creative,” says listing agent Zach Zeldner of the sellers. “Technically, it was a remodel, but little remains [of the original 1954 single-family home]. The lines in the design are modern, but a lot of the materials are rustic.”

Zeldner, an agent with Compass Realty, notes that the home has had an astronomical amount of interest since it was listed, and it sold almost as soon as it became available.

Here’s the description from the property’s listing:

A work of art inside and out. Meticulously handcrafted using shipping containers, reclaimed wood, and steel, this outstanding 4,000+-square-foot residence is a marvel in design, functionality, and energy efficiency. Sited on an elevated 9,375 square-foot lot, the home frames breathtaking views in every direction, including huge iconic Flatirons views to the south, unobstructed Red Rocks and Foothills views to the north, and eastern vistas over Downtown Boulder. Flooded with abundant natural light and featuring multiple indoor and outdoor living spaces, this home is designed to take advantage of all that Boulder has to offer.”

This unique upcycled home is a great example of how shipping container architecture can go right, versus when it’s less than livable or downright dangerous.