Whether it's a low cost vacation home being built, or your goal is to downsize your overall life style; a tiny home built from 20' shipping containers provides enough room live comfortably, while reducing your total environmental footprint.
A tiny home built from shipping containers can be on your own (assuming you have the skills), or you can farm the work out to a general contractor. And the home can be built to be as elaborate or simplistic as desired - we've seen homes of every range from rustic and very low cost, to high end container homes that cost more than a traditional stick built home. The goal is to design a home with every component and feature that is needed, and place it as efficiently as possible in a fixed 20' by 8' space.
Nearly every home requires electrical and plumbing services of some type. For both services the location of the home is the key deciding factor in which options are available. For electrical power the home will need to be connected directly to the power grid, powered by generator, or some type of low impact power supply like solar or wind. Water and plumbing also depends on the location of the property. Chances are, if it's a remote area there may be no water system to tap into; so either a well or some type of water collection service will be required.
Every container home is unique with relation to how it's powered and plumbed. It would take volumes to cover every specific scenario, so rather than go into great deal about all of the various options; we encourage you to contact a local builder to discuss the options available to you.
Most kitchens can be fully equipped with the three main pieces: A refrigerator, oven, and sink. Each component is reliant on power and water, so once the capacities are defined you can being to review which sized options are available for the project.
The dining and living area can all be combined into an open kitchen plan to efficiently use space. Dining tables, sofas and chairs, and other furniture is personal and can reflect the environment, or for the budget minded sourced through friends, family, and second hand sources.
Roughly 1/3 of the time spent in a tiny home, or any home for that matter, is in the bedroom. Space in a 20' shipping container is filled up quickly when designing a home, so disappearing, or fold up beds, can be utilized to save space. Closet space and storage will also need to be incorporated somehow.
Just like the kitchen space, the bathroom options depend on the water capacity. Plumbing will need to be installed in either the floor or ceiling, so the goal is to be as efficient as possible with the design and distance between the fixtures.
There are many books about designing and building shipping container homes, tiny homes and there are some great software applications to help with the layout and design work. Of course, there are also many professional architects and designers that could take on the burden of design. Other related articles that we've written about in the past include:
The sellers on ContainerAuction.com have assisted in building container homes of all shapes and sizes around the United States and Canada. While ContainerAuction.com doesn't actually build house, we have assisted in helping home buyers and builders connect and find the best shipping containers at the best possible prices.