One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We’ve all heard the proverb, the meaning being of course that something which is considered to be worthless by one person may be considered valuable by another. This is certainly true in the case of unused shipping containers and over the last few years the number of people salvaging, recycling and building homes, offices, restaurants and more from repurposed shipping containers has increased tenfold.
Thankfully, thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest it’s easy for us to see them in all of their glory, often following the journey from unloved metal shell through to completed transformation.
We’ve picked some of our favourite refurbished shipping container transformations and compiled them in this blog so you can enjoy them hopefully as much as we do.
Why are recycled shipping containers so popular?
Globally, we are becoming increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment. Climate change is no longer just an idea, we can tangibly see the effects in our day to day lives. It’s unsurprising then that upcycling in general has been on the rise. By repurposing unused items, whether it be anything from shipping containers to clothes, we reduce the strain on the environment, our carbon footprint and hopefully have some fun whilst doing so.
There are loads of other benefits to repurposing old shipping containers:
- Price – containers themselves often cost as little as £500 or £1000. When you consider that a garden shed or timber workshop of a similar size could set you back as much as 2 or 3x that, shipping containers start to look like a bit of a bargain for something so well built.
- Versatility – because of their ‘building block’ nature, shipping containers can be used to create buildings in an almost endless array of design styles, and in some circumstances buildings can even be broken down and rearranged.
- Mobile – their modular nature means that as well as offering scope to be rearranged, shipping containers also offer the potential to be relocated entirely.
- Durable – these containers were originally destined to spend a life at sea, and so have been designed to be incredibly durable, making them excellent building bricks.
Best shipping container transformations on Instagram
Shipping container homes
Casa Suspensa, Campos Novos Paulista, Brazil
Designed and created using four shipping containers by @casacontainermarilia, Casa Suspensa (Hanging House) was a container house project which focused on primarily on sustainability. 80% of the build was completed using reclaimed materials, and accommodation spans 2766 ft² to include two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The project features a green roof, rainwater harvesting facilities and has been designed to blend in with its surroundings. There is no WiFi and no television – simply plenty of indoor and outdoor space in which it’s possible to really reconnect with the environment. These types of shipping container homes offer an alternative to the traditional bricks and mortar way of living.
Shipping container restaurants
The Saltbox, Wadebridge, Cornwall, UK
Located in Wadebridge, Cornwall the @saltbox.wadebridge is a collection of independent restaurants and coffee houses built from multiple containers that spans two stories. Traders include The Laid-Back Coffee Co, Woody’s Pizza, Graze Tapas, Spicesea curry house, Craftworks. There are already plans for a second hub in the local area which will focus on retail and include a skate shop and barbers.
Shipping container offices
Hoonigan HQ, Wasatch Mountains, Utah, USA
Headed by the infamous Ken Block, the @hooniganracing teams’ headquarters are located in this ultra cool shipping container office block. The unit comprises 17 shipping containers, spans 12,000 square feet and includes both office and of course garage space.
Plenty of other recycled and reclaimed materials were used in its construction, and Ken Block had this to say about the state-of-the-art facility:
“Using recycled shipping containers as the building blocks for the Hoonigan Racing Division headquarters is not only more environmentally friendly, but it gives us the flexibility to add more infrastructure and the ability to pack the entire facility onto trucks if we ever needed to relocate. It also provides a unique element to work with that is visually stunning and really adds to the creative environment of the space. I honestly could not be more stoked on the finished product.”
Quirky shipping container ideas
Shipping container swimming pools
The guys at @shippingcontainerpools are really pushing boundaries with their innovative and out there designs. Pools are available in 2 sizes (either 6m or 12m) and are suitable for installation on both flat and sloping locations. Their Australian patented design has helped them win several Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia (SPASA) awards.
How long do shipping container homes last?
The lifespan of shipping container homes can vary considerably based on a number of factors including locations, maintenance and weather conditions. In theory however there is no reason a well cared for container home wouldn’t last for around 25-30 years, and in some cases even as long as 50 years.
Do you need planning permission for a shipping container home?
If you intend to build and live in your very own shipping container home for extended periods of time it is likely that you will require planning permission. We would advise enquiring with your local authority in order to ascertain exactly what permissions may be required.
How much does a 20ft container cost?
Depending on condition a 20ft shipping container could cost from anywhere between a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds.
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Seaspace has more than 30 years experience in the freight industry, working alongside companies ranging from small start-ups to international blue chip corporations.