Shipping Container Homes

An Evergreen Home

Julianna Carlson, a Washington state native, found herself in quite the pickle. When she returned home after graduating from college in 2015, she was not in love with any of the homes she found in her price range. She then devised a plan to build a shipping container home. 

20200618_Seattle_Container_Home_KitchenAll Photos by Alex Crook for Seattle Mag

Just a stones throw from where she grew up, Julianna built her home from six 20 ft shipping containers with four serving as the main level and two stacked on top to comprise the second story. She allowed the exterior to remain obvious as shipping containers; the look and feel of the intermodal containers paired with the light blue paint perfectly marries delicate sophistication with a modern industrial style.

The interior build-out took a little over a year due to permitting issues. Delridge, Washington, where Julianna lives, was not sure about how to deal with the permitting and inspection of a shipping container house. 

20200618_Seattle_Container_Home_StairsAll Photos by Alex Crook for Seattle Mag

Stepping inside the home, visitors are immediately treated to stunning nautical styling and decor. In the master bedroom's walk-in closet, the window is a round porthole, creating the illusion of standing in a ship's hull. The handrails on the upper deck both interior and exterior are reminiscent of railing that one would see on a ferry. There's even an access wall on the main level that features small stenciled cargo boats, a nod to the vessels that would have carried the cargo containers that her home is built from.

An accent that we found to be absolutely lovely is the use of pieces of corten steel around the home. Instead of the trendy and traditional sliding barn door in front of the bathroom on the main level, a segment of steel from one of the shipping containers was installed instead. The texture of the steel gives off the vibe of being in motion and closely resembles a curtain. 

20200618_Seattle_Container_Home_bathroomAll Photos by Alex Crook for Seattle Mag

In an interview with Seattle Mag, Carlson has this to say about the nautical theme and how her boating background prepared her for close-quartered living: “I really wanted the interior space to feel bigger than it was,” Carlson says of maximizing her 1,000 square feet. “We’re a boat family—my parents used to commercial fish. I firmly believe that boats have it figured out when it comes to putting as much as possible in a small space.” With this in mind, the furniture that she chose is largely portable. Check out this awesome rolling coffee table that she built out of a stump she recovered:

20200618_Seattle_Container_Home_Living_RoomAll Photos by Alex Crook for Seattle Mag

The beautiful thing about building a shipping container home is that the lego-like formation of the containers allows for greater customizability. Even after the completion of a project, additions and expansions are more readily possible with a house built from shipping containers than a traditional stick-built house both from a cost and ease of build perspective. Carlson may eventually want more space for herself, or if she chooses to sell, the new buyers will have the opportunity to more easily expand the livable areas. 

Cover Photo by Alex Crook for Seattle Mag

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Written by Container Guru / June 18, 2020

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