Customer Stories: Moving into a 40ft Shipping Container Apartment
In 2019, a customer decided to purchase a 40ft used shipping container unit from Gateway Containers, with the intent of modifying it himself into a completely off-grid shipping container apartment. He plans to move his apartment unit to his 20-acre property once he has finished adding the final touches.
His vision included creating a fully self-sufficient, off-grid home – all at an affordable price. This vision seemed simple, but everyone he told about the project doubted that he could make it work. This gave our customer the motivation to begin and finish his build, as he wanted to prove everyone wrong.
Two years on, and he has almost finished. The internal modifications are complete, and the exterior is almost there. All that is left to do is fit the cladding to the exterior walls to give the illusion it is not a shipping container. And, of course, the shipping container’s classic flat roofs are staying!
While we are shipping container experts, the team at Gateway Containers do not carry out shipping container home constructions. We can help you through the process of buying the correct container for your project and getting your plans off the ground. Just like we did with this customer!
Our customer personalised his 40ft shipping container apartment with the following modifications:
- Designed to run off solar power and gas.
- Lighting, electrics, CO2 smoke detector, and air conditioning unit.
- Fully insulated using earth wool insulation.
- Framed like a house internally. Plasterboard fitted.
- Windows – cut, reinforced, and installed four windows with a security screen.
- Front door installed with a security screen door.
- Kitchen – 2 burner gas cooker and oven, rangehood, inbuilt fridge, sink with storage, benchtop, and storage cupboards.
- Bathroom – 1 window, toilet, sink, mirror cabinet, shower, and bath.
- 1 bedroom – fit out with a queen bed with under bed storage, two bedside tables and a chest of drawers.
- Living room – 2 windows, in-built shelves. Fit-out with a fold-out couch, car stereo and speakers, and a wall-mounted TV.
- Storage cupboards throughout.
This shipping container apartment unit cost our customer around $30k, including modifying the shipping container, as he did all the construction work himself, with some help from friends.
If you are curious about cost analysis and the steps involved in a shipping container modification, contact our expert team on 07 3348 6463. We look forward to hearing from you!
Shipping container apartments are affordable and sustainable
You may have heard the news that shipping containers are a viable source of alternative accommodation, as well as a sustainable housing solution. They are popular because they are cheaper than traditional construction materials. You can buy a shipping container for as little as $4,000. New containers generally cost around $4,000 to $8,000.
Considering the overwhelming amount of shipping containers being sold, there are many available for a reasonable price. So why is there such a high demand for shipping containers? We break it down:
- They’re cheap. No matter what your income, this affordable housing option could be perfect for you. The additional cost savings you make in materials alone can go right back into the decor.
- They’re portable/easy to move. Is there a housing shortage in your favourite area? Can’t find a permanent piece of land for your slice of paradise? Or just wanting to test out a new location? Build your perfect and affordable housing solution on your own without being locked down to one specific location.
- Eco-friendly because you don’t need to build from scratch! And you are repurposing!
- Extremely energy-efficient and durable. Shipping containers are built to withstand the Australian environment; the Australian Standards individually test every container for strength and safety.
- They’re spacious and adaptable. A 40ft container can accommodate a family of five with some clever furnishings and a little DIY. They make studio apartments seem small! They make student housing look like sardines in a tin. And we haven’t even started to talk about the possibility of roof terraces – those flat roofs are able to be used for a variety of purposes.
- They’re versatile. You can fit a kitchenette, bathroom, bedroom, or anything else in-between. With seemingly endless alternative living options, this housing solution can be as full of custom options as larger homes are.
- Keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. Shipping containers can be insulated against the elements.
- Able to be modified. You can choose to modify them yourself or hire someone, depending on your time and budget.
So, how can you customise your own shipping container apartment?
- Size – The size of your apartment depends on the length and width of the used shipping container. The maximum length for shipping containers can be over 40ft with a width of 8ft. Most containers are 20ft long by 8ft wide. Your roof will be about 8ft 6 off the ground too, unless you are purchasing a High Cube container, then the roof height is 9ft 6.!
- Layout – You can build a layout around the length of the container. Before you do this, think about the rooms you use the most in your house. Then, see which of these you can realistically fit inside your shipping container apartment.
- Materials – Shipping containers are made from steel, so they’re solid, and resistant to shocks and weather conditions. While this is one element you can’t and probably don’t want to change, there are plenty of material options to choose from to cover the solid steel construction. Inside your shipping container apartment, you are free to design your flooring, walls, counter space, and any surface you’d like to customise.
- Interior design – Here you can think about your final touches. Items like couches, kitchen appliances, artwork, and decor all come together to make your space feel like a home. Whether you are styling your container apartment with bare necessities or with all the bells and whistles, the choice is yours! However, you need to be cautious about making sure you don’t make each space feel too cramped.
Shipping Container Living FAQs
How long will a shipping container home or apartment last?
With good maintenance, your home could last for over 25 years. Make sure you do some spot checks for rust every now and then, and keep your home in tip top shape.
How strong are shipping container homes?
Shipping containers have a lot of structural integrity. They are built to carry cargo across the ocean and, even with modifications, they’re VERY sturdy.
Do shipping containers get excessively hot?
An unventilated and uninsulated container can get hot inside, however, any shipping container home (or project) should be built with insulation and ventilation in mind.
What are some of the challenges when it comes to living in a shipping container home?
Room widths can be difficult to work with, however narrow rooms make for interesting layout customisations.
How do you get started?
Gateway Containers aren’t in the business of shipping container home construction but we can provide suitable containers and connect you with a team of experts that includes engineers and tradespeople. Our experience with shipping containers, and working with previous customers, will be invaluable to help you create a containerised living solution that is all your own.
Talk to our team today about cost, square feet, customisation and more to get your shipping container apartment started!