Artistic Endeavors – Contained Living

I’ll own up to a fascination with one-off home design shows, including ones that feature tiny homes. So, small abodes made from used shipping containers intrigued me. If I had made it to Tortona Design Week in Milan I could have checked out Containerwerk’s sophisticated reuse of containers.

The firm’s staff make several good points about their approach – reuse of the containers, adaptability, and affordability. You can tour some prototypes in this video from Design Week.

I went down a rabbit hole when I searched for shipping container homes. I knew they were popular when I found HGTV had a show about them. Even Akron, Ohio, is trying out containers for artist studios with Akron Soul Train.

While a single container doesn’t have a lot of space, you can get a comfortably sized home when containers are combined. Not all the homes pictured on Design Milk scream shipping container. Clever stacking and exterior cladding do much to soften the shoe box effect.

Obviously such homes have limitations. No one is going to transform them into a two story colonial, and they have a modern, industrial vibe. However, I’d love to remake one into a studio with a view. Now all I need is the land overlooking the ocean.


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13 responses to “Artistic Endeavors – Contained Living

  1. I once visited a home made from the tank of a tanker truck. Carpentry techniques fron ships’ cabins were used to fit everything in very nicely.

  2. I live in a biggish house, surrounded by stuff, and yet I am really intrigued by tiny homes, too–funny, that. Maybe we always want that we don’t have? And I, too, would love a separate studio space, where I could “go to work.”

    • It goes back to Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” I think. I’m attracted to the idea of a separate space that doesn’t touch my domestic sphere, where I can pull up the drawbridge. Tiny homes seem an oxymoron when I see all my neighbor’s cars parked in the driveway because the 2 car garage is filled with stuff.

  3. Not too long ago I spoke to the Mister about containers for my studio in the back garden. There’s plenty of room but he said something about the cost of the crane and that was that.
    On another note – my cousin’s son is building a tiny home, at his leisure because he is using all recycled or leftover materials and it can take a lot longer to do it that way (and he already has a place to live)! I wonder if there is something to the quilter in us; cutting things up and putting them together again, that causes us to be curious about building designs and reusing stuff. It seems a common thread with many of us.

    • Maybe you could find a shed that’s going begging and set that up in your garden. I enjoy seeing how living spaces are made to be useful and beautiful, and I believe we could reuse much more than we do. However, I think building codes and the trades make that more difficult than it should be. I’m able to reuse and recycle more in quilts as the quilt police are permanently banned from my studio.

  4. The idea of a studio space in a separate building is very appealing to me. A repurposed container would be the perfect size! Though I admit to being a whole lot jealous of one couple, who bought a Victorian church and converted it to a studio for her quilting and his photography. I’m currently trying to reshape the former master bedroom in my condo to a great studio space. Goes slowly but I think I’ll get there—the “dressing area” holds the ironing board, just far enough from the machine that I have to get up to use it.

    • A church sounds lovely, but I suspect it would be expensive to heat. And good idea to not have the ironing board so close to the machine. I’ve seen people brag about an ironing surface so close you just swivel your chair, but I think it’s good to stand up now and then.

  5. Rosemaryflower

    agree. Those tiny homes look like a paradise – home away from home, or maybe a studio….. moreso, in my case, a place for hubbs to play with all of his computer parts.
    I have my “office” in the sun room next to my other office, the kitchen, with a great view of our very open “colonial” house for two cornish rex kitty monkeys to run and play all day.

  6. I love the concept for several reasons, including re-use of material. Drive through any rural area, on the county (and smaller) roads, and you’ll see junkyards with buses, truck trailers, containers, RVs, etc, all things that have potential for use in some better way. I do believe some day in the future, there will be mining of our current junkyards!

    • I’m always appalled at the stuff that gets junked because it’s so easy to get new stuff. I hope we begin to reuse our junk sooner rather than later.

      • Twice a year we have “mayor’s cleanup” trash pickup. You can put out things that wouldn’t get picked up the rest of the year. Some people roam around with their trucks or vans and glean some things, and the rest goes to the landfill. Two items I see the most on the curb are vacuum cleaners and desk chairs. Seems that we make crappy vacuum cleaners these days…

      • And those cheap desk chairs don’t last long, either.

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