Container home front street view: modern Houses by Ecosa Institute

Abandoned containers become an amazing cheap home

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Built in Arizona, this 185 m² house is the first of its kind in the area and, having been constructed from six recycled shipping containers, has certainly gained a lot of attention. 

Flagstaff is a stunning, heritage American town so this two-storey home, complete with an open-plan living and dining room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two offices, a full kitchen, working greenhouse and numerous decks hasn't exactly blended into this much loved university town. However, that's no bad thing as it has come to be seen as a real architectural triumph and welcome addition.

Warm in the winter thanks to solar and underfloor heating, it also stays cool in the summer as a result of natural mountain breezes. A truly eco-friendly property, it stores solar power and harvests rainwater and snow melt to effectively sustain itself. Also, with clever insulation constructed from biofoam and recycled denim, nothing has been left to chance or the elements. Aluminium windows and translucent insulated fibreglass inject natural light into the space and in line with the incredible home design and specific ecological mandate, the house has won a Coconino County Sustainability Award

With such amazing credentials, we can't wait to take a closer look, so let's do just that!

Awesomely open-plan

Given the shape and size of containers, an open-plan interior to this fabulous and unusual build was somewhat inevitable but we had no idea it would be this stunning!

Using the bare bones of containers to create the metal staircase and ceiling supports, there is little chance of forgetting what structures made the home but it's a welcome reminder, given in a quiet and humble voice, not an overbearing shout. 

Polished concrete makes for the perfect floor and will be wonderfully warm thanks to the integral heating. We are staggered by how roomy and welcoming this property is, with no aesthetic compromises being made.

A mint marvel

Container home front street view: modern Houses by Ecosa Institute
Ecosa Institute

Container home front street view

Ecosa Institute

Dropping a large container home into a traditional university town may not sound like a sensitive move, but through clever design from the genius designers at the Ecosa Institute, the end result is something exceptionally special and eye-catching. And we don't just mean because of the bright green colour that it's been finished in!

Though elements of the containers remain, what we're really taken with is how cohesive the structure is as a whole and how homely it genuinely looks. Knowing just how incredibly eco-friendly it is (as well as being attractive), it's easy to understand why the residents of Flagstaff really took to the house and are proud to have it in their town.

No compromises

Galley kitchen: modern Kitchen by Ecosa Institute
Ecosa Institute

Galley kitchen

Ecosa Institute

When you hear the words 'eco-friendly house', there is a natural propensity to believe some home comforts will have been negated in an effort to be a friend to the environment, but that's not the case here. In fact, if anything, the finishes and appearance seems to be even more high-end and beautiful.

This galley kitchen gives no clues as to the structure of the house itself and yet will be powered by the solar energy panels and deliver collected rainwater through the tap. Despite being so cutting edge in its sustainability, the kitchen looks like it could have been created by a high-end design team so makes no aesthetic sacrifice for the greater good.

Bright and clean

It's clever little nuances like using container walls as discreet privacy screens that helps to set this build apart, even more than its audacious design in general. 

Bathrooms can run the risk of looking a little too industrial and cold, especially in unusual settings, but this space feels relaxing, warm, private where it needs to be and open and bright everywhere else. We love the use of long, linear furniture and suite items that mirror the original shape of the structural containers, with that heady pop of mint green helping to transform this en suite space.

Boxed out

Master bedroom and bathroom: modern Bedroom by Ecosa Institute
Ecosa Institute

Master bedroom and bathroom

Ecosa Institute

As master bedrooms go, this is relatively demure and understated, but when the rest of the house is so incredible, you can stand to pare it back a bit for your sleeping quarters!

A simple cube, lit by a two opposite facing windows, the bedroom area has been cordoned off with a simple rail and curtain to allow for total privacy. Although it's undeniably simple in style, we're in love with it! We can just tell that blissful sleep will befall anyone that gets in here and thanks to the bathroom being in such close proximity, the early morning stagger to brush your teeth would be less arduous.

All on deck

Front studio: modern Study/office by Ecosa Institute
Ecosa Institute

Front studio

Ecosa Institute

As we mentioned in the introduction, this property features a number of decks, all of which offer lovely views and perfect platforms for separate areas. Used primarily for individual office and studio spaces, the extra containers have been connected to the main body of the house using a series of wooden walkways that can double up as patios and al fresco gathering spots. 

It's a good job that so many decks have been included, as we're sure that the unusual design, coupled with the stunning interior finish and impressive eco-ethos of this house, will all ensure a steady number of visitors for years to come.

For more alternative living inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: The mortgage-busting container home.

Would you consider alternative housing like this?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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