These Trailblazing Conversion Homes Are Utilizing the Rising Popularity of Storage Units

Believe it or not, shipping containers have become the next big thing when it comes to contemporary home design.

Storage units are notoriously adaptable, being used for a variety of creative and innovative design projects. With the exploding popularity of eco-friendly conversion homes, storage units are becoming the hot new trend.

It makes sense: These small and durable little boxes are designed to be portable, spacious and cheap—all signs of a good conversion project. The trend has become so popular that storage unit houses are even sold on Amazon. That’s right, you can buy a fully-furnished, $40,000 (plus shipping and handling) tiny home built from a storage unit, complete with bedroom, shower, toilet, kitchen and living area—on Amazon.
If you’d prefer something a little more exotic, the remarkable, off-the-grid Cliff House in Johannesburg boasts a fully sustainable abode built entirely from storage units. The epic 1,400 square-foot structure includes floors made of recycled wine corks and repurposed plastic bottles.
Another shipping container project is from Alberta-based company Honomobo, which specializes in building modern storage unit conversion homes, office buildings, studios and multi-unit complexes. One of these homes is the bright and modular HO2 studio home—a 362-square-foot house where residents can enjoy an open living area, bedroom nook and full-size glass window.
The Pasadena-based Kubed Living specializes in modern, innovative and elegant homes made from storage facilities. One of its trailblazing options is the boutique, bungalow-style room, which is designed to be an interesting, hipster-chic alternative to traditional lodging. The tiny storage container retreat comes fully equipped with a café, bar, pool and gym structure.
While the beauty of the storage unit conversion house lies in its simplicity, some designers have utilized the adaptable structures for truly extravagant homes. Engineer Jorge Salcedo and Colombian architect Gregorio Baquero created a three-bedroom, four-bath house in Arizona, measuring 2,969 square-feet and featuring three floors and a four-car garage.
Architect Adam Kalkin constructed a remarkable storage unit home in New Jersey, welding multiple steel shipping containers together with steel beams to create a multi-winged, open-floor plan house. The use of glass sliders curates an airy feel, as do floor-to-ceiling windows and skylit bedrooms.
Many of these examples showcase a level of pride in their conversion, but not all designers are interested in creating homes that look like they’ve been converted from storage units. The gorgeous Escape Den in Bangladesh is a prime example—a jungle-like dwelling that evokes an expansive treehouse with greenery-strewn terraces and staircases leading to various levels. As with most shipping container homes, the open-layout creates a spacious feel that distracts from the confined nature of its original materials.
Not all storage unit conversions are meant to become a full-blown mansion. For example, the Las Vegas-based conversion company Alternative Living Spaces builds luxury shipping containers that are meant to be used as backyard rental apartments or pool houses. Starting at $36,000, each unit is fully customizable and adaptable to whatever space in which the owner wants to feature it.
As conversion becomes more common, the storage unit will become a prime example of how designers can transform even a metal box into a chateau. From affordable to high-end, innovative building is the design and architectural way of the future.