They’ve traveled across vast oceans. Now they will provide shelter for a buyer who loves their stylish vision. Three homes made of shipping containers are for sale in Oregon City, OR—located about a half-hour outside of Portland.
“It was one oversized lot, so we bought that lot, and the zoning allowed us to break it into three small lots, which we did,” explains developer Carl Coffman, who owns Relevant Buildings, a company that transforms shipping containers into homes.
“I wanted to do something about climate change. I decided I’m going to try to figure out how to build houses that are affordable and provide kind of a different model of how we should be living,” he says. “Right now, we’re in the middle of trying to push our product out so people see it.”
Each home comprises several shipping containers. Two are what Coffman calls “T houses,” with one longer container and two shorter containers welded together in the shape of the letter T.
The other one features two 45-foot containers side by side, and is the Suite Spot River model.
“We put bump-outs on all of our units, which makes them abnormal in size,” Coffman says. They allow a bit more space so the homes don’t feel narrow and cramped. “It’s just taking the side out of the container and pulling it out and welding it back onto an extended area.”
The homes feature stainless-steel appliances and quartz countertops in the kitchens, laundry hookups, built-in closets, vinyl flooring, Ikea cabinets, back decks, and storage sheds. Although they are small, the floor plans are open.
“There’s a lot of light. We put a lot of high windows in that are horizontal. They’re not tall, so you haven’t lost the wall space, but you get the light above it,” Coffman explains. “The whole thing is 800 feet, but with the exception of size, it feels like a normal house.”
From the outside, you can tell the homes are made from shipping containers, but not on the inside. They’re fully insulated, and the interior walls aren’t metal.
“When you walk inside, they look just like an apartment,” Coffman says. “When people walk in, they always say the same thing, ‘Oh my, I had no idea, it doesn’t feel anything like a container, it’s huge.’”
Coffman also notes the homes’ durability. Although steel may eventually show some rust, the material requires only routine maintenance.
“They can literally last infinitely as long as somebody keeps paint on it. It’s like anything else—maintain it and it will last forever,” he says.