Set among five acres of pastoral farmland just a handful of minutes from Australia's beautiful South Gippsland coast, this minimalist shipping container home is a unique example of how big ideas can be come from distinct design constraints.
It's also the subject of a new short film by Australia's Shelter, a streaming platform for lovers of design and architecture (i.e. you and me!). Part of the new season of Shelter original series "Tiny Spaces," the film features narration by homeowners and designers, Amy Plank and Richard Vaughan of Modhouse studio, as they share how the house came to be and their design decisions along the way.
Inspired by the compact apartments of the UK experienced when on vacation in 2015, Plank and Vaughan wanted to simplify their life and live more sustainably. To solution? Haul three 20 foot shipping containers onto a 5-acre plot in Wattle Bank, Victoria, to become the skeleton of their eventual home. Connected by enclosed walkways, the residence is about 530 square feet altogether, and almost imperceptible as shipping containers.
The exterior of the home is mechanical, marked by a charcoal gray interlocking cladding and a floating roof, while the interior features warm Ecoply plywood walls and ceilings and Tasmanian oak flooring.
The sloping roof acts primarily to collect rainwater, which is then stored in water cisterns out back, which then provides water to the residence. In total, six layers of insulation were used to transform the shipping container walls into what they are today, an important aspect of making the structure liveable and thermally efficient.
Inside, spaces unfold as you walk down the central corridor. The front door opens into the kitchen and living area. Moving through the residence, there's a modest living space with a woodstove and desk area, then a bedroom and subway-tiled bathroom. Built-in storage and cabinets fit into nooks and crannies, including an unassuming laundry room disguised by a pocket door.
Thoughtful and cozy, the shipping container home is a testament to a sustainable lifestyle and building process.