Shipping container designWhy a shipping container home? Having bought our land in Trat province we are eager to develop it, build a family homestead and a permaculture food forest.

We decided to explore alternative possibilities of what we could do to create a house and home in Thailand.

Building a House in Thailand

Traditional Thai houses are built from wood and we have seen many splendid examples of wooden houses throughout the country. Building a house out of wood in the UK is virtually unheard of although they are common in the US.

A wooden home has many advantages and just as many disadvantages. They breathe well and stay cool under the brutal sun for instance. On the negative side they can be engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes and termites would eat one within a year if the wood isn’t correctly treated. For those reasons alone, we decided against a wooden house.

Traditional bricks and mortar were also a possibility as was a finished concrete loft/warehouse style construction that’s very popular here at the moment. In fact we love this style! The 4 bedroom house we rent on Koh Chang is loft style. Living in it was a constant reminder of my crazy days living in a Shoreditch warehouse back in the day.

Heavy Metal

As a big rock and heavy metal fans we eventually decided to upcycle shipping containers to create our new abode. (OK that was a joke! 555) We spent considerable time and energy researching what could be achieve by this modular building method of using cargo containers.

Eventually we found a 2011 design ‘Container of Hope’ by Costa Rican architect, Benjamin Garcia Saxe that ticked nearly all our boxes (pun intended).

Designing a Shipping Container Home

So now we had something to visualize, work towards recreating and extending to our specifications. Next we researched a company that could amend the design to our specifications and purchase the four shipping containers we would need. We found 4 or 5 companies throughout Thailand that dealt with shipping containers and finally decided upon one who incidentally were located not far from our old condo in Bangkok.

The standard size for shipping containers is 8x8x20 Feet (2.4×2.4×6 Meters) and 8x8x40 Feet (2.4×2.4×12 Meters).

We purchased 3x40ft and 1x20ft shipping containers in April of 2016 and had them modified. This was comprised of the cutting out of the frames for doors and windows after the Thai new year of Songkran. This part of the project was scheduled to be completed within 6 weeks and then the shipping containers were transported down to our site in Trat province in mid June. Once on site the part-prefab shipping containers are to be completed, joined together and fitted out with a new kitchen and bathrooms.

designing a shipping container home

We will be posting more stories of our shipping container home as we go from the initial designs, through out the build and eventually moving in, so remember to revisit our blog for more updates.

If you have any questions, please leave them below and if you enjoyed this insight into designing a shipping container home, please share with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Designing a Shipping Container Home









  • Anita licea March 25, 2018

    Would like to see some finished 8x8x20 finished living areas/bedrooms ideas

  • Jack May 2, 2019

    Great job. Lovely. Why did you abandon this plan for a full bathroom next to living room in the finished project?

    • Perry Stevens (Post author) May 3, 2019

      Hey Jack, we don’t have a full bathroom next to the living room, just a toilet.
      All things are subject to change. We will make a new video soon with the new modifications we have made.
      Keep your eyes peeled for that one!

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