Woman Converts Van Into a Cozy Full Time Home

Atli, a transit bus driver from Vancouver, Canada has converted a van into a comfortable full-time home. Her main reason for the decision to ditch a regular home for a van home were the rising rents.

The home Atli lives in now is a converted 2016 Ford which she nicknamed T-Rex. For insulation they used fiberglass and rigid foam insulation, which aren’t especially sustainable but they are inexpensive.  They also installed a vapour barrier to help prevent condensation from forming, while most of the interior is panelled in wood, which helps keep the interior temperature more comfortable, while also giving the home a more homey feel.

The home part of the van is dominated by a large open space which is used as the main living area. There is also a small kitchen, with a two-burner propane stove and a small sink with a water pump. The home also features plenty of storage space.  The kitchen will be complete as soon as Atli installs a bamboo counter and some additional cabinetry.  There is also a closet in this space.

The bed rests atop a raised platform, which offers even more storage space. This space also has an extra door, which hides Atli’s sitar. They also place a Hypervent mat under the bed, which can be purchased in a marine supply store, and which prevents condensation from forming under the mattress. The table can be rolled out when needed and stored away when not needed.

The van has three skylights, which let in plenty of light. Two can be opened and one is fitted with a mechanical fan to aid ventilation. The van has no other windows, which is something that suited Atli very well since she likes her privacy.

The home also features a combination carbon monoxide and propane gas alarm, and there is also an extra wall and door between the home and the driver’s seat part of the van.  The van has no bathroom, but Atli uses the one at her gym, as well as public bathrooms.

At the back, there’s additional storage space for Atli’s bike, inflatable kayak and other gear. The home is powered by a sola panel that is connected to a Goal Zero inverter, a 100-AmH AGM (absorbent glass mat) battery. The latter is also charged using a solenoid connected to the van’s AGM truck battery.

Downsizing to a van home has allowed Atli to go from being a full time to a part time employee, which has freed up her winters for travel to warmer climates.  There is no word on how much she spent for the conversion, but there is no doubt that she is saving a lot of money by not having to pay rent.

Sprawling Shipping Container Home Built in California

Some years ago the London-based architect James Whitaker designed an interesting shipping container office, which was unfortunately never built.  But earlier this year, a film producer from LA came across the plans and commissioned Whitaker to build him a home in the same style on his 90-acre (36-hectare) plot in Joshua Tree, California.

The Joshua Tree Residence, as the home is named, will measure a luxurious  2,152 sq ft (200 sq m) once complete. Though very realistic, the pictures are mere renders as construction has not yet begun.  Judging from the renders, the residence will be made out of 10-12 shipping containers, which will be left in pretty much the original state. To create the spacious interior layout, the containers will jut out at different angles and inclines. This will also ensure privacy and maximize the view of the surrounding desert.

The center of the home, where the shipping containers come together, will be taken up by a spacious living room, which will offer amazing views, while its large windows will let in plenty of natural light.  Elsewhere, the home will also feature three bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. There will also be a covered area for parking, which will be topped by a solar power array that will provide all the necessary power for the home.

While there will likely be no shortage of sunlight to harvest for electricity, living inside metal boxes in the desert might prove uncomfortably hot. Minimizing the heat gain will be achieved by painting the exterior in a light to reflect the heat, and installing high-performing insulation. The windows at the top of the house will also let out the hot air naturally, while there will also be air-conditioning units strategically placed throughout the home to cool it.

Construction is due to begin in 2018.

Cozy Shipping Container Tiny Home


This shipping container tiny home was designed in a very unique way, which makes it both stand out from the crowd and quite spacious. It was built out of a single container, and designed by the firm Custom Container Living, which is based in Archie, Missouri.


This tiny home, which does not yet have a name, has a total floorspace of 312 sq ft (28 sq m) and they used a standard 40 ft (12 m) shipping container to build it. They left the container in pretty much the original condition, though they added about 30 inches (76.2 cm) to its height, so they could build two lofts. They also cut away one of the end sections of the container and created a front porch out of it. The only other modification to the container they made was cutting out sections to install the doors and windows.


The interior appears quite spacious and is comprised of a living area and a kitchenette. The latter is equipped with a fridge, a dishwasher, a washer/dryer combo unit, a sink, and a microwave, but there is no stove. The home also features a spacious bathroom, which is fitted with a tub, shower, toilet, and sink. The sleeping loft has an ample amount of headroom and is accessible via a staircase, which doubles as storage space. There is also another, smaller loft on the other side of the home, which is primarily intended as a storage area.





The interior walls are clad in pine tongue and groove, while the exterior is clad in in smart lap siding with cedar edging. They used closed-cell foam for insulation, while a Mitsubishi mini-split system takes care of the cooling and heating needs.

This home can be used both on and off the grid. The basic model comes with all the necessary hookups for water and electricity, and is also pre-wired for TV and appliances. Customers can also opt for an off-the-grid version. The basic version of this container tiny home costs $47,000.

Student Housing Made From Shipping Containers


There has been a bit of a lull in shipping container housing projects lately, though it seems the trend is still alive and well. The Danish firm CPH Containers are planning to build affordable student housing using repurposed shipping containers. They will be doing so in collaboration with Søren Nielsen of Vandkunsten Architects, and the first such student housing village, which will be located in Copenhagen, is slated to be completed by the end of this year.


They plan to create several shipping container student villages and the first prototype unit has already been constructed. It is called CPH Shelter and was made out of a single 40-ft (12-m) shipping container to which a two-floor polycarbonate structure has been added. This part is actually a winter garden, and glows to resemble a lantern at night.


The interior of the home is comprised of a living/dining area, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, which is equipped with a shower and toilet. The bedroom also features a daybed. There is enough space in the winter garden to grow food and such, as well as for lounging. The walls and floors of the container were clad in sustainably-harvested Swedish pine, and the ceiling is covered with fire-retardant fiberboards. The basic shape of the container was left intact, though large holes were cut into the sides to create windows, which are fully operable.

In a climate such as that of Denmark, keeping warm is essential, so the container was insulated with wood fiber and paper-wool insulation, while the home also features an automated mechanical ventilation system and an efficient heat pump. The polycarbonate winter garden also traps warmth on sunny days, effectively warming the container.

The Copenhagen municipal council has already approved the project, so plans are underway to begin construction. They hope to build 2000 student housing units by 2019. These will be separated into villages, each of which will consist of 300-400 units of affordable student dwellings.

Top 5 Luxury Homes Made from Shipping Containers

A single, standard-sized shipping container works out great for a tiny living space, but might feel a little cramped. And therein lies the beauty of constructing a house out of shipping containers. You can easily stack them up, or line them side by side to create a larger dwelling. Below you will find five of the most ingenious luxury homes made from shipping containers, which are still quite sustainable, despite their larger size.

1. Beach Box


This is a shipping container house located in the Hamptons in New York. The house was built out of six shipping containers and measures 2,000 square feet with a bonus 1,300 square feet of exterior deck. It features EcoTop counters, tankless water heating, a 16 SEER HVAC unit, and Energy Star appliances. The house is insulated with spray foam insulation and features a white thermoplastic roof, and FSC-certified cypress siding. Due to the cedar siding, the home looks nothing like a shipping container house from the outside, though the designers did leave the ceilings in their original state. more details…

2. The Sarah House


The Sarah container home was constructed out of two 40-foot-long, 9-foot-6-inches-tall and 8-foot-wide recycled containers, which resulted in a total living area of 672-square-feet. The house is equipped with a gas-powered Rinnai tankless, point of demand water heating system, while for heating and cooling, a mini-split system made by Mitsubishi was installed. The system is able to track the occupants and point the heat or cooling towards them, which enabled the builders to forgo the ducting process. To insulate the house, they used Eckles insulation, which is natural insulation that uses sugar corn as a binder. more details…

3. Redondo Beach House


This luxury shipping container home, located in California, was designed by DeMaria Design Associates. The home was built out of eight shipping container and is a luxury two-story, 3,200-square-foot home. Apart from using the shipping containers, the builders also used a number of other repurposed materials, including folding airplane hangar doors. For insulation, they used NASA-developed ceramic coating insulation, which was sprayed on with a coat that is slightly thicker than a credit card. more details…

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:
10 Ways to Use Shipping Containers as Homes
Awesome Shipping Container Homes in New York City
Inspiring Shipping Container Home Designs