Upcycling shipping containers into a garden offices – is it do-able?

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I was reading an article in this month’s Reloved magazine about container homes and boy has that put a cat amongst the kitchens in our household. Let me explain…

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Until now, my husband had been planning to build a wooden shed in our garden to serve as a workshop. He’s an artist and photographer, so he needs a space to create work, hang prints to dry and generally house all of his creative equipment. I’m currently setting up my home office in the spare room, so he has free rein over the garden…

Max’s shipping container home office 

But ever since I showed him the article, there’s been a shift in his thinking. What was once going to be a souped-up shed is now looking more like a metal shipping crate in his mind. You see, containers have been growing in popularity as flexible spaces that can be used as home offices, spare guest rooms or summer houses. I blame Mac McMurdo. wink

Container office at Hackney City Farm

We watched Max create a container office in his back garden  on an episode of Amazing Spaces a few years back. We bumped into him at the Grand Designs Live show and he got us thinking about mortgage-free living. And now he and I write for the same magazine, so I can’t get away from this handy (and extremely lovely) fella, nor the container boat he now lives on. To be honest, he’s living the dream. And now that’s what hubby wants to do. At least, on a small scale.

Max’s shipping container house boat 

My husband wants to use a small-ish container to create a workshop in the garden. Comparing containers to traditional wooden garden buildings is a number-crunching exercise that I haven’t quite worked out. The article in Reloved told us that contains can be bought ‘easily’ for £1000 and, for the square-footage, that’s quite a saving on a wooden construction.

Compact container office 

But then you have to take into account the costs of the heavy haulage required to get the container on site. I mean, we’ll need to hire a crane just to get it into the garden. ‘But at least it can be delivered directly into our back garden’ says hubby, and it’s true that the handy back road behind our house is the ideal spot for a giant truck to drop off our giant container.

Olson Kundig design shot by Tim Bies. (at Gulf Islands BC) 

Okay, I admit it, I’ve been doing research on Pinterest. I wanted to investigate container homes, offices and garden buildings further, and how better to do that than with an hour-long pinning session, eh? I’m pleased to report that I rather like the repurposed containers that I’ve found, and can actually see this happening. Just don’t tell hubby!

An artist’s studio container 

What do you think of shipping containers being used in domestic gardens? Have you converted a container yourself? Do you think we’re nuts for even considering it?? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle
promotion studies. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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