You can now order a shipping container tiny house on Amazon
This fully-finished (and furnished) 320-square foot tiny container home is connection-ready for water, sewer, and electric.
It was only a matter of time, I guess. America's favorite shopping channel, the internet, has pushed Amazon's reach far from its roots selling books, and although the variety of items currently sold through the Amazon marketplace sometimes surprises me, I took the news of this next listing in stride. Tiny houses are already for sale through Amazon, although they're mostly listed under 'garden shed' or 'gazebo' or utility and storage buildings, and all of them require assembly of the structure and then finishing the interior to make them habitable. The same goes for many of the 'cabin kits' which are also sold through Amazon, and while some claim to only require 'simple' construction and minimal tools, the larger ones are often best left to a builder to put together.
However, this Amazon tiny house option avoids most of that work by being a prefabricated option that ships fully-finished, and although it still requires either concrete footers or a slab to sit on, it's ready for the sewer, water, and electricity connections ("plug and play") once that's complete. According to MODS International, the maker of this shipping container home, its residential units "are built to the International Building Code (IBC) and in fact, exceed most ISO construction standards," but considering the wide variety in local zoning laws and building regulations around the world, the buyer should look closely into the legal and/or financial aspects of installing and living in a unit like this before hitting the Add to Cart button.
We've got a love/hate relationship with shipping container construction here at TreeHugger, and while repurposing surplus shipping containers in their original form into storage, shelter, or commerce can be a great use of an existing resource, and an appropriate construction method for use in certain climates, it's not the best choice of materials for other situations. After all, shipping containers are just big metal boxes with no openings for light or access except for huge doors on one end, and although the steel construction renders them rugged, they offer no insulation from heat or cold whatsoever, so a lot of work has to be done to make shipping containers truly livable year-round. This pre-fab tiny home from MODS, however, misses out on the eco-benefit of using an existing resource, because the company starts with brand new ("or lightly used") containers, and does some major modifications to them to turn them into homes.
According to the Amazon listing, the MODS pre-fab tiny home costs $36,000, plus a freight charge of $4500 to deliver the 7500-pound container anywhere in the continental US from its facility in Appleton, Wisconsin. The 320-square foot container is fully insulated (but no mention of specs other than "6 inch thick") and finished inside, and includes a living area, a kitchenette, a bedroom, and a bathroom. It also features electric heating and air conditioning and includes some kitchen appliances, and according to the company, comes "fully furnished."
The unit looks like a decent option for a turnkey tiny home as a backyard granny cottage or office space if the $36,000 price tag doesn't throw you, but at the end of the day, it's still just a long narrow box with windows added to it and not much character. Granted, a MODS unit comes with a side benefit, as the company says they "act as a basic Faraday cage, routing lightning strikes to ground and keeping you safe in a storm." However, compared to the wide variety of creative tiny house and pre-fab designs we've shown here over the years, the MODS International unit doesn't seem to offer much in the way of style, but the company does take special orders and can build to spec.
More information is available on the company website, including photos of a home made from 8 shipping containers as seen on HGTV (below), and details on its emergency shelter and temporary structure options.