Solar Tiny Container House Built with Cob

Living in a tiny container house may not be for everyone. In a country where the average house size is 2400 square feet, most people could not imagine being in 160 sq. ft. or less. But creating a comfy, functional container home became an obsession for one person. Christoph Kesting, creator of The Container House in Guelph, Ontario, sold his own home to finance the 18-month project.

It comes down to the basics. Everyone needs shelter, food and water. In the modern world that translates to four walls and a roof, somewhere to sleep, a way to cook your meals, clean running water, a place to wash yourself, and a method of disposing your waste. Everything else is a luxury. Kesting and a group of volunteers worked together to transform the former shipping container into an environmentally friendly tiny home.

The Container Home is structured with mostly recycled or repurposed materials and gets its power from a large solar panel on the exterior of the box. Its structural design maximizes sun exposure with two large French doors. The home is also designed to be partially buried into the side of a hill to help with temperature control.


This article, with more details, adds:

The cost of the container was around $1,500 but, Kesting said he’s invested around $24,500 in materials and wages of people. In total, putting a dollar figure on the amount of time he’s spent on the project, Kesting said he has dropped more than $100,000 of value into the steel box.

9 Responses to Solar Tiny Container House Built with Cob

  1. David Alejandro says:

    This drives up the value of a tiny house to a level most tiny house aspirants cannot afford. Social activism demands that people struggle for affordable housing, not overpriced miniature versions of what the middle class live in. The idea is interesting, but the execution is ostentatious from a financial aspect.

  2. Ruth Prock says:

    Not feasible for those who want and need a tiny home. What is the point of using a container, and then cladding it in cob? Seems it would be cheaper to frame it in recycled wood, and then use the cob. It would also give more design flexibility. It is unfortunate that the clip did not include either plans or more detailed interior shots. Apparently this project was all for show, not for real people on a limited budget.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Too expensive for most Tiny home people

  4. Peter says:

    I totally fail to see the purpose of this.

    He takes a shipping container, builds a frame house around it, insulates and sheaths it, then puts a thin layer of cob all over it. Why? The whole purpose of cob is to provide a THICK thermal mass that insulates and retains heat. The cob also appears to be very poorly finished and totally exposed to the elements, with little sheltering overhang in most places. I doubt that it will survive its first winter. He will be left with an expensive little frame house surrounded by a mud pile!

    Maybe there’s something I’m not understanding here?

    • Peter says:

      I DID misunderstand something. Having fully read the article – which I should have done first – I see that the building is not made of cob. Only the space heater is.


      I see that the building inspector is not taking a kindly view of this and has issued an ultimatum. The thing is no longer a shipping container, it is a house! Either get a building permit or move it off site and, presumably, out of the city. He should have put wheels on it!

  5. I agree, this is beyond the means of most of us who want to live small. Also, personally, I don’t want to live in a steel box or container. My goal is a sweet and cozy tiny cottage.

  6. Anna Riner says:

    Interesting article – I have no idea why so many people are not convinced to container houses.
    I really enjoy living in container house.
    Unfortunately it is not so obvious how to build it properly. Personally I made a few mistakes which become annoying right now like noisy wind…
    Currently with my husband I’m trying to fix it.
    I’d like to give a advice to everyone who is planning to build a house from containers – take look at this book:
    You can find a very detailed plans and tips how to avoid mistakes. It’s a pity I haven’t read it before construction.

  7. zelig kronberg says:

    that is the ugliest container house i have seen you have like no idea what you are doing, people like you are giving container homes a bad rap,and yes i am a welder fab guy

  8. Great article! Tiny houses are really all the craze these days. Converting a container house into a sustainable home sounds like a better idea. Solar energy is indeed a great addition to any home, be it big or small.

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