I haven’t been to the cabin lately, so I thought I would fill in with another design I’ve been working on. I wanted to try and design a comfortable cabin, for just one or two people, in a single 20′ shipping container. Let me be upfront here, a lot of inspiration for this was taken from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, except this one is much more secure. Like the Tumbleweed houses, this would be the perfect candidate to build at home in your spare time and have delivered to a remote location when you’re done.
This design would be extremely easy to build compared to what I’m doing now. The foundation could be as simple as a couple of railroad ties or some concrete blocks. A roof would be optional, and only necessary if you needed the shade. No welding, no cutting, no structural reinforcement, and no sealing of gaps between containers. The entire cabin could even be transported and delivered on a flatbed trailer pulled by a pickup.
A necessity with this design, in my mind at least, would be a sliding glass or french door. While I’m not a fan of sliding glass doors, they are probably the only way to get enough natural light into the container without having to cut out the walls for additional windows. A bunch of portholes would add more light and still be secure, but that would quickly get expensive.
There are other issues with a 20′ container cabin though, and they all revolve around size. There’s just not enough space to have everything, or enough of what, you want. This design does have most everything my current cabin has, just smaller. The one thing that’s barely present though is the living room – it’s been reduced to a single comfy chair.
The hardest thing to fit in a cabin of this size was a wood stove. While it would be easier, and cheaper, to just use a vented propane heater of some sort, a cabin without a wood stove seems incomplete to me. Fortunately there are some tiny wood stoves manufactured by Navigator Stove Works that fit very well in small spaces. Their Sardine stove would be the perfect size and heating capacity for a cabin of this size. The only drawback to the Sardine is price – about $1,090 excluding the specialized stove pipe and fittings. If you really wanted a propane heater, Dickinson Marine has a couple of tiny propane heaters for the marine market, although they aren’t much cheaper than the Sardine.
The “bedroom” is a bit of a compromise in this design. I couldn’t quite fit a queen sized bed in there without affecting everything else. A 48″ wide “3/4” bed was the best that I could do, but another bed could be permanently or temporarily placed below it if you don’t like sleeping really close to someone.
The primary bed is lofted as much as possible, and would provide for a variety of other uses underneath. One possibility would be a convertible office/home theater room. A computer monitor/TV could be mounted to the wall above a desk that folds down for watching TV. A large bean bag chair for two on the other side would be very comfortable for watching movies or just relaxing. Depending on what is done with the back bedroom, a high cube container with an extra 1′ of headroom would be helpful – if you could find one.