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Then & Now: A container becomes a home

Rusty 12-year-old shipping containers have been cleverly and speedily transformed into temporary accommodation for a family of five

Then & Now: A container becomes a home

Who lives here?
Dion van Kekem, (project manager), Justine van Kekem (part-time barista), Annabelle, 9, Brooklyn, 7, and Scarlett, 5, plus Snowy the lamb, Chloe the dog, and Lucky the chicken.

Where is it?
Rural Christchuch.

How long have you lived here for?
Six months.

What is the purpose of the container house?
Temporary accommodation while main house is under construction on the same property. We wanted to live on the land and will be putting it on the market once the other home is finished.

Justine, how did your temporary container home come to be?
It was the fastest, most cost-effective solution to accommodate our needs. We started with a blank piece of A4 paper and an idea. We researched the 40-foot shipping container dimensions and created multiple floor layout concepts until we were happy with one. The container house is now a cosy, warm, light and welcoming 58-square-metre fully functioning home with two bedrooms, bathroom, laundry, kitchen, living and an outdoor deck area.

What was the original condition like?
They were two 12-year-old rusty, dented, brown 40-foot shipping containers no longer suitable for freighting – so, pretty bad!

List what you did…

  • Stripped rust and repainted
  • Cut out windows, doors and sides
  • Installed structural beam, posts and piles
  • Fitted the two containers together, lifted onto piles with two diggers, waterproofed and attached together
  • Framed internal timber walls to perimeter and internal room divisions
  • Fitted services, insulation, linings and painted, and fitted appliances
  • Decorated and moved the family in!


Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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