Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Would You Buy This Off-Grid, Bunker-Style, Shipping Container Home for $46K?

Ottawan Joseph Dupuis built this mostly-off-grid, 355 sq ft shipping container home and is now selling it for a cool $46,500 ($58K CAD). While this doesn’t fall into the super cheap price tier, especially as it lacks a toilet and you’re still going to have to find land. But the house’s price seems quite justifiable if you’re in the market for something relatively apocalypse-proof.


First off, the shipping container shell (actually, there are three attached together), designed to sit exposed to the elements whilst making ocean-crossings, can stand up to all but the fiercest storms (or zombies). The container doors lock over the windows, making it even more bulletproof.


Next, the whole thing is completely insulated for any violent shifts in weather. There’s a propane tank that fuels both in-floor radiant heat and the hot water heater. Apparently, it’s an energy miser. Dupuis, who lived in the house for two years, said he spent a mere $35 on heating for one whole winter. There’s also a wood burning stove for the Thoreauvian set.


Electricity comes from nine 235 watt solar panels that charge a 27 volt battery bank. Water is municipal and feeds a shower and sink. As mentioned there is no toilet as that would have required a septic permit, which Dupuis was disinclined to get. The house will come with a rough-in for a composting toilet (I didn’t know composting toilets needed rough-ins).Needless to say, the house is designed to be easily dismantled and shipped, which Dupuis is happy to arrange.

What do you think? Is this an off-grid dream home at a fair price or a not-so-inexpensive, slightly-too-rough-and-ready backwoods bunker?

Photo credit: Japhet Alvarez / Via Facebook: s7vnth

Via Huffington Post

  • Duubble Standird

    yes , briliant , .. is there a floorplan , dimensions , ceiling height …

  • And what do you have when you take out four 20 foot long walls of the shipping containers? A whole lot of waste steel and the need for some long beams to hold up the roof. And how do you ship that middle container with no walls if somebody buys this? And look at the water damage on the wood on the lower right corner of the first photo, he has to close the container doors when it rains because there is no siding. All the openings are at one end where the doors are so there isn’t even any cross-ventilation.

    And a rough in for a composting toilet is an electric outlet and a hole in the ceiling for the vent pipe.

    • David Friedlander

      thanks lloyd for keeping me on my toes. i thought something looked off about the floors.

    • Patrick Kaa

      MIght be a good idea to get a guide on some building plans to start off with!! I found one here –

  • YoungSally

    For $46K I would prefer walls in my bathroom. And I am not certain that pulling down the container doors would really make it bulletproof….

    The biggest problem I find with the shipping container homes is that they look great in photos….but feel very differently in person.

    For my money (but of course a lot less space), I’d like a doubled up version of the cube from London

  • Alexander López

    Sorry for the question, what’s a “rough-in”?

    • David Bush

      For a typical toilet, a rough-in would mean having a waste pipe in the floor and supply pipe in the wall. you’d just have to seal the toilet on the waste pipe and connect the supply pipe to the tank. I have no idea how that would apply to a composting toilet.

  • Maggie

    I liked the two-storey house that Patrick Bradley built with four shipping containers. It was featured on the UK programme ‘Grand Designs’. He is an architect – so that helps!

    • Richard Montena

      just watched that episode again recently. He did a GREAT job but didn’t have to purchase land, probably paid cheap farm labor to excavate et al. May not have included engineering fees and his own fees and labor. Really gorgeous space and setting but certainly not inexpensive and I would bet he could have spent less if it was framed with steel…. but the program would have been less dramatic 😉

  • Sick_Pleasure

    Sorry, it’s flat out ugly!

  • Richard Montena

    I am not impressed with container based housing. Unless one lives in or near a port town where purchase prices are low I think one can construct more economically using other methods. Where they have been used successfully is in multiples for dormitories or apartment buildings and, of course it is wise for the environment to reuse and re-purpose. To anyone afraid to construct a house, they represent “instant structure” similarl in appeal to modular houses.

  • Aylen Millaray

    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.