he architect reveals how he built it

Like living in an adventure van—or dare we say, the tiny home craze—moving into a recycled shipping container house can have great appeal to some. Shipping containers can be a cheaper, paired-down, and more eco-friendly alternative to traditional homes. But while gorgeous shipping container homes (and pools!) often make the rounds on social media feeds, it’s not often that you see them in real estate listings.

In November, a 720-square-foot one bedroom, one-bath house in Livingston, Montana went on the market for a $125,000. Designed and built by architect and artist Ty Kelly—the former partner and co-owner of Spore Architecture in Seattle—the house is made from two shipping containers welded together. Far from looking like large containers that have traveled the world, the result is a sleek, light-filled abode that takes advantage of Montana’s gorgeous views.

Thanks to its design or maybe because of the novelty, Kelly’s shipping container home is already under contract with a closing date later this month. We spoke with Kelly about his design process and the realities of building a home made primarily out of recycled materials.

 The living room features a wall made of plywood sourced from a soon-to-be-demolished office space. The opposite wall is all glass and a wood-burning stove sits in the corner.

A few years ago, Kelly liked the idea of using recycled shipping containers as an “envelope,” especially because the containers were a “square, true object to work from.” The project took about a year to build as Kelly traveled back and forth between Seattle and Livingston, but throughout the process the architect was inspired by the wide open spaces of Montana.

“There was nothing around, the property was made for a view,” he explains. “I always liked the idea that an object had landed on the landscape, so I wanted to create an all glass wall that faced the mountains.” After acquiring two recycled shipping containers from a company just south of Seattle, Kelly set to work on making the space livable.