From High Seas to Felton trees: Cargo containers used to create ultra- modern cabin

By Laura Copeland   Posted: 05/20/2011 07:47:24 PM PDT ZAYANTE —

Suspended from a crane in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Connie DeWitt’s kitchen and bathroom are inches from nudging a madrone tree. The 30-foot shipping container was the largest of six trucked from Oakland up a muddy Zayante road Thursday afternoon. Before dinner, less than eight hours after the containers arrived, workers from NorCal Construction in Santa Cruz had ground the final bits of rust off the boxes and welded them together to create DeWitt’s two-story mountain retreat.The Santa Cruz Sentinel has a front-page story about a home built out of storage containers.  LINK TO STORY HERE

Santa Cruz Sentinel 5/21/11

5 Customer Testimonials
  1. Rick Yamada says:

    As promised here is a ‘ball-park’ of my estimate for a comparison home to the storage container home. I deal with modular homes and though I appreciate creative ideas, I still am not impressed with the cost on this home! This is NOT an affordable home!!

    For the modular home itself which includes but not limited to:
    > 1200 sq. ft., 2-story, 6-8 sections to be craned on to foundation
    > follows CA Title 24, and W.U.I. Code
    > all engineering required for Planning application
    > includes fire-sprinkler system w/engineering
    > Energy Star rated, w/instant demand w/h
    > 2×6 framed, hardi-paneled, tyvek, min. 6/12 metal sled roof, fully insulated
    > maxed windows, glassed doors, & skylights (customer design)
    > High end kitchen w/S.S. built-in appliances, Oak wood cabinets, counter of choice, recessed lighting, etc.
    > Finished bathrooms to choice inc. jetted tub, linen closets, etc.
    > Interior details inc. fireplace, flooring & lighting of choice, trim, etc.
    > Estimated total $190,000 (this is a max price, w/ a loaded home)

    To include other direct costs for the above home including delivery, crane service, added material cost (e.g. for decking, etc.), contractor, engineered foundation:
    > Estimated total $200,000 (includes a contingency of 5%)

    Other costs not included in above:
    > Permits
    > Septic
    > Water
    > Electric

    For anyone who would like additional information on modular construction (sfd, multi, multi-story, residential, commercial, remodel additions), I will send a packet which includes brochures and builder information, please email me a request at, or fax me at 831-338-0735 (24 hr line).

  2. Rick Yamada says:

    I’m a little busy right now but if you can give me till next week, I will give you a cost for my 1200 sq. ft. modular home…I am talking with the factory they are looking at the article, so we will try and stay similar. I figure the foundation, delivery and crane service will be the same. Essentially the cost of the modular home and ‘turn-key’ set-up and installation.

    I also would like to see a site-built home comparison…I’m sure a builder can make a ‘storage container’ looking house!

  3. Mike says:

    Rick, your comments are instructive. I’d love to see a small essay by you on cost comparisons for regular vs modular homes. Let’s start a series of blog posts on this topic.

  4. Rick Yamada says:

    Sorry this doesn’t impress me. Since my business deals in modular housing, I can’t believe they spent $600K for 1200 sq. ft. of ‘storage containers’! I could have put in a 2000 sq. ft. that actually looks like a home and fully furnished!! Or, they should have worked with any number of our member contractors who no doubt could have matched this home. These architects didn’t do much research, heck just 15 min. away is Dave Smith who could have milled that wood on site, instead of the cost of taking it all the way to Watsonville.

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