Couple transforms and links 3 shipping containers into a functional compact home with solar panels

Turning a small space into a comfortable, welcoming home: this was the vision of a young Australian couple when they bought 3 x 20ft metal shipping containers in Victoria. And it comes with solar panels!

Like many young couples, Richard Vaughan and Amy Plant have always dreamed about having their own home.

However, they have other dreams, too such as traveling the world. This made the couple come up with a no-brainer solution: buy shipping containers and turn them into a compact home.

Metal shipping containers
Living Big in a Tiny House

“We definitely wanted something that was low-maintenance,” says Plant. “We saw a lot of friends who couldn’t do things, saying, ‘Oh, we’ve got to clean the house for a day’. We thought, we don’t want really to do that – we want to get out and enjoy life. We thought, small footprint home, it won’t take as long to clean, and also the cost – we didn’t want a high debt level going into having a family.”

“And we love travelling so much that we didn’t want to change our lifestyle too greatly, but we still wanted to be homeowners.”

Living Big in a Tiny House

With so much inspiration and excitement, they started to build their own, beautiful compact home in Gippsland, Victoria. The three shipping containers are joined by floating links, acting like little corridors.

“I guess coming from moving around a lot as a kid – being a builder’s daughter – we never had forever homes. So my sentimental value of the forever home is a bit skewed. But we kind of thought, ‘Well, let’s just build for what we need’. Because we don’t know where we’ll end up, we didn’t really want owning a home to dictate everything,” Plant explained.

Inside the couple's container home
Living Big in a Tiny House

It’s also a good thing that Plant and Vaughan had experiences working in the building industry. They were able to design their home based on their needs and aesthetic preferences.

The couple used various design techniques to make their home look more spacious and functional.

The house has a floating roof to provide shade and cool their home in the summer. With solar panels, they can save energy and help save the environment.

Beautiful kitchen
Living Big in a Tiny House

“The best thing is just being able to live in an aesthetically beautiful home without it having cost the absolute world. We love it and it’s very much individualized to our style,” Plant said.

After their jobs on weekends, the couple would work on their home project which took only five months to finish and with a total cost of approximately $145,000.

According to Plant, shipping container homes are perfect for people who own a piece of land but don’t yet have enough savings to build their dream home.

Living Big in a Tiny House

For the young couple, it is about being unique and creative and not seeing home ownership as a big sacrifice to their quality of life.

A lot of people do the normal tick-boxes in life: you meet your partner, you get engaged, you get married, then buy your forever house.

There’s that quote about working for the house we can’t afford to impress people we don’t really like. It’s about just really being happy with the life that we have. And we love it,” Plant said.

Today, the couple is enjoying their beautiful, compact home with solar panels they built out of three shipping containers. “We’ve got a veggie garden and live by the coast. We spend so much time outdoors and it’s really integrating that indoor-outdoor lifestyle that Australians do so well,” said Plant.

Watch the video and be amazed by the couple’s low-cost home project:

If you love tiny homes be sure to watch more episodes of Living Big in a Tiny House.

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