New house construction idea. Hopefully cheaper than shipping containers.

2/13/2014 07:34:00 PM

Since our shipping container idea for a house, I've been researching and asking for quotes on the cost of the construction. You see, with that concept, we would need to build a solid first floor that would carry 2 floors of shipping container (2 containers side by side /floor). Sine the container has a specific size, we won't be able to use it on the first floor since we need to leave about 3 meters space for a driveway that leads to the inner house. I know that's quite hard to understand so let me present to you the very detailed layout....

HAHA... just whipped the up to better explain the idea. Anyways, we have an existing house in our lot that of course needs a driveway, so we can't build on a portion of the first floor. The area for dream house seems small, but it's actually quite spacious, around 14x5m, typical size of a townhouse unit.

So building the first floor alone would take up a chunk of our budget, which doesn't make sense since it will be the least used area of the house. Remember ondoy and habagat? We're planning to make the space will be just a stockroom / workshop. With that in mind, I was looking for a cheaper alternative. Yes, hopefully cheaper than a container house.

We've met with those prefab house supplier and even went to their showroom. It's cheaper but not that nice really. Then I realized that those prefab are just basically steel skeleton of a house and some insulated panel walls. Well we could do that. Which lead me to typing in the google search "metal warehouse". I mean isn't it easier, faster, and simpler to build a skeleton frame using I beams, then just clad it with rib-type metal sheet? Just like the typical warehouse you see around here? Something like this.

Of course we'll put up insulation and interior walls, but the basic shell is pretty simple to make right? That's what's going on in this head of mine. Before you think that I'm crazy and stupid for even coming up with that... Let me show you what I found online. There's a lot more extravagant version of this but I'm trying to be realistic here, so here are more approachable designs...

Exhibit A. Simple steel frame, with metal exterior walls. Doesn't look bad at all, and seems very doable.

Exhibit B. This more of barnhouse look, but still the same concept. Very streamlined.

Exhibit C. Just some play on the facade materials and window placements and the metal house is now a very modern well-thought house.

Exhibit D. Love the black walls and wood frames and doors. Though we'll probably go with white because of our very VERY hot summer.

Exhibit E. With the addition of plants and wood elements, this metal box seems so cozy and warm.

Exhibit F. I love this house from Vietnam. Its simplicity and quirkiness makes you look past the fact that their exterior walls are made from roofing materials. 

So that's the new idea for our dream house construction. Is it cheaper? Well that's where "hopefully" comes into place. I'm still waiting for quotations from different contractor re this type of build. Whenever I speak with contractors, I always say lets go with the most affordable option without sacrificing structural integrity. My thought process is, make everything simple but durable. We can always dress it up with paint, lights, accessories, plants and all. I'm not very particular with the exterior part of the house, as for the inside, we can always upgrade the finishes as we go. We just want it built NOW. 

HAHA.. can you sense my urgency? Well I have all the ideas on what we'll do inside, and I can't wait to execute them. Next up, I'll share with you the plans for the inside. All four floors of it. Yes, four. :)


  1. This is very exciting.Can you also include the expenses?Thanks.

  2. Exciting indeed.. hopefully we can start soon! Yes im really planning to document the expense here to keep me accountable. :)

  3. Hi Elle! I like your blog so much, it inspires me!!! Oh and I'm just curious, but can you write a short blog entry on how you started as a freelance designer? :)

  4. Thank you so much! I think I wrote a little something about it here ( ) and here ( )


  5. I wish you well and thank you for inspiring so many of us. :) May I know how much your budget is?I'm also looking into turning my father's small lot into a dream house for me and my 6 yr old

  6. Hi Angel, I don't wanna say it just yet, it's kinda embarrassing! haha... Definitely not enough for 70sqm lot with 4 floors! That's why I'm trying of thinking of ways how to save. :) But I'll definitely post the budget here as we go. :)


Thanks for dropping by. I'd love to hear what you think! :)

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