Building a Home Out of Shipping Containers

Ben Uyeda

Article Posted By: Ben Uyeda

of HomeMade Modern

We teamed up with DIY expert Ben Uyeda of Homemade Modern to convert a few shipping containers into a home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot. Throughout the coming months, Ben will be sharing a more detailed look inside the container home and several DIY projects he completed within it.

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

I’m so excited to team up with The Home Depot for what I consider my dream project: converting shipping containers into my vacation home in the desert of Joshua Tree, California. The Home Depot seemed like a natural fit for this partnership because you can truly find everything you need to build a house and make it a home from start to finish there. I embarked on this journey after carefully considering what I wanted in a vacation home, then focused on how to make the modern projects in the home attainable for DIYers of every skill level.  

Building a Vacation Container Home in The Desert

I love my work, so when I thought about what a vacation house would mean to me it was more about creating a place to focus and reflect rather than a place to escape. After a few hours, I get restless on a beach and wanted this home away from home to inspire intense creativity, rest and relaxation; I didn’t want diversion or amusement, I wanted self-reflection. To me, the desert is a landscape equivalent to an art gallery. It is minimal, has great light and everything just seems more dramatic in it.  

When I bought ten acres of land in Joshua Tree, California this spring, I began thinking about what sort of house I should build on it…

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

I have always liked the aesthetic of industrial things. There is the simplicity of intention, but certain aspects remain mysterious to those that do not know how to operate them. Shipping containers encapsulate that duality perfectly. We have all seen them on the highways, yet few of us have actually been inside one. I became intrigued by this idea of placing simple industrial objects in a wide-open desert and began planning this tiny home made out of shipping containers.  

Making Modern Design Accessible

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

For the last five years, I have been trying to take what I learned as the founder of a high-end residential architecture firm and translate those design ideas into DIY projects that are accessible and affordable. This container home consists entirely of products that are available at The Home Depot. I love showing this fresh, modern and minimal side of my favorite store.  

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

Building is Learning

This project involved 16 weeks of non-stop construction in the desert sun and presented all sorts of challenges. We had to figure out ways to meet the California building codes that were not written to accommodate any shipping container home. We encountered flash floods, dust storms and 110-degree heat, but with all these difficulties came a ton of opportunities. I learned about building formwork for concrete foundations and how to drive a mini excavator. I learned about state-of-the-art smart home technology and how to install a variety of products. Also, I got really good at welding. Best of all, I filmed the entire project so I can now share the knowledge.

Learn how DIY expert Ben Uyeda converted a few shipping containers into a container home built with materials and tools available at The Home Depot.

I am so grateful to have this opportunity to not only build a really cool house in the desert, but to also share what I’ve learned. Follow along as I share video tours and images of the container home built from tools, products and materials from The Home Depot. I will be publishing a video series about how I built the house and all of the little creative adventures we had along the way.  

So, stay tuned because we will be sharing a lot more soon!

Ben