Grand designs shipping container episode

Watch step by step as man from Northern Ireland builds a dream home out of 4 recycled shipping containers.

If you’ve ever told anyone about your idea to build a shipping container home it’s likely that you’ve faced some scepticism. This was true in the case of architect and farmer Patrick Bradley who recently featured on channel 4’s Grand Designs shipping container home episode.

Often it’s hard for people to visualise how a corrugated steel cargo box could ever become a comfortable place to live, let alone a dream home.

Patrick had designed homes before, but the more traditional type. This time he needed to build a home for himself and wanted to be more adventurous with the design.

The location for the home was on pristine land in the Irish countryside with beautiful streams running through it.

Imagine the horror of people in the area when they heard he wanted to build a recycled shipping container home in this unspoilt place. The presenter of the TV show initially called the scheme ‘hair brain’.

£100k shipping container home budget

Patrick had a budget of £100,000 for the entire build and starts by purchasing 4 used 45ft containers in premium condition at a cost of £10.000.

Entire side sections of the containers were cut out so that they could be joined together to create a larger area of space.

However, removing the side wall weakens the structure of the container.

Also Patrick intended to place the containers in such a way that they would overhang, this would put even more stress on the container because the middle section of the box is weak since they are designed to be stacked corner to corner only.

Engineers and steel fabricators employed by Patrick added around 10 tons of extra steel to the containers at key points, which would hopefully stop the containers from buckling.

No one was entirely sure if the reinforcement would work – thankfully it did.

The containers had to be insulated and there are several ways to do this, but Patrick chose to go for the spray insulation option – this involves spraying the container walls with a foam that sticks on contact.

The container was then cladded with 2 different types of material including a metal mesh which glistened and disguised that shipping containers had ever been used in the build.

Large glass panels were fitted to the side and end wall apertures before a balcony was installed so Patrick could easily enjoy the stunning views of the area.

The end result was much better than expected

Did he overstretch his budget? Yes he did, but here’s why.

There were 3 factors that added to the over spend.

Firstly the ground works were a bit more complicated and required heavy excavation which cost £12k. Then a designer kitchen at £30k was installed and finally a hammock style bathtub which cost £18.5k, yes…£18.5k for a bathtub! It looks amazing of course though.

The end result is that a beautiful home was built very quickly (just 10 months) and at a low cost.

Although Patrick was fortunate to already own the land, the £130,000 he spent building his 130 sq. metre home represents amazing value for money.

And what do the people think who were initially negative about the idea of building a shipping container home? They love it!

test out living in a container home