Alternative living spaces strike again! It seems the world can’t get enough of eco-friendly, wallet-friendly, custom–built homes. When it comes to tiny houses, childhood whimsy often materializes into industrial strength reality.

Imagine toying around with the idea of turning a plain ol’ rectangle into a home, complete with a full bathroom, electricity, and a living room. For example, a 20-foot shipping container made of steel, with its oblong shape and tall sides, can be converted into a 140-to-150-square-foot home.

That’s exactly what Brenda Kelly of Auckland, New Zealand did, but played it smart by making the main living zone of her home less than 20 feet so she wouldn’t need a building permit. Instead, her shipping container house utilizes 10 meters of space for the indoors and the rest for storage and outdoor relaxation.

Image of exterior of shipping container house.Living Big in a Tiny House
Brenda used a high cube shipping container which are about a foot higher than typical containers used for homes. This gave her extra height to create a more spacious look, as well as for concealing insulation. The white walls and windows throughout the structure also make the house feel roomier.

While you see a lot of tiny homes with the bed in a loft area, here the living room is elevated and the sleeping area is nested in a den beneath it. A convertible couch which doubles as storage and a small bed sits by a window. Curtains, bead lights, and a small TV hang in the room, making it cozy and perfect for lounging.

Living room in shipping container.Living Big in a Tiny House
The kitchen has cupboards, a mini-fridge, and drawers for storage. There is also a small sink with a blue backsplash to accent the area. Brenda uses the space under the sink as a pantry. Across from the small kitchen is a little office area where a desk sits. Since she works from home at times, Brenda keeps a computer, printer, and rolling file cabinet at her desk. To power those items, she uses small USB ports and a 150 watt charger.

The home impressively houses a queen size bed that is framed by strip lighting and small lights for reading. At the foot of the bed are storage cubes on shelves and a hanging rod where Brenda puts some of her clothing. She’s got enough space to sit up comfortably or play with her cat.

Image of bedroom in shipping container home.Living Big in a Tiny House
One of the most beautiful spots of the home is the bathroom, which has a clear glass roof. A walk-in shower is on one side, and the toilet and floating sink line the rest of the space. Natural light flows in as well as up-close views of nature.

Image of shipping container bathroom.Living Big in a Tiny House
Outside of the main living area, Brenda keeps a utility cabinet. The house’s battery power source is set here, and above the unit is her hot water tank. As an off-the-grid home, it uses a rain water collection system for showering and washing, and solar energy to power 12-volt batteries for electricity. The cost of Brenda’s project? Roughly $30,000 to $35,000.

Brenda’s future plans for the home include expanding to add landscaping and an outdoor patio. As far as tiny homes go, what do you think of this one inside and out? Could you live in 100 square feet of space? Tell us in the comments!