Photo by Kelly Gray/Indy Realty Pics
IT TOOK AWHILE for shipping-container homes to come to Indianapolis (insert landlocked joke here), but the first one that arrived is extra-special—it’s designed by Travis Price Architects in Washington, D.C., a firm that specializes in reconfiguring the steel boxes into buildings. The company was featured on HGTV’s show Container Homes, and since 2014, such projects have made up about 20 percent of its business.
The Price project in Kennedy-King became the first local example of a shipping-container residence when it listed last week. “We’re positive on that. We checked with the city,” says Mike Lewis, founder of Custom Container Builders, the home’s developer. More are on the way. The company has another one under construction in Bates-Hendricks and plans to break ground soon on an eight-unit townhome community in Kennedy-King. Lewis said he expects those to hit the market in mid-summer. The company is also working on multiple custom homes.
One of the most common questions about container homes is how they are insulated. Inside, walls are framed out with wood and drywall and filled with closed-foam insulation, which is more airtight and provides a better moisture barrier than its open-foam counterpart. Plus, the container itself, designed for ocean travel, is moisture-proof. “It’s your Gore-Tex, your waterproof layer. It’s kind of genius in that sense,” says Kelly Davies Grace, the architect at Travis Price who designed the home. She adds that the steel oxides instead of rusts, and when containers are stacked, they touch only at the corners, leaving a one-inch gap between them. On the ocean, the cavity is for water to pass through. In construction, the gap adds some soundproofing.
At nearly 3,000 square feet, this home at 1802 Bellefontaine St. is one of the bigger designs that Custom Container Builders will unveil. It’s made of four 40-foot-long and two 20-foot-long containers, and they are all what the industry calls “one-trippers”—the boxes made only a single voyage. “No toxins and stuff,” Davies Grace points out. Inside, the ceilings are 9 feet tall, and the corrugated texture is left exposed for an industrial look. This is possible because containers can be insulated on top of the roof. The big welded-shut doors leave some of the original soul intact, too.
Another feature here that’s special to container construction is a two-foot bump-out in one of the four bedrooms. Along with the multiple terraces on this house, bump-outs are easy to add because welding the frame onto a steel box is simple and affordable. The bump-out in this house creates more room to walk around a bed.
Many shipping containers have hardwood floors. Apitong wood from Asia has been the standard material used in the trucking and shipping industries for decades. For this home, Custom Container Builders put down high-end vinyl over it. Another signature feature is the glass wall enclosing a staircase, which won’t be standard in future Custom Container Builder projects. A Novel series is in the works that will start at around $150,000 for a 1,000-square-foot space.
See it for yourself at the open house on Sunday, December 19, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Address: 1802 Bellefontaine St.
Contact: Justin Griffith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 317-507-5599