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Here’s Another Ugly House We Love

If you’re an inside-the-box thinker, maybe a house made of used shipping containers is right for you. Some call it ugly, but we love it, and here’s why.

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Shipping container house in Florida

Tom Fox's Gainesville, Fla., home consists of 12 shipping containers stacked three-deep on top of each other. Image: Stephen Bender/MW Bender Architecture

Want to live in a steel box? Your first reaction is probably “No way!” But people like Florida’s Tom Fox are doing exactly that, and we think his home is a candidate for ugly houses we love.

Fox’s Gainesville home isn’t a steel box, it’s 12 of them, stacked three-deep on top of each other.

Shipping containers are 20 to 40 feet long and are made from corrugated steel. You can buy a used one for $2,500-$5,000, and you’ll find them in coastal port towns all over the world. They make inexpensive, easy-to-use building blocks that can be set up in all kinds of ways to create living spaces.

This one is a 2,200-sq.-ft. house with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. There’s a rooftop deck for sunning, solar panels to defray energy costs, and a full garage.

It’s in keeping with the idea of sustainability — using salvaged shipping containers reduces the demand for new building materials, and keeps old stuff out of landfills.

Not everybody is thrilled with the house, however.

Neighbors are split on whether the steel manse is a community asset or an eyesore. Although some applaud Fox’s ingenuity and break-the-mold attitude, others are concerned that the house towers over other, more modest, single-level homes that make up most of the immediate neighborhood.

Granted, it’ll look a whole lot better when Fox finishes painting it. But until then, it still qualifies as an ugly house that we love. Want to see more? Check out our slideshow of ugly houses.

Would you live in a house made from shipping containers?

John_Riha John Riha

has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Follow John on Google+.

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