Container Homes

Living Large in a Shipping Container Haven: Innovative Family Dwelling in Chaffee Park

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A remarkable family residence in Chaffee Park

In the realm of innovative architectural endeavors, there’s a buzz about turning colossal shipping containers into cozy family homes. These mammoth, corrugated-steel giants, originally designed for cargo transport, are being reimagined as unique housing solutions. However, the reality behind the concept isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. We delve into the world of shipping container homes with a remarkable family dwelling in Chaffee Park, exploring the challenges and creative triumphs that have emerged.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

 Breaking Boundaries with Shipping Containers:

There’s no denying the allure of transforming shipping containers into homes. These sturdy steel structures, lauded for their structural integrity, present a canvas for architectural ingenuity. Yet, architect Joe Simmons, principal of BlueSky Studio, cautions that building a container home is no simple feat. He learned this firsthand when he collaborated with Regan and Libby Foster on their ambitious project: a home comprised of nine 40-foot-long shipping containers.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

The Container Conundrum: Space and Insulation:

The fundamental challenge with shipping container homes lies in their dimensions. These containers are a mere 8 feet wide and entirely constructed from steel, making insulation a necessity. As Simmons explains, “By the time you put insulation on the inside, you end up with a room that’s 7 feet wide.” To expand the space, structural modifications and meticulous engineering become prerequisites, along with some hefty investments in specialized tools.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

A Visionary’s Dream:

For Regan and Libby Foster, embracing audacious design challenges is a way of life. Regan, a builder and former firefighter, had already conquered numerous projects, including the remodel of their previous home and the extensive renovation of the Dove Inn in Golden—an 1866 Victorian house transformed into a boutique hotel. His passion for crafting furnishings from unconventional materials set the stage for their next adventure.

Designing a Unique Community Space:

Simmons found himself drawn to the project not just for its technical complexities but for its potential to create a unique community space. Regan envisioned a living environment where two or three families could coexist harmoniously. This aspiration transformed the endeavor into more than just a structural experiment; it became a deeply satisfying design challenge.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

Ingenious Design: The Container Puzzle:

To bring the Foster’s visionary design to life, Simmons embarked on a creative journey. He began by crafting small wooden blocks to scale, experimenting with unconventional stacking patterns. The result: a 4,000-square-foot marvel consisting of two mirrored two-container stacks flanking a raised central container. This flexible layout includes communal spaces on the main floor and a two-bedroom suite, music room, and media room, with a two-bedroom apartment upstairs.

The Art of Natural Illumination:

One of the home’s standout features is its passive-solar design, harnessing natural light through tall south-facing windows and clerestory windows. These architectural elements not only illuminate the interiors but also maintain a cozy ambiance on winter days. The Foster family can seamlessly transition between indoors and outdoors by sliding open the front door and expansive glass panels, creating an inviting breezeway during favorable weather.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

Warmth Amidst Steel: Interior Accents:

With over 100,000 pounds of steel adorning the interiors, the Fosters faced the challenge of softening the industrial aesthetic. Their solution: introducing wooden accents and vibrant paint choices. Emerald green interiors complement the striking turquoise exterior, creating a playful contrast. The kitchen, a hub of creativity, showcases a mix of finishes and countertop materials, including soapstone, white quartz, and copper—an embodiment of form and function.

Craftsmanship Meets Salvage: Unique Furnishings:

The Foster’s dedication to craftsmanship extends to their furnishings. They’ve curated a collection that blends big-box-store basics, cherished family heirlooms, and Regan’s handcrafted creations. Weathered wood beams reclaimed from an abandoned RiNo bridge form their dining table, while a chandelier fashioned from exposed cords and an old grain silo top adds character. Outdoor seating features concrete foundation pieces from the original site, encased in welded steel cages and crowned with pine and walnut planks.

Design on a Shoestring Budget:

Regan emphasizes their DIY ethos, stating, “Every project we’ve undertaken since our first home has been done on a shoestring budget.” Their resourcefulness shines through their design choices. Quality is never sacrificed, and the Fosters’ approach is a blend of practicality, thriftiness, and a dash of serendipity.

A House Beyond Function: Embracing Design:

In the world of container homes, this family’s journey exemplifies that design can be more than just functionality. It can be an artistic endeavor, an architectural statement, and a canvas for personal expression. Regan and Libby Foster’s Chaffee Park home stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of vision and reality.

Living in a shipping container home may not be the easiest path, but for those with unwavering determination and a flair for creativity, it can become an extraordinary reality. The Foster family’s innovative dwelling in Chaffee Park illustrates that, with the right vision and dedication, a steel box can become a haven that transcends the boundaries of conventional living. In this remarkable container home, families can discover a space where architecture and design unite to create something truly unique.

Photo Courtesy of 5280.

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