I love cosy spaces. Love them.
Give me the choice between a mansion or a small little cottage, and I’ll always pick the small little cottage. After all, as long as you have everything you need – a non-leaking roof, heating, food and clothing (as well as internet) and a cat or five – then everything else is extra. I remember mum telling me as a child, the bigger the house the bigger the worry. And that’s true I guess. Bills are higher, mortgages and rent are far more expensive, and it takes more time to maintain.
So when I spotted amazing tiny houses made of repurposed shipping containers (that’s right!) offered to students of Delft University of Technology for £339 a month I had to know more.
A tiny little penthouse in a repurposed shipping container
They have pretty much everything a student would need: a furnished sleeping area, mini office, shower, kitchenette, and dirty clothes can be taken downstairs to the communal laundrette. All bills are included, and internet connection too. All packed neatly in 150ft². That’s right. a 15ft x 10ft shipping container.
The container belongs to engineering student Immigat, who hails from America. These shipping container apartments are offered as a temporary means of accommodation for overseas students who haven’t been able to land brick and mortar student accommodation, but some masters students can rent them for the duration of their degree. She called this her penthouse. Even if it’s a bit grey.
And echoing my mum’s thoughts, it’s ideal for a busy social student. “Since my home is so small,” she says, “I do not have to constantly clean. I never lose my stuff. Every inch of my room represents me. By having to limit my stuff, I only own things that make me happy and I’m proud to have. It’s my sanctuary.”
The metal grills do get loud when people run across them, she says. And given the lack of, well, walls, it’s possible to hear your next door neighbour quite clearly if they speak loud (or sing karaoke, which hers are wont to do).
But look how pretty! Although drab from the outside, they’re surprisingly airy and light inside. To the left is the kitchenette, and the tea towel hangs off a small wardrobe/storage cupboard.
The kitchenette includes a small electric hob, fridge and sink. Not too bad for a one-woman pad. There’s also a small alcove to the left for a coat rack and shoe space, as well as the door to the bathroom.
The office space. Immigat says she throws dinner parties for five people in this space, transforming the office desk (IKEA’s Vilgot) into a dining table. Clever, huh? There’s also room for eight friends to pop over for tea, too. As a Brit, I wholeheartedly approve of this tea prioritisation.
One way to keep the area looking alive is by bringing plant life into the space. A few potted plants here and there means she doesn’t feel like she’s literally living in a shipping container. Amazing how they really make such a difference. She also has about eight different lamps and light sources to keep it looking bright and cheery during the long winters.
The bed to the right doubles as a sofa and lounging area, and the small one-seater sofa can seat extra guests too. However, life in the Netherlands is suited for being out and about. “There is a forested area with a lake ten minutes biking from my house… where I like to picnic. I go to the beach often now that it’s warm [and] two months ago I did a bike trek from Leiden to Heemsteade visiting the tulip fields.”
Immigat hails from America, where bigger is always better and the Dream includes a white picket fence and sprawling estate. But life is more than the walls that surround you.
“I don’t live in 14 square meters; I live in the Netherlands. My private oasis is 14 square meters.”
The bathroom area is about the same size as a hotel’s. With a small shower, little sink, and loo, it means she can bathe in peace without worrying about roommates waiting, or leaving it in a total mess. There’s a full-length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door.
There are a few communal areas, and more colourful pods, too. These have full-length windows to let the light in and offer a few more square feet of space for each student.
What do you think, could you live in a repurposed shipping container?
Images via Imgur