Tiny House: The Surfshack

Reader Contribution by Susan Melgren and Web Editor
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Recycled shipping containers make strong, inexpensive yet functional homes. Take the Surfshack, for instance. Built by designer, general contractor and avid surfer Hartman Kable just blocks from the beach in Westport, Washington, the Surfshack contains all the creature comforts of home inside a structurally sound, modest 160-square-foot frame.

Smart design and folding, moveable panels allow Kable to fit a couch, table and bench, kitchenette and ample storage, among other features, into a small space. Kable designed the interior in all white, giving the shipping container home a sci-fi feeling. Photo Courtesy Surfshackbox.com.

While a shipping container may not sound like everyone’s idea of a comfortable home, the Surfshack–and other homes built from shipping containers–have a lot to offer. The Cor-Ten steel shipping container features a durable, weather-proof and tamper-proof shell, providing protection from both vandals and the cold, rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest. To give the home extra protection from the weather, Kable added insulation to the home’s walls.

On the inside, the Surfshack packs a lot of punch into a small space. Using panels that fold and move, Kable was able to fit a full-sized bed, couch, table, bench, shelves and overhead storage racks for his surfboards. The tiny home also features a gravity toilet with holding tank, kitchenette and shower. On the back of the home, glass doors swing out onto a 150-square-foot deck, extending the home’s living space.

Overhead storage racks give Kable a place to store his surfboards indoors. Photo Courtesy Surfshackbox.com.

Kable, who did the work himself, tried to incorporate as many recycled and repurposed materials into the home as he could. The glass doors and windows, which allow ample daylight into the tiny home, were salvaged from a shopping mall. The wood for the decking was reclaimed from a trash pile, and the galvanized steel floor jacks that elevate the home were repurposed from commercial concrete construction. Even the shipping container itself was purchased used.

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