New on the market are container conversions.

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I found William Alpizar completely by chance when I spotted the model house of a single container at Santa Ana, just west of San Jose. The brightly painted unit with its mock tile roofing and wooden deck also sits next to the main highway heading to Ciudad Colon and was too cute to resist.

William is presenting this housing option to the public with forty-foot aluminum insulated refrigerator containers being ‘cut and pasted’ into compact, secure cabins that provide almost instant residential solutions. The model house reminded me of a spacious trailer or boat interior with compact fittings cleverly distributed for maximum use of available space.

It is fully air conditioned with a double bedroom at each end, ample closet space and wall brackets for a TV. The center section is the living area with fitted corner sofa seating, open plan kitchen with cabinets, microwave, stove-top burners and dining counter incorporated. The sofa can make up into another double bed with storage underneath.

A bathroom with shower stall, hot water and wash basin lies between kitchen and one of the bedrooms. With floor to ceiling sliding glass doors in the living area that lead out onto the (optional) deck area, there is plenty of light and feeling of space.

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Since the containers come ready insulated, they do not require extra roofing against weather or variable temperatures and internal condensation is not a factor. However, for aesthetics, or to cover the deck area, a roof can be attached if desired.

Different housing designs are possible by adding on additional containers either side-by-side or creating a second floor, by literally screwing them together. Since units are not welded, it is much easier to alter or disassemble the whole for moving.