Gallery: Adam Kalkin’s Old Lady House is a Modern Shipping Container Ma...

The house is actually two compounds connected by a railed walkway.
The house is actually two compounds connected by a railed walkway.

Despite the fact that the home is dubbed the Old Lady House, all of the finishes within it – a concrete floor, large glass panes, sliding doors, stainless steel, beams and columns – speak to an edgy, industrial aesthetic. However, to keep the home in line with its rustic surroundings, Kalkin used natural materials like fir flooring and mahogany sliding doors in the smaller spaces that include a dining alcove, a half-bath, a pantry, and mechanical and laundry rooms.

One third of the floor space in the main living area is occupied by a 12-foot long kitchen island where the owner can prepare food while gazing on peaceful views of the forest. Adjacent to the kitchen space, two large sofas are available for lounging near a cozy fireplace. Since all of the corrugations are hidden behind the drywall, you can’t even tell that you’re in a shipping container unless you happen to peek behind the stairwell.

+ Adam Kalkin


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  1. Michael Fuller July 1, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I love the stainless steel exhaust/ ventilation hood over the Stainless Stove/ cook top/ grill !

  2. Holcim Awards January 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    This is a beautiful house but nothing unique or extraordinary. There are thousands of buildings being built with shipping containers and many are much more sustainable. For other inspiring examples of sustainable architecture check out past winners of the Holcim Awards US: The Holcim Awards are now open for submissions so get your sustainable projects in today!

  3. leighblackall January 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I agree juanwalker. Kalkin delivers us endless source for inspiration, although I wish someone would reveal the finer details of his ideas, such as how the roof and guttering is worked in this example. If Kalkin’s work is primarily art, then surely the details are crumbs for us to use? I wish Habitat would do detail investigation more.

    Here in Australia, the cost of a B grade container, and the relative difficulty to customise them into habitable dwellings, makes them practically inviable. The real worth I find, is in their portability. If a dwelling can retain the portability, the the concept becomes more viable. That is unless the aesthetic is worth more than the pragmatics.

    BTW. I’m pretty sure its a Kalkin design that features in the first half of the new Tron film.

  4. juanwalker January 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Alright you know a slam is coming when I start my post with, “I love Adam Kalkin, BUT……” really, this is NOT an efficient use of the structural capacity of containers….six containers, stacked side by side? This is art, not architecture, which I think the maestro would agree with. My beef with shipping container architecture in general (and I build these things myself) is that people either go to the ghetto/relief scenario extremes or the high-concept art-piece (Seatrain House) end of the spectrum, and in the process, marginalize this as a viable building option. Beautiful though.

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