In the Colorado mountain town of Salida, Boulder real estate investor Tommy Lorden has created the first cargotecture home in Chaffee County — and has even opened up his unusual home for rent. Inspired by his mid-century modern home in Boulder, Lorden designed his bright orange vacation rental — dubbed the Northbound Train — with clean lines and an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living, 

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an orange shipping container home

Despite its relatively minimalist appearance, the Northbound Train was a project that took years to complete. Lorden, who had fallen in love with Salida during fishing trips to the Arkansas River, ordered containers from overseas in the winter of 2017, however, they weren’t delivered until February 2019. An apprehensive county building department, problematic paperwork and the lot’s steep terrain also proved challenging. After much patience and with the help of a second builder, the project moved forward in 2019 with the completion of much of the groundwork, which included concrete pier foundations.

a deck looking out over a landscape with bright blue skies

“In looking back on all this, Northbound Train is lucky to be here at all, and took an inordinate amount of perseverance—or delusion, depending on your view, to get it done,” explained Lorden, who put the containers side-by-side to maximize the interior footprint. “In fact, one of the bigger question marks was how to insulate the water supply line coming into the house in addition to the drains going out. Interestingly, we ended up running a radiant heat loop coming off of the boiler even though we do not have radiant heat throughout the house. That was just one innovative solution we made in the field to make Northbound Train a fully functioning reality.”

Related: Roaming shipping container museum brings contemporary art through Panama

interior of a living room space with a black fireplace and counters

Available to rent on VRBO, the two-bedroom, two-bath Northbound Train is located two miles from downtown Salida and sleeps six. The site’s panoramic views of the Collegiate Peaks and the region’s mild weather inspired the addition of an outdoor deck that can be accessed via floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors. The detached garage was painted in neutral tones so as not to detract from the home.

+ Northbound Train

Images via Tommy Lorden