When a couple tapped Coates Design Architects to design a house that could accommodate their baby grand piano, they were also intrigued by the idea of using shipping containers to do the job. In response, the American architecture studio researched cargotecture and settled on a cost-effective solution that combined traditional wood framing with a “container-like” design. Located on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, the Musician’s House features a layout optimized for acoustics as well as natural ventilation and daylighting.

Living space with large windows, double-height ceiling and two dark couches facing the windows

Kitchen with light wood cabinetry, large island, and four brightly painted bar stools in different colors

Completed in 2014, the Musician’s House spans an area of 2,775 square feet across two floors. “The couple was intrigued with the idea of building a container house from real containers,” said Coates Design Architects in a project statement. “We researched the idea — searching for a ‘sweet spot’ that could utilize containers in a manner that required as little alteration as possible, taking advantage of their natural structural integrity. The alternative was to force them into a different role that requires significant alterations. Considerable research was spent on the topic … only to arrive at the more cost-effective solution of traditional wood framing.”

Bedroom with dark walls and one all-glass wall

Light wood landing area on second floor with wood ceilings and exposed beams

Despite their findings, the architects designed the home with a “container-like” aesthetic using industrial corrugated metal cladding combined with natural materials, including a variety of timber and even a green roof above the entry vestibule. Inside, the Musician’s House comprises a spacious master en suite on the ground floor along with a kitchen and a double-height living and dining area. The upper level houses a guest bedroom suite, workshop, covered outdoor decks and a loft/music room with a connecting studio space.

light wood kitchen island with an oven vent hood above and four different colored bar stools

Dark blue velvet couch with yellow and orange pillows in front of a yellow wall and stairs leading up to second floor

Related: Architect turns four shipping containers into an affordable and eco-friendly home

In contrast to the industrial cladding, the interiors are bright, colorful and playful. Full-height windows, particularly around the double-height living space, stream in natural light, and select art and furnishings add bright pops of color to the modern home, from the yellow accent wall behind the stairs to the multicolored seating in the eat-in kitchen.

+ Coates Design Architects

Images via Coates Design Architects

angled view of home with corrugated metal exterior and several windows at dusk