Anne De Wolf’s Suggestions for Repurposing a Shipping Container


Consider how to install the container on your property and factor that into the overall budget. Ranchel used a crane, which increased costs.


Set insulation in only the deeper cavities of the container to save interior space. Insulated containers are also available to purchase.

To Plumb or Not?

Know how you want to use the space before adding plumbing. In Portland, says De Wolf, no additional permits are needed as long as you don’t plumb the container, and it’s 200-square-feet or less.


Be okay with exposed conduits, as electrical outlets are hard to hide in the container’s shallow walls. Floor-mounted outlets can be a fun option.


De Wolf had a large opening cut into the side of the container, then installed sliding glass doors with metal fabricated screens. This allows Ranchel to control the amount of light, air and privacy.

Have Fun!

With such a small space, Ranchel and De Wolf got even more creative with their salvaged décor. Antique sprinkler heads became clothing hooks and an agricultural water trough is now a shower basin. Ranchel got to see more ideas from her notebook come to life.

Photos by Heather Hawksford

Melissa Dalton
Contributing writer | + posts