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A Transportable, Off-Grid Tiny Home Made From Shipping Containers

Stays

Perched on the top of a rocky hill, overlooking the undulating mountains around Mansfield, two 14 square metre shipping containers are not exactly as they seem.

While from the outside this pair look almost identical to others in the area, inside they have been completely transformed into a pair of tiny homes by designer and builder Robbie Walker.

Capturing incredible views towards Mount Buller, Victoria, life in this pair of tiny homes is about as close to nature as it gets!

26th October, 2021
Sally Tabart
Tuesday 26th October 2021

Robbie Walker and his wife Alice first bought this block of land in Mansfield, Victoria, in 2016. While the steep, rocky property was useless to a farmer, the couple saw potential in the incredible views over a gully looking out to Mount Buller, and were able to buy it pretty cheaply with the intention of one day building a family home.

In the meantime, Robbie designed and built a pair of off-grid tiny homes used for friends and family to come and stay, and as short-term accommodation for visitors to unplug and reconnect with the natural world.

For Robbie, using shipping containers as the structure for the tiny homes made sense within the context of the location. ‘All the farmers in Mansfield have containers so when you stand back and look at it, it’s just another container on a block’, he says.

Both self-contained spaces are identical in plan, with a wet area on one end, and an open-plan space featuring fold-down furniture seamlessly integrated into the remaining plywood-lined walls. One of the containers is used as a sleeping quarter, with a double bed and triple bunks that fold down from the wall, plus a bathroom with a flushing toilet and a kitchen. The other functions as a living area, with a fold-out kitchen table, additional double bed, fireplace and bathroom.

Robbie’s uncle, who is an expert in hydraulics, created an elaborate system that allows the entire side of the living container to open up. Part of the wall drops down to become a deck, essentially doubling the usable floor space, while a second layer opens to become an awning.

Staying as true to the original materials as possible, Robbie has lined each of the cabins with plywood, as you would find on the floor of any shipping container, lining the wet areas with an epoxy resin usually used to seal timber boats. ‘If it’s good enough for a boat, it’ll protect the bathroom’, he says.

A few nifty elements allow these shipping containers to operate fully off-grid. A box that sits on the back of the containers house batteries for the solar panels, a hot water unit, generator, gas bottles, and provide extra storage, while a second roof sits above the container roof that catches water and funnels into a water bladder.

Robbie likens the experience of staying in these beautiful, functional tiny homes to camping with protection from the elements and everything you need to be comfortable. The connection to nature is unparalleled!

Book your stay in this incredible tiny home here!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net