Shift Your View of Shipping Containers

By Sabrina Blair

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), or “granny flats,” have regained popularity as a result of housing shortages and affordability concerns. In the recent years, the California Legislature passed AB 2299, AB 2406, and SB 1069, which required cities to allow accessory dwelling units within single-family residential zones. ADUs are a great option for maximizing large residential lots and adding living space to your home.

One inventive option for ADUs that has been growing in popularity is shipping containers. Yes, the kind that are stacked and loaded onto ships! Shipping containers are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials, and they are both durable and portable. Many companies now specialize in converting shipping containers into homes.

Kubed Living offers custom-built shipping-container units that vary in size from a 160-square-foot studio to as large as you can imagine. Kubed Living follows international building codes, and its units require building permits exactly like site-built houses. Because these units are custom built for each client, the company can tailor the façade to match the primary residence—as many cities currently require. The price of Kubed Living’s shipping-container units starts at $55,000 and varies with size and customization.

Honomobo, another vendor of shipping-container homes, offers several predesigned options. Honomobo’s Mstudio, a one-piece 273-square-foot studio, is ideal for an ADU and utilizes every square inch to become an efficient and adaptable space. Honomobo units are factory built and are shipped to your property complete. The base price of the Mstudio is $98,318. Larger units cost more. Pricing does not include local taxes, site services, foundations, delivery and setup, or permits.

Each city has its own regulations and guidelines for ADUs. We recommend that you check with your city before purchasing or constructing. Visit to view the municipal codes and contacts for each city.