Greetings from California! 🙂
The Port of Oakland holds and receives nearly 2.4 million shipping containers each a year. If Luke Iseman had hisway, Oakland would hold onto even more of them. Iseman is founder and CEO of Boxouse, a West Oakland-based startup that makes affordable housing out of shipping containers.
A used 20-foot container that’s eight feet high and eight feet wide retails for around $1,500. In less than a week, the Boxouse crew can cut out a door and window, add insulation, framing, and electric grid capabilities and market it as a bare-bones model for $9,000. More expensive than a month’s rent, to be sure, but for many Oaklanders, a fraction of what they might pay in a year.
Startup Boxouse sells “portable, affordable, beautiful smart homes” made from shipping containers (the “deluxe” edition costs $49,000 and includes shipping). Chief Executive Officer Luke Iseman, a Wharton graduate who previously ran Y Combinator’s hardware program, concedes that “container houses aren’t perfect” but says they can help ease housing shortages. He shares one with co-founder Heather Stewart that’s set up in an Oakland warehouse. They’re partly financing the business by renting out two others on Airbnb.
Boxouse offers higher-end models that retail for more, but even its most expensive model— a solar-powered, off-the-grid deluxe package with bathroom, kitchenette, and bedroom—retails for $49,000. The current median home price in Oakland is $685,000.
Iseman buys them used for about $2,000 each and retrofits them with the help of a half-dozen part-time workers.
Boxouses are designed for off-the-grid living, with a 1.5-kilowatt solar system that heats and powers the unit and its kitchenette.
An app can control smart windows and lights, as can a complimentary Alexa. In the works: alerts to port-a-potty vendors when the wastewater tank needs emptying.
- Everything in the Standard ($29,000) plus…
- Solar power (1kw)
- Integrated trailer
- Voice controlled everything (‘Alexa, trigger lights’)
- Windows that transform from transparent to opaque
- Remote controlled projector screen/ room divider
- Automatic utility servicing
- Sleek finish out with premium sustainable materials
- The whole shebang.
So what do you think? Would you live here? ☺