Shipping Container Summer House
This shipping container project was built especially for our appearance at the very first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2017. Designed to fit in our 6 x 3m plot at the show, this fold out shipping container was our response to having no rain cover while promoting the industrial and reclaimed nature of our company ethos.
The container was a bigger hit than we had expected and are currently planning to build some more for exquisite landscaping design projects and pop up bars.
Client: M&D Personal Projects, UK
Made: Spring 2017
Shipping containers being turned into commercial spaces and shops are all the hype at the moment, and we have been wanting to build one since the very beginning of M&D 4 years ago. We finally managed to find the budget and application for doing one, so a redundant 10′ shipping container was sourced in the hope we could finish it in time for our exhibition at the RHS Chatsworth garden show in June 2017.
With an already hectic work schedule, adding the shipping container build into the lineup meant the project was never going to be easy! 3 months were allocated to get the shipping container from salvage to splendour and ready for display in all its glory. As luck would have it, we’d just landed an awesome job that could not be turned away. Before you know it, 3 months soon turned into 4 weeks, and we were full steam ahead to get the project completed by the deadline.
Work began on the project by some close inspection, accurate measurements and some technical calculations to figure out the folding wall. We had always planned on having the wall fold down into a temporary floor space, thus doubling our usable footprint for the show.
Getting the hinge to work correctly was the make or break of the project, it also relied on what flooring finish the space was destined for, so making this the first task was a no-brainer. After building some 3D CAD models to make sure our plan would work, we got to work with the plasma cutter to cut the old wall out. There was no turning back from this point.
The door fabrication could then begin, we started by welding in some vertical struts to create an aperture and seal for the door. The door could the then be built to suit. We used box section to frame the door to create a seal between the struts, then welded in the original panel which was cut out. This was used in the hope to maintain some of the original shipping containers aesthetic and charm.
Making the hinge required some expertise on the lathe and milling machine to create some bespoke hinges to get the pivot point in its precise location. The clearance was the main concern between the floor, whats the point in having door that won’t open, right? We ended up with a 10mm gap between the internal floor and the folded down floor. Combine this with our precisely matched flooring levels and the floor appears to be seamless when in the folded down position. Sweet!
The next task was to assist the movement of the door by way of an electric winch hidden in the roof panelling. That door was heavy without the addition of the flooring and any potential rain that might fall on us at the show (it did!).
This step required welding some support into the roof to avoid the possibility of fracturing the framework or existing shell of the container. After that, most of the welding work was complete and work could begin on the interior. (We have 2 weeks to be on site in Chatsworth at this point)
The stud work was built to comply to building regulations and is insulated to keep the container cool in summer and warm in winter. Just like any other building.
The plasterboard was substituted in this shipping container project to suit our intended use for it, as we plan on hanging work from the walls and poking holes in it, while at the same time we’d quite like to be able to keep it clean and tidy. The plywood can be replaced quite easily when the next show comes up.
4 days to show: The final step before the show was to get the container in some paint. To keep the industrial warehouse feel, grey paint was used. Though we could have had it any colour imaginable.
With 0 days to spare, the shipping container summer house / exhibition space was complete. The crane was on its way, and we had a load of stock to fill it with. An exciting couple of months hard work paid off, and the show was great despite the weather.
We managed to get the container project finished in time for the show. And our efforts paid off as we arrived on site the next day to see our 3 star trade stand award, not bad for a first appearance. Thanks RHS!
We’re pretty stoked to have achieved such a good finish in such a small timescale without cutting corners, but we are definitely ready for some sleep! For more industrial and reclaimed furniture, check out the rest of my portfolio.
For your own custom shipping container project, please get in touch to discuss your requirements. We are more than willing to build another one for private/commercial use. We’ve got it in our plans to go for a 20′ size with a large glazed section, could it be your garden shed?
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