By now, Vancouverites are used to seeing shipping containers repurposed as temporary housing for those in need, and as makeshift offices for construction projects around town. They might have also seen them perched in more remote settings like the Gulf Islands and Whistler. But what we haven’t embraced in this city yet is containers used as permanent laneway housing—though that certainly isn’t the case for other squeezed real-estate markets in North America.
At the home show, Vancouverites can have a firsthand, walk-through look at what living in a container home might feel like. Honomobo’s one-bedroom, one-bathroom 419-square-foot M1 style on view started as a steel container made in China and came here shipping goods. (“We know exactly what's been shipped in them and how they’re built,” Engelman says.) And while the exterior still has a modular industrial aesthetic, it no longer feels like a steel box. The ceiling is lined with warm wood, and a 31-foot floor-to-ceiling wall of glass along the front adds to the live-ability.