California natives Aram and Elisabeth Choe had visited Joshua Tree National Park with their family for years and had always wanted a place to call their own out there for overnight trips or quick getaways. One day, Aram recalls, “We fell in love with the 5-acre property we were on and decided to search for our builder.” Elisabeth had always wanted to have a container home. After doing their research, they eventually chose to work with Container Guys International.
They decided to get a 20-footer container versus a 40-footer because they wanted to be able to move it if they had to with the least amount of logistical problems. A 20-footer can be placed on a trailer and moved by the couples’ diesel truck. In the future, they have plans to add a couple more container homes in different sizes.
When it came to decorating the container, “Liz was the decorator. She has an eye for decorating,” Aram relates. “She wanted to use the colors and themes of the desert. Most people don't know this but the green and pink we used are colors that are native to the area. You see them in the soil, rocks and the vegetation.”
Aram describes their container home as “unique, inviting, and fun.” The house is used as a getaway home by the Choe family and their friends, but it will be listed on Airbnb this March.
Aram and Elisabeth both wanted to stay true to the spirit of the national park, so they matched their home to the natural surroundings as much as possible. They used BEHR Premium in Fresh Tone to paint the exterior.
Their home was the first time that Container Guys International had installed a 12-foot sliding door on a container, according to the Youtube video featuring the home. Aram notes that the decision to use this particular type of door was because “we wanted to take advantage of the incredible views. When the slider is open toward the deck, it feels like the outside is an extension of the home.”
The couple bought this Knox Metal Panel Bed from Ikea. “We wanted to put as much full-size furniture in the space as possible so it didn’t feel like you were in a trailer,” Aram said. The black satin finish on the steel frame of the bed adds a touch of elegance to this space.
This patterned bedspread and pink curtains from Target give a cheerful vibe inside the home. The pillows came from Marshalls, as did t.he tray table, which is very useful for breakfasts in bed. A green mini fan on top of a pink stool completes this charming area.
These two shelves were custom built by Container Guys International from a 150-year-old salvaged barn wood from Ohio. The couple uses them to display decorative objects.
A framed cactus print, two small green jars, a book on national parks and a letter board sit on top of this particular shelf. “The accessories were all finds during our day trips out in Joshua Tree. We would see them and know they were perfect for the home so we would purchase them,” Aram said.
The gray table and workbench at the foot of the bed can function both as a work area as well as a dining area. For days when it is a bit cold outside, the home has a kerosene fireplace, which the couple bought from Lowe's.
This white cabinet is for a small refrigerator. The top stores plates, bowls and assorted kitchen utensils. The green Keurig coffee maker is another functional as well as a decorative object. A wooden shelf right above the refrigerator holds an assortment of colored mugs. Right behind the cabinet is the bathroom door, which Container Guys International custom made with the same 150-year-old barn wood from Ohio used for the shelves.
This home proves you can put out a lot of decorations without looking cluttered, no matter what size the home is. Wooden frames of varying sizes, a slim green jar, a small gold jar and a clear jar hanging from one of the knobs that support this shelf all add interesting details to this space.
This bird’s eye view of the house shows how stunning the property is. “We wanted to take advantage of the space on top since Joshua Tree has amazing stargazing at night. It is also a great place to take a nap. Liz and I spent the night up there once with sleeping bags while the kids slept inside,” Aram recalls.
A bit of engineering was required to accommodate a rooftop deck. Aram explains: “Containers are not completely flat on top. They are rounded. Therefore, we had to weld metal beams to level the top. Then we placed composite wood decking on top. It not only will hold up to the sun but it also acts as an additional layer of insulation.” All the teak furniture on the roof deck came from Ikea.
To get to the rooftop deck, you need to use the dark brown stained oak ladder custom made by Container Guys International. “Both of Liz’s and my favorite place is the deck. It offers such an amazing view, Aram shares. “The kids love it there.”