Jay Patrikios and Cassie Martin spent their fourth date touring the house that would one day become their home. Jay had a feeling about both his date and the house, and ended up committing to both of them.
After remodeling their little bungalow with a modern eye and a taste for environmental-friendliness, Jay and Cassie found themselves needing extra space (their family will grow by one this October). The couple wanted something that would suit their sense of style as well as their sustainability ethic. They disassembled their garage, which they subsequently repurposed as a shed, and replaced it with a guest cottage made from an upcycled shipping container.
You read that correctly….Wallingford is home to a bright yellow guest cottage made from a former pineapple shipping container!
After ending its career in pineapple shipping, the container was acquired by a team of architects who were interested in tiny houses and repurposing objects. They came up with the design, which they built for a Sunset magazine feature. The design caught Cassie’s eye as she perused the magazine. She and Jay contacted the architects to get more information, and ended up with the very container that had been featured in the story. It was shipped on the back of a container truck (natch!) and lifted by crane into their backyard, where it was promptly christened the Pineapple Express.
Other than being repainted, the shipping container has had no work done to its exterior. The dings and dents it acquired during its former life are still visible, and part of its charm. The interior, which includes a small kitchen, bathroom and living room/bedroom, is considerably more comfortable. The layout and efficiency of storage are reminiscent of a live-aboard boat.
When I visited last month, Wallingford had just survived the great thunder and rain storms of 2012. I asked Cassie what it was like inside the container during the storm, imagining cacophony as rain pelted the metal roof. She assured me that it was actually quite quiet, since the cottage is very well insulated. It also has plenty of heat and hot water for the winter months.
One fun feature of the cottage is that there are metal doors that can swing open on the long side of the cottage. Inside of the metal doors are sliding glass doors. When the exterior doors are swung open, the interior of the cottage is bathed in light. Cassie and Jay also installed a deck surrounding the cottage, which extends the feeling of space and light.
My favorite part was that the entire bathroom converts into a shower, with a ceiling-mounted shower head distributing water throughout the small room. All paper products and other necessities are kept in water-proof containers. Tiny house design at its best!
The Pineapple Express will allow Jay’s parents to spend more time in town, which is especially important now that they are about to become grandparents. They gave the cottage a trial run in July, reporting that they “slept very well. The room was comfortable, dark and quiet”.
Jay has high hopes that the Pineapple Express, with its bright yellow paint, will be visible from space. Or at least visible on Google. It’s not yet (he has checked) but he is fairly sure that when the maps are next updated, their container house will appear like a beacon in the city.
For now, Jay and Cassie plan to use the Pineapple Express as visitors’ quarters. But I’m betting that when Baby Patrikios-Martin enters her teens, the guest cottage will be the favorite local teen gathering space and home to an awesome garage band. Better hope that insulation really can block out deafening sounds because the Pineapple Express is going to be rocking the ‘hood!