Sarah House Utah Shipping Container Home

If you guys have followed me for any length of time,  you know that I’m in love with the idea of a shipping container house.

Admittedly there is a lot I still don’t know about it, but from a resources standpoint, it seems like they offer some compelling upside in terms of cost, time savings, and structural soundness.

So you can imagine how excited I was to hear about a shipping container house being built in my very own Salt Lake! It was a few weeks back, when a friend told me that he had heard about The Sarah House Utah project on the radio.

After exchanging a few emails with Jeff White, the mastermind behind Sarah House Utah, I set up a time to swing by and check it out (as it turned out, the shipping container house wasn’t far from the Desert Tactical Arms office, so I grabbed a co-worker and headed over on a lunch break).

Shipping Container House Sarah House Utah

If I had to sum up my initial impressions of the place as I drove up, it would be “a diamond in the rough.” The Sarah House is located on an older, somewhat rundown residential street in Salt Lake’s “Glendale” neighborhood.

A mish mash of dilapidated houses and overgrown landscaping was punctuated by the neighborhoods “feral animals.” Cats and chickens wandered lazily from yard to yard, and a neighbor across the street even had a horse grazing in his front yard! (uh…?)

Apparently however, the older neighborhood was an easier place to pull permits for a build like this one, so it worked out perfectly.

Jeff was nothing less than the nicest, most down to earth, good hearted dude I’ve ever met. Total hippie. And he was only too happy to take a good chunk out of his day to show us around and answer questions.

While there, we chatted about:

  • Zoning and permitting
  • Insulation
  • Heating
  • Lighting
  • Financing
  • The concept of “tiny house” living
  • Using shipping containers as bug out shelters

Plus a ton more!

I loved it and was really impressed with how it’s all coming together. In particular, I was impressed with the insulation method (combo of closed-cell spray on foam and eco-friendly rolled corn product), and the lighting. Due to the carefully placed window cuts, the shipping container house absorbs a TON of natural light.

On the downside however, because of zoning and construction laws, Jeff was not able to construct much of the house off site, which increased the cost considerably. Delivered price of the house should come in at roughly $108-110K.

Interested in Helping?

Sarah House Utah is a project of the Urban Crossroads Center, a 501c3 non-profit powered by volunteers. If you’re in the area and would like to be a part of the construction, they’d be thrilled to have you help.

If you don’t want to volunteer, but still want to check out the build, you can get details and updates on their facebook page.


Sarah House Utah in the news

Crossroads Urban Center

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  • Bob in boise

    Don’t know if you have seen this, this is the best sea container blog I’ve seen
    Great work on your site

    • Urbivalist Dan

      wow man, that is an awesome site. Very thorough documentation of all the steps. thanks for sharing, and thanks for the kind words. Site is a constant work in progress–some cool stuff on the horizon!

  • Benjamin Bowman

    I LOVE IT!!!! Freakin awesome. When you get one Danny, I’ll help you with the build!

    • Urbivalist Dan

      not sure if/when that will ever happen, but if so, I’m taking you up on it…

  • Pingback: 2x 40ft Shipping Container Home, – Sarah House Project, – Glendale, Salt Lake City, Utah | cika()

  • Graynomad

    I’m building a container home right now after living in an ex-Army truck for over a decade. All totally off-grid in the Australian bush.

    • Urbivalist Dan

      wow, 10 years in an army truck? incredible man. Any pics or videos of the container build?

      • Graynomad

        Actually more like 14 years, but who’s counting :), not many pics yet, my blog is starting to show a few though, (starting Fri 07 Mar)

        It will not be a flash house as often seen on the web, in fact I want it to look more or less just like a collection of containers although we will make a patio area between two of them which will give the game away somewhat.

        While we have not been “preppers” as such most of the stuff I read about we are already doing and have done for years, power and water are handled off grid, we are miles from any towns on a secluded bush block, and I can do almost all work required (haven’t used a tradesman for over 30 years). One thing we don’t have nailed down yet though is food, we store a lot but ultimately still depend on the supermarkets.

        • Urbivalist Dan

          wow man, your site is awesome. I already have a bad case of wanderlust, but looking at that makes me want to go hit the australian bush, to carve out my own little piece of down under… :-) Nice progress on your builds–keep it up!

  • Daniel

    can you please remove:

    or swing by in person:

    1511 South, 1000 West
    Salt Lake City, UT 84104


    • Dan Carpenter