Array
Houses

This Architect-Couple Built Their Home Out of Container Vans

This 70sqm La Union home was born from a single container van on an empty lot. Step inside and see all its retro details and Japanese-style space-saving tricks.

Shares
Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Pictorial Direction: Nat Clave Styling: Dagny Madamba & Kamila Garcia

Surfing in La Union brought architects Buji and Nikki Libarnes together. For eight years, they lived with friends in a two-bedroom apartment in the area. They went back and forth to Manila where their work was, but they had their personal belongings and surfboards stashed in this apartment so they could go on the water anytime.

It seemed the most ideal living arrangement until the owner decided to renovate. “Nawalan kami ng tirahan,” Buji relates matter-of-factly, but he wasn’t just about to up and leave the town that had become his second home.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

It all started with a Kombi and a shipping container

“I brought my Kombi van, and we lived in that for a year. Nakiki-park lang kami sa mga hotel. Sobrang sarap. Nag-enjoy ako matulog sa van na yun,” he recalls. Nikki says that it was set up in such a way that they could live comfortably in it: “May electric fan, konting curtains, kulambo.”

Eventually, they got wind of a property for sale in the neighborhood. And as like a foreshadowing of things to come, there was already a shipping container at the site. In true bayanihan fashion, their surfer friends helped move the shipping container, and Buji and Nikki got down to work on their new home.

From that single shipping container, they decided to extend it to accommodate a guest room and a garage. “Binutasan namin for the window, and tinaas for the roof,” describes Buji. “We’re also very fascinated with clean lines. Eh yung container, very linear siya. It’s a box, puwede mong paglaruan yung stacking. Ang inspiration ng bahay namin is a mix of California and Japanese style. May pagka-mid-century,” he adds.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


The single shipping container gave birth to a hostel

At that time, the couple had no plans yet of putting up Vessel Hostel, which currently stands next to their house. “Nag-leave lang kami ng space,” says Nikki, but that space turned out to be the perfect fit. The design of the hostel is based on containers as well.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

A peek inside their 70-sqm home shows that it is carefully planned, and every inch of its space efficiently used. There are no solid partitions, so the living, dining, and sleeping areas flow seamlessly in an open space.


Nikki says that as soon as they wake up, their schedule starts getting crazy. (Living right next to their place of business is a big plus.) Buji takes care of the maintenance and ongoing construction at the hostel, while Nikki replies to inquiries and bookings. When nighttime comes, they focus on their Manila-based projects.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Whether designing or surfing or attending to guests, Buji and Nikki are simply overjoyed to be able to do all of those things where they feel most at home. “Sobrang sarap to design your own home. Kung anong gusto mong gawin, puwede. Dito, nakaka-relax kami. Nakaka-focus,” the couple says.

More on Realliving.com.ph

Shares

Latest Stories

How to Fake Natural Light When Your Home Doesn't Have a Lot of Windows

Avoid dark, heavy window treatments and keep furniture away from windows.

How to Live With Less? Stop Buying Things Just Because It's on Sale for Starters

The journey toward minimalism can be challenging, but it will be worth it.

Look Forward to Laundry Day With These Nifty Hacks

Make this dreaded household chore more manageable with these must-dos

This 28sqm Studio Unit in Bacolod is Perfect for Staycations

The design team created a compact yet inviting small home with a warmth that matches the vibe of the City of Smiles

7 Plants That Can Help You Keep Dengue Away

You need to do more than just plant them outside your home

Make Your Home Smell Like a Fancy Hotel for Less Than P700!

Shop for scented candles, room sprays, and more essentials while maintaining your budget

10 Things You Need to Clean to Avoid a Stinky Home

We tend to overlook how scent contributes to the first impression our house makes on guests �" or on us!

5 Organizing Ideas We Can Learn from this Family Home in San Juan

This home doesn't just have picture-perfect rooms. Let it inspire you to get organized.

Amoy Kulob at Mabaho? Here Are Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Because a beautiful house needs to smell good, too

Those School Buildings We Grew Up With Are Called Gabaldons

The President recently signed a law that mandates their conservation

These Are The Reasons Why You Have a Messy Home

Manage the clutter in your house with these tips from an interior designer

Which One is Best for Your Home: A Diffuser or A Humidifier?

Here is a quick guide between a diffuser and humidifier to help you decide which one is better for your space
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!