LightHotel all lit up at night

LightHotel all lit up at night

The view from the doorway

The view from the doorway

What happens when your brilliant customer makes a hotel room out of one of your containers? Answer: You stay in it!!
Geoffrey Warner, AIA, the founder of Alchemy and weeHouse created LightHotel as an ecotourism alternative. They started with a 20' container from Super Cubes. We added in the windows and door for the utilities. The LightHotel team created a solar-powered, self-sufficient, stand-alone hotel room.  Naturally, we were excited to get to stay there.

The LightHotel has been traveling around Minneapolis, St Paul and the surrounding area to various events and festivals, including being stationed outside the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair. Recently, the LightHotel officially became an approved for rental as an RV hotel. You can reserve it through AirBnB by clicking here. As soon as LightHouse announced the approval, we rushed to get our reservation!

We decided to reserve it for a Saturday night. We arrived around 4:00pm. I took this video before we moved in. They had left us some bubbles since they knew we were coming with our son and meeting up with a couple of other families.  Our son was totally enthralled with the container and checking it all out. It is currently parked in the parking lot for a community garden in St Paul. We saw trains coming by and people gardening.  When our friends arrived, we showed off our home for the night. The adults love the nice finishes and space-saving measures taken to make the container feel really nice. The kids all thought it was very fun.  From there, we set off to one of the neighborhood tap rooms that has food trucks and entertainment for kids.

The hotel is currently next to a community garden.

The hotel is currently next to a community garden.

When we came back from dinner, we did some more bubbles and sidewalk chalk art and enjoyed checking out the container by night. We happened to reserve it on one of the hottest nights we've had so far this summer. The windows did provide some cross-breeze and there was a fan in the container. The container has a heater, this is Minnesota after all!  But does not have air condition because the amperage is too high with the current set up. We turned on the fan, created a little nest area with a sleeping bag for a son, and settled in for the night.

The container does have its own water system that gets refilled and emptied, so showering is an option. We skipped showering in the morning since we were heading right home and had packed light. It also has a composting toilet.

Watching trains from the patio of the hotel room.

Watching trains from the patio of the hotel room.

The container was a fun night's stay. The hotel room felt like it put the glam in glamping for us. Since we work with so many people interested in tiny homes and making homes from containers, it was a thrill to get to stay in one for the night. We do not have a cabin, like so many Minnesotans, but a 40' container with a kitchen added on would definitely be a fun option. LightHotel really took the decor in a different direction than many of the tiny homes that you see on TV. It had a very sleek, yet fun feel to it. We also thought it would be fun to stay in it in the winter. I would think it would be so snug and cozy. It had such a warm, welcoming feeling at night. The walls glowed in the light.

While we know a tiny home would not fit with our current situation, there is something so appealing about the compactness of tiny living. Hotels offer that great middle ground where you can try it out without committing your whole family to a huge change. Urban areas are often so densely populated and space is so expensive, tiny hotels seem like a great alternative for tourists. They also lend themselves to leaving small footprints both in terms of water and energy.

Would you want to stay in a tiny hotel? What appeals to you most about it?  What appeals to you least about it? Would you consider having one moved around to different locations like an RV or are you more tempted to have one already set up and ready for you in a place you want to visit?

The cozy hotel room at night.

The cozy hotel room at night.

A one-trip 20' container is like a blank canvas. The possibilities are endless.

A one-trip 20' container is like a blank canvas. The possibilities are endless.

A Super Cubes container makes the red carpet

A Super Cubes container makes the red carpet

What would you do with a one-trip 20' container?  We have some great customers who have taken 20' (and in some cases 40') containers and created something much bigger than a box.  We are showcasing some of the fun stuff we've been a part of or at least supplied containers today.

Super Cubes worked with Matter last year to create some unique spaces at their gala. We created a red carpet entry where everyone walked through container to come into the Sun Country hangar. We created a virtual reality booth where attendees could tour hospitals created by Matter (and see containers shipped from Minneapolis to the hospitals). We used 20' containers to create a stage along with the nose of a Sun Country plane!  Click here to read more about it.

We worked with SW Living in Florida. They are creating great off-the-grid living spaces out of containers. Pictured below is their prototype.  To find out more about them, click here.

While containers are great for storage, they are quite literally blank canvases The one pictured below features a mural designed by a local high schooler. Read more about that here. We also had a customer camouflage theirs to fit into their surroundings.

We have had customers turn containers into garden shed. We had a farm add on storage for pipes and other materials that can be accessed directly from the barn.

One Super Cubes customer partially buried a 20' container into a hill.  It provides great storage and is safe from storms.

Alchemy Architects in St Paul took a Super Cubes container and converted it into an off-the-grid, stand-alone, 20' hotel room. Super Cubes helped with the big window next to the bed and the utility closet opening. They did an amazing job designing the space to make use of every square inch an beautiful materials to finish it off.  The container made the rounds last year at various festivals and fairs. This summer, you can book a stay in it through AirBnB. To read more about it, click here for the container's website and here for the AirBnB listing.

Super Cubes was also involved with a shrimp farm in Las Vegas. Yes, you read that right. Shrimp in the desert outside of Las Vegas. It was to bring sustainable, locally-sourced shrimp to a market that had very high demand. Here is a link to our blog on that one too. Although they did use 40's for this project, it seemed too fun to leave out.

One last 40' project was an 8-container home in St Charles. We have so many pictures of this gorgeous home, you really just need to visit our blog devoted entirely to it.  Click here to check that out.

So what would you do with a container? What is holding you back from doing something with one? 

Check out the pictures below and click on them to enlarge them.

Are you looking for a one-trip/"new" 20' container? We just want to let you know that even though they are getting scarcer, we do have them! Particularly in Minneapolis, but in other cities throughout the US. Give us a call today! We also have used 20's and 40's and one-trip 40's as well!

Smiethy Fireplace mantle.jpg

We have reported on how a Super Cubes customer has converted eight 40' high cube containers into their home. See our blog on putting the containers in place by clicking here. Now the house is almost done and Show Me St Louis has done a piece on the home. You can watch it below:

Or you can go to KSDK's page and watch it there by clicking here.

Zack and Brie were such fun customers to work with.  They had a vision for this house and through a ton of hard work made it a reality. They went through the usual challenges that other people face when building a house - weather delays, unexpected costs, and the usual challenges, but work so seamlessly as a team that they made it look easy.

They bought the containers and we had them certified as cargo-worthy containers. They found a yard near the job site where we could put the containers so they would be close by for the day they had the crane. I went down for the big crane day which I blogged about here. It was so amazing to see containers turn into a home in a matter of hours.  But that was really only beginning. Then the Smitheys went to work cutting, grinding and framing up the containers to create their home.

8 containers stacked together to make a house on a busy street attracted attention. The Smitheys have created a Facebook page so that people could track their progress. You can follow it too here. You can also follow them on Instagram @smitheycontainerhome and @zacksmitheyfineart.co.