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This article was published 20/12/2011 (2375 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mario and Assunta Costantini can hardly contain their enthusiasm about their one-of-a-kind new home.
The Costantinis moved into their new, 1,600-sq. ft. home in the rural municipality of Macdonald in November.
What makes the dwelling unique is that it is made up of six former metal shipping containers. While container homes are becoming increasingly popular in other urban environments, the idea is relatively new to Manitoba.
Costantini, who is the owner of Macdonald-based A.D.M. Storage and Mario’s Concrete, is using the couple’s new home as a pilot project. He is hoping to eventually use the same technology to build standalone commercial buildings that he plans to market.
Despite the recent arrival of winter, the couple say they have no complaints about their new domicile, which is located behind their business on McGillivray Boulevard.
"The new home is just fabulous," Costantini said. "We have all the modern amenities we need and it is as warm as can be."
Costantini said that the two-storey structure is heated with natural gas and is hooked up to the municipality’s low-pressure sewer system.
Assunta said it has everything she needs, adding she doesn’t miss the couple’s former home in Winnipeg’s Crescentwood neighbourhood.
"Everything is new and it is quite lovely," she said. "I would have liked to have some things a little different, but overall I am happy with it."
Costantini said preparing for Manitoba’s frigid winter conditions was the biggest challenge in converting the containers for residential use.
He said that the steel structures need to be well insulated to keep the cold out.
"It was a challenge to get this first one built, but I wanted to prove that it could be done and it could be economical," he said.
Costantini said that now that all of his design work has been completed, converting steel shipping containers into office space could save as much as 20 to 40% in construction costs.
In the meantime, he is continuing to tinker with the designs for the buildings.
"We have noticed that there is a bit of a condensation problem on the corners of the building that I know we can rectify with a few more experiments," he said.
"The plan is to build a heated dog house soon as a test for dealing with this problem."