Shipping container home

By Shepparton News

Many of us have driven past and slowed down on the Goulburn Valley Hwy to take in that architecturally astonishing home in Kialla, but just who is the mastermind behind it?

From an entrepreneurial-minded child to a skydiving, helicopter flying, bungee-jumping builder ... James Briggs’ house reflects his lively personality.

The JMB Constructions managing director spent many hours at the drawing board designing and planning out the complex construction before taking to the tools.

From the overall outward appearance and practical layout, right down to the tiniest details, this aesthetically pleasing house is loaded with features and surprises.

The Kialla home, constructed from seven shipping containers, includes all the standard rooms — lounge room, kitchen, bathroom.

But Mr Briggs is known for his adventurous designs, so the home includes more than just your average rooms.

The house features a separate outdoor enclosed space complete with a pool table, dining table and lounge area.

‘‘It’s good to have an outdoor room separate to the main house so when people come over they’re not in your living space. It means you can put the kids to bed without lots of noise in the house,’’ he said.

Above the outdoor room is a separate master suite.

This space is accessible only through an enclosed glass walkway from the main house on the second storey.

The suite has been designed to be fully self-contained.

Mounted to the outside wall of the second-storey suite is a staircase that leads to a large roof-top deck where Mr Briggs enjoys the view of the distant Strathbogie ranges on one side and breathtaking sunsets on the other.

Mr Briggs kept the shipping container theme going in the backyard by designing and constructing a separate theatre room.

The room replicates a cinema and features tiered seating with seven recliners, surround sound and a bar fridge to keep movie desserts cold.

But the fun does not stop there.

Separating the outdoor room from the main house is a swimming pool with a barbecue area for summer nights, while not far away is an in-ground fire pit for colder weather.

Inside, Mr Briggs and his wife Rachel have achieved a modern, raw, industrial style.

The interior design features blacks and greys throughout, complemented by thick recycled timber and carefully selected furniture.

‘‘My favourite inside feature of the house is the staircase,’’ Mr Briggs said.

One of his business mottos states he can transform shipping containers into ‘‘anything you can imagine’’. And that’s exactly what he has done.

But as well as the home’s appearance, Mr Briggs said the design had far greater depth than the average visitor might realise.

‘‘The layout has been designed to get the northerly sun into the right areas at the right times of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘In summer, once it gets to the hottest part of the day the main suite on the second storey shades the pool and the alfresco area,’’ he said.

While it seems the shipping containers have been randomly placed, Mr Briggs has used the containers creatively.

He said by twisting the second-storey container to nearly 90 degrees, the overhanging length of the container had created a roof to the barbecue area.

‘‘Every angle throughout the design has a reason and a purpose,’’ he said.

Mr Briggs said he liked to build houses with a modern and unique style.

For him, discovering the newly evolved building system has brought a whole new element to design possibilities.

He said the shipping container homes were his way of escaping the average ‘‘cookie cutter’’ homes that were all too common.

He said as shipping containers were designed to carry more than 40tonnes with multiple containers stacked on one another at sea for long periods of time, their structural integrity was unmatchable and also allowed for added creativity in design.

And possibly the greatest benefit of all, Mr Briggs said if someone were to build a basic- to mid-range design and they wished to move or rebuild on their land, the homes could be relocated with ease.

He also said a container home could be cheaper to build than a conventional house of the same configuration.

He has completed the finishing touches to his own home and said he planned to be in it long enough to celebrate his 80th birthday from his roof-top deck.