My Houzz: Max McMurdo’s Converted Shipping Container Home on the River
Take a tour of this unique floating home, made from a converted shipping container moored at Bedford Marina
Who lives here Max McMurdo, designer, TV presenter and owner of upcycling company Reestore
Location Bedford Marina
Property A converted shipping container
Size 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Photos by Chris Snook
“I actually first dreamt up this house when I was 25 and living at home with my parents,” Max explains. “I was self-employed and wondering how I would ever get my own place, so I had the idea of creating a shipping container home. It was in the early days of CAD [computer-aided design], so I even made a little CAD model of it.”
This was before the upcycling revolution had picked up pace, however, and the idea of converting a shipping container was greeted by others as just a crazy scheme, so Max put the idea to one side and concentrated on building his career instead.
However, a few years later, armed with more confidence and experience, and having set up his own upcycling company, Reestore, in the interim, Max decided to revisit his dream and set about making it come true.
Once Max decided to move ahead with his idea, things began to speed up. “I sold my cottage and used the equity to fund this project,” he says.
Having already experimented with shipping containers, thanks to an upcycled office in the garden of his Bedford cottage, Max had some experience of the materials and the process.
Upcycled Ercol sofa, vintage.
See more living room photos
Max is a big fan of natural light, so there are no pivoting doors or curtains anywhere in the house. Instead, large glass doors fold right back along the front of the container in order to flood the space with light and open the home up to the outdoors. Behind these, slim, decorative, acrylic panels are suspended from a single runner along which they can glide to provide privacy and shade wherever it’s needed.
It had to be positioned dead centre in the container for weight distribution reasons. “Everything in the container had to be taken into consideration when we were planning the weight distribution,” explains Max, “even the weight of clothes in the bedroom.”
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“It can be noisier than you’d imagine, though,” he says. “The geese get up at 5.30am! But you get used to it. There’s a water trap around the back and you can hear the lapping of the water. We also get baby ducklings nesting in the washing machine drum plant pot on the deck.”
The container gets mains electricity from an electricity point and fresh water from a water connection, but the toilet has to be emptied every few days.
He also created a textured paint effect on the walls by mixing sawdust and PVA in with the paint to create a tactile surface.
The shower floor is made of a pebble-covered mesh that slides back to reveal a stainless-steel tub beneath, so there’s just one drainage system required for both the shower and the bath.