Oklahoma business creates homes from shipping containers

A bedroom and living room view of a shipping container home built in Stillwater. (KOKH/Jordann Lucero)

Three Oklahoma State graduates have partnered to create a business in Stillwater, turning old shipping containers into tornado-resistant homes.

"There was an American Dream where people came to the United States, they wanted to to own a house but nowadays things are getting really costly," Swapneel Deshpande said.

Deshpande and Lee Easton joined founder Ben Loh to create Modern Blox.

Modern Blox homes are designed to accommodate a single person or a couple in a modern, portable, and affordable package.

They have already taken orders for homes, they call "Blox," and created a shipping container bar to open soon in Tulsa, while putting the finishing touches on the first prototype home.

The 45-foot shipping container includes a full-sized bathroom, a small kitchen with room for a microwave and small sink and cooktop. The Demo Blox is set up to have a dining table, living area and bedroom.

"I saw the shipping container from the beginning and I knew if we put everything in it we would be successful in building something people will buy," Deshpande said.

The model unit costs $49,999 but Modern Blox homes start at $35,000 or less for bulk orders.

The units are also eco-friendly, portable and strong.

Since the founders all live in Oklahoma, they said it was important for them to create something that can withstand severe weather. Once anchored it can withstand winds up to 250-miles an hour and debris.

"We don't recommend anybody be in here when there's a tornado but we can guarantee when the stuff is in the shipping container," Deshpande said, "when it happens this will be safe."

The test model now is being worked on at Meridian Technology Center. It was mostly built off-site and shipped to the tech center. The founders wanted to make sure it would be able to be shipped without damage. The test-move was successful.

"Our goal here is to just manufacture the containers and ship it anywhere, in the U.S. or in the world," Loh said.

The units are each under 400-square feet of livable space.

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