When a client came to San Francisco-based YAMAMAR design firm with a question of how to build a backcountry cabin on land restricted by a Nature Conservancy easement—which prohibits the building of permanent structures—a solution was offered in the form of two highboy shipping containers. And while a classic A-frame buried deep in an old growth forest is certainly dreamy, a shipping container in the high desert offers much more than one might imagine. For starters try sunshine, endless open lands to explore, and a variety of vegetation to get to know.

The fully customized steel shipping containers feature reclaimed Douglas fir interior siding, a propane powered range and fridge, and a few insulated windows and sliding doors to let plenty of natural light in. Designed and assembled offsite, the two containers were brought into the remote 1000 acre location by flatbed truck and placed in an ideal setting, with westward facing views and plenty of shade.

The off-grid digs are modest, but certainly livable, with solar power keeping the lights on and fresh water from a nearby creek. Not bad. Not bad at all.