MARKLE — Business partners Mike Grant and Kyle Decot can hardly contain their enthusiasm over their building project in Markle.
Granted, it doesn’t look like much now. Nine rust-colored shipping containers stacked three deep currently perch on a hill in Markle, a town of about 1,100 residents south of Fort Wayne.
But where others may see an eyesore, if you look at the project through Grant’s and Decot’s eyes, you’d see a stunning contemporary three-story home with a somewhat industrial look.
The two are building the area’s first container home, and yes, that’s a thing. Old shipping containers usually used to ship goods overseas are being repurposed into homes — nice, attractive homes with all the comforts one would expect in a traditional home.
Decot and Grant have started a business — Rock Creek Container Homes — and they hope to expand beyond the house on the hill in Markle.
“If you can imagine something built from a shipping container, we can build it!” they say on their Facebook page.
Thinking outside the box
Decot and Grant’s business of re-purposing shipping containers isn’t limited to the home on the hill. They also sell shipping containers for storage units, “she sheds,” or whatever else someone can imagine. The cost for a container is anywhere from $2,600 to $4,900 and includes free delivery.
The house is by far their most ambitious project.
“It all started in Kyle’s garage,” Grant said.
“It just turned into a snowball,” Decot said.
The two took a vacation and looked at a container home in Florida. Grant said they’re popular along the shorelines because they can withstand a lot of wind.
Decot has a background in metal fabricating, so he had the skills necessary to work on such a unique project. They do hire subcontractors for some of the work, such as heating and air conditioning. Decot said, “Subcontractors have to have an open mind.”
They hired an architect to draw up a set of plans and presented them to officials in Huntington County to get their approval. They thought it was a great idea, Grant said.
The shipping containers are only 8-feet wide, but with Decot’s experience they will be able to cut interior walls of the containers to create more open areas. The interior will be studded, insulated, dry-walled and painted — just like a regular house. They plan to install vinyl plank flooring, with the aim of creating a maintenance-free home.
The corrugated containers will be painted white on the outside to add texture and retain the industrial look. Windows and doors will be cut in, and the exterior trim will be painted black.
It’s a startling sight driving through Markle, with its traditional stick-built homes, to look up and see this behemoth. Decot grew up in a “cookie cutter” home in Markle, but plans to live in the container home, which will serve as a model home for the business. The finished product will be just shy of 3,000 square feet.
“It’s not a house that everybody’s going to want,” Decot said.
“That’s part of the appeal,” Grant said. “It’s so different.” He says container homes are big on social media.
They hope to have the inside done by March and the home completely finished this summer. The pair say they’ll have $250,000 invested in it and hope to eventually sell it for $301,000.
The property includes a huge, three-bay unattached garage put together with three shipping containers on three of the four sides.
Rock Creek Container Homes is a side business for both men. Decot, 41, has his own car lot, and Grant, 43, works for the town of Markle.
And until their container house is done, you’ll probably find them busily working in the container house on the hill.