The simplicity of shipping containers had always appealed to Trevor Reitsma.

Trevor Reitsma, the building designer had experimented with concepts that drew on their minimalist lines, so when the opportunity arose to design a multi-purpose structure at the back of a residential block in Caloundra in Queensland, he decided to bring his ideas to life with the help of Colorbond steel, available from BlueScope Steel .

The structure was classified as a hobby shed and needed to have the flexibility to work as a storage container, a workshop or as temporary accommodation.

Therefore, Trevor Reitsma’s design challenge was to create an external façade that would reflect its classification and an internal layout comfortable enough to live in, if needed.

As Trevor Reitsma explains, “To me, the simplistic look of a shipping container is great, so I drew on that inspiration to create a streamlined, industrial structure that could morph from one use to another. Essentially, I created a shipping container cool enough to call home.”

There were a number of other challenges to overcome: the budget was modest, equivalent to that of a family car; ensuring privacy from the block’s primary residence and from adjoining properties was important; and construction needed to be finished within a four month window. Therefore, using simple, easy to install materials was the key to meeting these challenges.

“Colorbond steel was the most cost effective, easy way to clad and roof the structure,” Trevor Reitsma said.

“It provided a completely seamless, integrated, industrial look from roof to wall. Also, the products long-term durability and low up-keep was a major draw card for us,” he said.

From the front, the large, windowless rectangle is seamless, with no sign of an access point. It is not until directly in front of the structure that a latched door becomes visible which, once opened, reveals a private central courtyard or parking bay.

“The ideal, steel container like exterior and the enclosed central courtyard gives the structure a sturdy, secure look and the fact that you can’t see any windows from the front adds a little mystery,” Trevor Reitsma said.

The courtyard creates a cool breezeway between two functional pods totalling 80m² of floor space. The left pod comprises an open space big enough to act as a living, kitchen and dining area, while the right pod has three compartments: a washroom, a small store/office space and a larger area suitable for a workshop or bedroom. There are only four glazed portions, identical sliding doors positioned at either end of each pod.

Internally, most of the finishes were chosen with functionality, affordability and aesthetics in mind. The polished concrete floors are hard wearing and easily cleaned.

Flat pack cabinetry from Ikea was used throughout as it was quick to install, affordable, and contemporary. However expense was not spared on fixtures and fittings, to ensure the overall feel of the space was one of quality, regardless of its use.

The project has roofing and cladding made from Colorbond steel in the colour Woodland Grey and the profile Superdeck .42T/side and smooth line gutters and flashings.