Transforming A Shipping Container into a Tiny Home

The History of The Relief Box

The Relief Box is a 40’ x 8’ high cube shipping container that was converted into a tiny home.    This is the story of why and how the idea for the “Relief Box” was born.  Many people to not believe what it takes to design a custom home within 8 foot walls, 300 square feet of space and at 50 amps or less.





After seeing the tornado and fire damage firsthand in Joplin, Missouri Moore, Oklahoma and Yarnell, Arizona; the owners at Modern Container Concepts recognized the demand for immediate, safe, on-site temporary housing.  Everyone has heard the horror stories of the “FEMA Trailers” so they sought out to build something different and never seen before.


Relief Box

In putting pen to paper to design their second container home, the owners realized quickly that the tiny home MUST incorporate: safety, design, function, sustainability, a family of five to six with turnkey electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems.  This all had to be done within the container walls, under a reasonable budget and with an electrical maximum electrical draw of 50 amps in the event the home must be powered remotely with a generator.  They had to ensure the home could be picked up by a forklift without damaging the exterior and shipped over and over again to those who need it most.

Container Selection

Modern Container Concepts took their time in sourcing an adequate container because they knew it would be used for housing those displaced after an unplanned event.  They ultimately settled on an Evergreen container and it was purchased in Phoenix, Arizona from a major container supplier. 

Container Modification






The team knew they had only one chance to make the cuts in the container walls and after months of meticulous planning, measuring and re-measuring for the interior walls, furniture and cabinets, the container was modified with precision.  A steel entry door with window was welded to the front of the unit and a steel framed window with burglar bars was welded to the rear of the unit.  The window has a pin with hinges keep intruders out, but to allow for escape, if necessary.

No penetrations were made in the roof or ceiling of the unit and all plumbing and electrical penetrations were made out the rear of the unit in the mechanical area.  Because the intent is to build an entire fleet of these disaster relief homes, it was important that nothing prohibit stacking the homes during storage and nothing protrude out the sides making them susceptible to damage.

At the rear container barn doors, an intake and exhaust vent were installed to allow the unit to be run with these doors open or closed.  Water diverters were added over the entry door and these vents to ensure that when rain fell, it was diverted away from the unit.

Rough Construction




The team enlisted licensed contractors for the entire project.  They know that would cause costs to increase significantly, but they wanted to ensure the project was completed properly.  As seen in the photos, no expense was spared in the framing, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and insulation systems.  Custom designed water tanks with a capacity of 160 gallons each are covertly hidden within the design of the home and are monitored by a state of the art monitor system.  Because of the home’s design, it has an inherent grey water system built right into the unit that allows for further recycling of the grey water.

A highly efficient mini-split Pioneer air condition unit heats and cools the home and is controlled with a handy remote control and USB outlets have been utilized throughout the home.   The living room has been pre-wired for satellite or cable and can be easily accessed on the exterior of the home where the mechanical area is.

The Finish

The Relief Box has enough room to sleep four to six occupants comfortably.  At one end of the container is a full bathroom with bathtub, sink, heat lamp and ample storage space.  On the other end is a master suite large enough for a queen bed!  In between is the kitchen, living room, dining room and a bonus room that can be used as a bunk suite for the kids or office space for an adjuster dispatched on short term or long term CAT duty.  The flooring is manufactured by Protect-all flooring and is a recycled industrial grade product.

Relief Box Storage

Relief Box Storage
Relief Box Storage

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The Relief Box Press Release



Contact: Dan Grifford III
Managing Partner
Cell -623.703.7883
Email -



Glendale, Ariz., October 5, 2016– Local business, Modern Container Concepts, LLC (MCC) has built “The Relief Box” out of a repurposed 40’ shipping container whose sole purpose is to provide relief to those displaced after a catastrophic event has occurred at their home.  MCC is planning to build a fleet of disaster relief housing units to dispatch immediately following a catastrophe like Hurricane Matthew that is currently threatening the eastern United States. The Relief Box may be leased furnished and is large enough to house a family of five to six for an indefinite amount of time.

Shipping containers are steel boxes designed to ship goods throughout the world and withstand the harshest climates on earth. Due to the fact that they are readily available, cost-effective and exceedingly strong, they are an ideal structure to use when building both temporary and permanent buildings.  “I have seen firsthand what fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes can do to a community and the instant demand that is created for safe, secure and immediate housing.” says Dan Grifford III, a native to Phoenix and Partner of MCC. “Ever since Adrian Garneata and I started this company, our goal has been to build a fleet of housing units that can be available immediately when the need arises.”

The fleet of disaster relief housing will be built, stored and dispatched from Phoenix, Arizona and the company strives to support as many local businesses as possible.  The primary function of the Relief Box is to provide safe, durable housing for those who need it most.  MCC has already designed and built The Relief Box right here in the valley and will duplicate the same model over and over until an adequate supply of housing is available for use.  The open space floor plan (attached) allows the Relief Box to be used as a single family home, a live/work situation for volunteers or adjusters dispatched to catastrophe areas and several other uses.

According to Grifford, The Relief Box is the best on-site temporary housing solution available in the market today.  Repurposing shipping containers for construction is not only affordable, it is durable and functional as the containers are designed to be water, mold, fire and air proof. Because of their construction, Garneata adds that “ISO shipping containers are meant to withstand harsh climates and are ideal in almost any environment. They have been said to be the strongest modular structure on earth.  We strive to optimize the core benefits of the container structure while providing a functional, modern design.” 

About Modern Container Concepts, LLC

Also known as “MCC”, the local company was founded to recycle used and/or idle shipping containers and repurpose them for temporary disaster housing and transportable “tiny houses”.  Their goal is to build strong, sustainable and safe concepts in a fraction of the time and cost of wood framed buildings.  The containers are made entirely of steel, which is the world’s most recycled material.  Custom built residential and commercial shipping container applications are available at the client’s request.

Visit their website  or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information.

For a .PDF download of this press release, please click here.

Shipping Container Disaster House