A North Grenville resident is stepping outside (or inside) the box when it comes to building a home.

Nicole Stephens first got interested in tiny homes during this pandemic, when she was stuck living in her parent’s basement. Unable to afford a home in North Grenville due to the high cost of real estate, she started thinking about her options for building her own tiny home.

When, last October, she came across a business in Oxford Station that supplied shipping containers for various uses, she felt like it was the perfect fit and contacted them right away.

Nicole says the owner of Ontario Container Supply, Dwight Brown, was extremely helpful in helping her source the container, cutting out the holes for the windows and doors and delivering it to her parent’s property to be transformed into her new home. An electrician by trade, Dwight has been in the shipping container business since mid-2019 and has been selling and renting shipping containers for storage, bunkhouses, lunchrooms, and increasingly tiny homes all across Ontario. The retired containers come from Hong Kong and are then shipped to Montreal or Toronto where Dwight or a member of his team picks them up.

Although shipping container homes are currently prohibited in North Grenville, Dwight believes this will change as more people realize what a good option they are for affordable dwellings. “I think now because of their accessibility and affordability, people, municipalities and cities are coming around to the idea and realization that you can build something that’s nice, that’s safe, that’s a promising, bright dwelling unit and it doesn’t have to look like a shipping container,” he says.

Although Dwight does offer complete shipping container renovation, Nicole’s father will be doing most of the work to make her new home a reality. According to Nicole, it is a slow process as they learn all the idiosyncrasies of building a home out of a shipping container; but they are hoping to have it completed by September. The tiny home will have electricity, plumbing and all the other amenities of a modern house. Nicole is currently looking for a piece of property where she will be able to put her shipping container home, most likely in one of North Grenville’s surrounding municipalities where land is cheaper. “I’m not entirely sure but I’ll probably end up staying in this area,” she says. “I like this area.”

Nicole is really looking forward to having her own space and, at 27, not having a mortgage. Her budget for the renovations to create her new 324 square foot home is around $20,000, less than the cost of a down payment for a home in North Grenville. Once the build is complete, she hopes to be able to hold an open house so that people can see what a shipping container home can look like. “I’m just super excited to see the end result, as is everyone else,” she says.

For more information about all the uses for shipping containers, you can find Ontario Container Supply on Facebook. You can also do a virtual tour of one of their tiny homes by visiting https://tours.londonhousephoto.ca/tinyhome/.


  1. Wat To Go, Nicole! Dwight Brown’s tiny homes made of shipping containers are awesome – I’ve been in one! I’m looking forward to seeing Nicole’s home finished, and hope that it inspires North Grenville to change the code to allow them in our community – high tech and sensible economically. Smart repurposing is a good thing!


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