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Shipping container motel honors 2nd life of salvage

On a former ranch in Round Top, Texas (population: 91), Flophouze hotel is made of six converted shipping container cabins and one container pool. Built and run by Recycling the Past- the architectural salvage yard next door-, the former cargo boxes have been outfitted with recovered items like windows and cabinets from a school, railroad car floors, and countertops from an old bowling alley.

Owner Matt White spent years dreaming of container architecture before launching the business in 2016 with 3 units (adding 3 more the following year). Working with the long, narrow containers, White and his team created rooms- kitchen, bathroom, bedroom- in a shotgun-style using salvaged wooden sliding doors to separate spaces when needed.

We spent the night in unit #4 – the “Cow-abunga”- that sleeps six (bunk beds, a queen, and couch bed) and is separated by a central “Hollywood bathroom”. There was plenty of space for four or family of five and we spent plenty of time in the shipping container pool right next door (outfitted with a glass wall by Modpools).

We caught George Munoz at work on a few of the custom containers that the company fabricates and sells to individual clients. Munoz has spent the past decade working with salvaged materials at the 12,000-square-foot Recycling the Past site. He showed us the warehouse and custom units and explained how they offer materials for sale for those who would prefer to build their own.