Steel containers converted into living spaces on display at Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo

Janet Podolak, The News-Herald

A Lorain County-based company that converts steel shipping containers into modern living spaces is debuting its concept at the Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo, which runs March 27 through 29 at the Cleveland Convention Center in downtown Cleveland.

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“These are small homes that can be used by construction workers or people who work in sales on the road,” said Nicole Kendrick. one of the co-founders of J. Evans Custom Home Construction, which will showcase its Forever Home Mini Mansion at the show this weekend.

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“But the concept works well as a food truck, a mother-in-law suite, an artist’s studio, for homeless veterans or as a college dorm,” she said.

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The cost-efficient little home, which is insulated, heated and can be air-conditioned, can be installed permanently on a concrete slab or loaded on a truck and hauled around. The base price is $34,999.

READ: In July 2014, J. Evans Construction used steel containers to build a new home after fire destroyed one on West 26th Street in Lorain.

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Because Cleveland is a port city, the company has good access to the shipping containers it transforms into homes.

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“We’re working on making one that operates off the grid to be portable and not have to connect to utilities,” Kendrick said.

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The basic efficiency home is 20 feet long, 8 feet high and 8 feet wide with a finished tile bathroom with shower and sink; a full kitchen with upper and lower cabinets, stove, refrigerator and sink; a living room with pull-down Murphy bed and flat screen TV.

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The steel containers, which are used for shipping household items and manufactured goods all over the world, are available in 10-, 20-, 40- and 53-foot lengths, she said. All are 8 feet wide and most are 8 feet tall, but there is an extension for 9.5-foot ceiling.

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The company works with its customers to develop custom mini-mansions.

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They can serve many purposes and are compliant with most building codes.

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“We haven’t explored campgrounds as a site, but a lot of construction companies want their workers to live on site and sometimes rent space in unused parking lots,” she said.

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Because they have a large manufacturing facility in Lorain for doing the work, they’ve been able to do fabricating indoors in inclement weather.

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“We’re working with a resource that makes furniture that becomes three or four different things in one application,” she said. “The tiny home movement is huge, and we intend to market our concept to fit,”

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The 2-year-old business is a collaboration of many bright minds, she said, and multiple solutions are being found to meet the financial challenges of millennials.

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Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” will share how they’ve learned to create peaceful spaces from chaos from the Expo’s Main Stage on both March 27 and 28. They’ve worked on more than 100 homes together and are experts in seeing beauty in ordinary things.

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Jeff Lewis, widely regarded as American’s most well-known house flipper through his role in Bravo’s “Flipping Out,” will appear on March 28 and 29. With more than 20 years of experience designing and renovating his own homes, he’s formed Jeff Lewis Design.

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Ursula Carmona, the DYI superhero behind the blog Home Made by Carmona, will be at the show March 27 and 29. She’s an expert in doing more with less beautifully and believes it doesn’t have to be expensive to be gorgeous.

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New and innovative trends also will be showcased at the Expo, which opens at noon on March 27 and at 10 a.m. March 28 and 29. It closes at 9 p.m. March 27 and 28 and at 6 p.m. March 29.

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Northeast Ohioans looking to make updates to their homes can get decorating tips and see the latest trends in furnishings and design at Perrino Vignettes by Perrino Builders & Interiors.

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Enter the show through the Outdoor Living Oasis built by Eyerman Landscaping in Ravenna and get ideas for your own backyard. Additional landscaping is provided by Petitti Garden Center in Mentor.

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Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo

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March 27 through 29

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Cleveland Convention Center

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300 Lakeside Ave.

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Cleveland

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Tickets: $8 in advance at www.homeandremodelingexpo.com and Discount Drug Mart locations. $10 adult at box office, $8 seniors; $5 children 6 through 12. Military and veterans can show their ID for free admission on March 28.

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