Cube Homes: The Future of Housing?

By Geneva Pattison

As property prices continue to soar in Dublin, the public are constantly looking for creative solutions to get their foot on the housing ladder – enter Cube Homes. These homes are stylishly-converted shipping containers fitted to your ordered specifications, with all mod cons available for inclusion.

This innovative brainchild of Vincent Byrne was born out of the desire to provide affordable and functional housing to people who may feel trapped in the cycle of poverty that high rent costs seem to create. Other companies on the continent are exploring similar ideas and repurposing shipping containers but as the company director said himself, not to the level of quality they’re offering. 

On the subject of the structure itself, Vincent explained some of the aspects a Cube home has to offer: “The outside is all maintenance free… The render on the outside is acrylic so it’ll stay like that forever. All you have to do is power wash it. Everything’s electric, so no fossil fuels are used, only heaters to heat the water… The roof is very strong, so if you wanted to put a roof garden on it you could. The world’s your oyster!” 

Outside look of a Cube home, picture by Geneva Pattison

In keeping with his aim of limiting people’s financial burdens, he is also hoping to set up finance payment options for those interested in purchasing a Cube, paid over a period of time in regular installments. 

It’s all in the details 

Everything in the 320 square foot single showhouse cost a total of €60,000 to complete. That included insulation, storage facilities, fridge, freezer, hob, oven, dishwasher, washing machine and fitted bathroom facilities.

The electric and plumbing pipes installation is included too, all you have to do is connect the drains, water and electric to the relevant sources.

Vincent clarified that “there is no issue in supplying electricity to the cube as long as there is an electricity source and absolutely, electrical meters can be easily installed.”

Before purchasing the home, laying preparatory groundwork on the site would be necessary in most scenarios. The homes are not made on site, they come ready-made, which means there will be an extra cost for truck transport and to hire a crane to lower it into place.

These structures can be made into two-storey premises or several containers adjacent to one another, whatever layout suits your purpose and budget.

Vincent has an independent planning consultant who is available to consult with prospective owners regarding obtaining planning permission from the relevant authorities for each Cube Home, regardless of its final specification. Whether you’re looking for a multi-storey house, student accommodation, granny flat, office or studio, all options can be explored.  

The single cube show house in Poolbeg included handmade fittings and bespoke interior design elements with a classic feel, that touched on the stylish Scandivanian interior trends. The interior designer of the show home, Rachel, explained that working with a smaller space provided some challenges. She explained that a main focus of hers was “making sure that there was enough living space in terms of dining and room for guests if they come over,” without sacrificing comfort. The use of space was clever throughout the property. An entire wall in the living area was occupied with sleek floor-to-ceiling shelving, with room left for a large television at the centre and added space on a lower shelf for storing a seating pouffe.

A similar style of practical yet elegant shelving was used in the bedroom to allow for plenty of floor space around the bed. The main colour scheme was a classic charcoal and white, with splashes of jewel tones and vibrant yellow coming through in the accessories throughout the house. 

Container homes on the Continent 

In the Netherlands, they have successfully utilised container housing to try and improve their student housing deficit. The Netherlands is already the highest populated country in Europe and one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with around 488 people per square kilometre.

The yearly influx of students coming to study from abroad started putting a huge demand on their already scarce accommodation. Those coming to college saw themselves being put up in shared tents with cots in them near their respective campuses.

That was until the government decided to invest in a quick, affordable and effective solution. This paved the way for the creation of Keetwonen in Amsterdam. 

Keetwonen is the largest shipping container housing project in the world and when it was first launched in 2006, it was the biggest student accommodation ever undertaken. Currently, Keetwonen is being dismantled and 249 of the units have already been relocated to the city of Groningen, where the demand is the most dire.

The remaining 751 units are still up for sale which also include housing, a shopping centre and a cafe. This is a great example of one of the perks of container housing. You can pick it up and move it wherever it’s needed. 

The implementation of this container housing, on larger scales, has been a great success abroad. With Minister Eoghan Murphy’s introduction this year of the co-living housing model and the recent refusal of planning permission for over 200 co-living units in Tallaght, it begs the question – would a well planned container home format have been more successful? An Bord Pleanála released a quote regarding their reasons for refusing the build, stating that the co-living structure would “fail to provide an acceptable living environment,” and that it had a “notable shortfall in the provision of sufficient communal facilities.”

Comparing this interpretation of co-living with the privacy and independence a container home could offer, there really is no comparison. Similarly, consider the prospects it could offer those in Ireland currently homeless or living in hotels. It is without a doubt an idea that should, and hopefully will, be explored by our government in the near future.

Forward thinking 

Cube Homes may be in its early days, but Vincent is looking to the future of this emerging business already. He hopes to introduce solar panels as an option to generate clean energy and similarly, a circulating water harvesting system, which would be installed underground near the house providing all the necessary water for consumption and washing.

Similarly, Cube Homes are looking to get government backing to ensure this potential housing solution succeeds. With potential government backing and investment, Cube Homes may be able to provide people in dire situations some comfort, dignity and interim security while saving on overall governmental expenditure. 

If the idea of living in a converted shipping container still doesn’t feel very appealing to you, after walking around the show house myself and seeing what can be done with limited space on a budget I was blown away. The space on the whole felt bright, roomy and full of infinite possibilities. I can assure you with every confidence that these are not just houses, they’re homes. 

Cube Homes are based out of Ringsend, visit  for any inquiries or to view their projects online.