Of Steinbeck and shipping containers

Container_2I could totally live in a house or addition made from shipping containers, like this Redondo Beach home by DeMaria Design Associates.

Container houses bring to mind the first remodel I got emotionally involved with, in John Steinbeck’s “Sweet Thursday,” the sequel to “Cannery Row.” Do you remember when Suzy, the prostitute, moved into an old boiler in a weedy lot? Here’s how Steinbeck describes it:

Suzy took the money Joe Blaikey loaned her and went to Holman’s Department Store in Pacific Grove. She bought a hammer, saw, assorted nails, two sheets of plywood, a box of pale blue kalsomine and a brush, a tube of Duco cement, a pair of pink cottage curtains with blue flowers, three sheets, two pillow cases, two towels and a washcloth, a teakettle, two cups and saucers, and a box of teabags. At Joe’s Surplus she bought a used army cot and mattress pad, bowl and pitcher and chamberpot, two army blankets, a small mirror, and a kerosene lamp.

Later, Fauna, her former madam, came by for a visit:

Fauna got down on her knees and poked her head through the firedoor. The transformation was complete. The curving walls were pale blue, and the curtains were stuck to the walls with Duco cement. It was a pleasant feminine apartment. Suzy sat on her cot in the light from the little fireplace. She had built a dressing table for her mirror and bowl and pitcher, and beside it stood a fruit jar filled with lupines and poppies.

“You sure fixed it up nice,” said Fauna. “Ain’t you going to invite me in?”

“Come on in, but don’t get stuck in the door.”

OK, I know this boiler was a health hazard. But as Steinbeck pointed out, it was “fireproof, windproof, earthquake-proof, and almost bombproof.”

Kinda like these new container houses, no?

(Photo: DeMaria Design Associates)

1 Comment on Of Steinbeck and shipping containers

  1. SB

    Wouldn’t these homes be fireproof? southern california should take a serious look at this type of structure!!!