ELLSWORTH — Some Maine homesteaders live in tents, others in converted buses and straw-bale homes. A couple living on 63 acres in this Down East town call home a pair of former shipping containers, which they bought on the auction website eBay for a total of $1,500.

Trevor Seip and Jennifer Sansosti, both in their late 20s, have spent the last year modifying the containers on their property, where they eventually hope to build a conventional home.

Each container measures 20 feet long, 8 feet high and 8 feet wide.

One is insulated, plumbed and wired by the couple. It boasts a bed and table that fold up against the wall, a cushioned bench seat, a sink, a camp stove, a wall-mounted propane heater and a bathroom with a shower and a composting toilet. The other has a large storage closet and folding futon, the couple said.

“You need to use every inch you can when you’re dealing with 160 square feet” of floor space, Sansosti told the Bangor Daily News.

The containers sit about 5 feet apart, but the couple plan to have them moved so they’re connected.

The couple designed their shelters so they can live off the power grid. They have power-producing solar panels and energy-efficient lights that are powered by batteries, and they collect their water from a nearby stream and filter it. They plan to have a windmill with a power generator installed.

Seip and Sansosti had been considering homesteading in locations as far away as Uruguay. Seip, a Maine native who previously lived in Stroudsburg, Pa., and Sansosti, a New York City native, chose Maine so they can be closer to their families and because they consider Maine more tolerant of their unconventional housing choice.


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