FROM the second floor of the modern home that Andrew Anderson built on a sandy lot here, expansive views of Napeague Harbor are visible to the north, and a sliver of the Atlantic Ocean sparkles beyond the dunes to the south. But in this land of ocean-liner-sized waterfront mansions, the most surprising feature of his four-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath “Beach Box” is what it’s made of: six repurposed steel shipping containers — the kind usually found stacked 8 to 10 high on cargo ships.
“You are giving them a second life,” said Mr. Anderson, the owner of beachboxit.com, who explained that the 8-by-40-foot crates, usually retired after 20 years, are costly to melt down. Repurposing is an environmentally friendly way to build something “10 times stronger” than a traditional home, he said.
The containers are engineered to withstand saltwater and storms at sea. In this chic Hamptons setting, they also fuse luxury with a way to save the planet. On June 15, Mr. Anderson listed the 2,000-square-foot modular home for $1.395 million. The house, three blocks from the shore, is clad in hardy fiberboard; it has 1,300 square feet of decks on two levels and sits on a property landscaped with indigenous beach grasses. The white rubber roof reduces energy costs by reflecting solar energy.
The East End is already home to an artist’s studio made from a steel container, but the Beach Box is believed to be its first such residence. Evidence of its humble origins includes a ribbed section of wall in the first-floor hallway where a bit of a container’s corrugated exterior was left exposed. Similarly, the ribbed ceiling in the two upper containers forming the second-story living spaces was left uncovered. “It lets you know you’re in a container,” Mr. Anderson said. “It has an architectural element.”
On the lower level, four containers were boxed together like a three-dimensional puzzle to accommodate four bedrooms, two baths and a laundry room. Christopher Stewart of Prudential Douglas Elliman, the listing broker, described the house, which has a small pool on the lower-level deck, as “a mix between luxury and green on the inside.”
In the open kitchen, a center island and countertops are made from an impervious repurposed paper composite and renewable bamboo fiber. Appliances are stainless steel; the backsplash is a stacked blue-gray glass tile. The bathroom fixtures are similarly contemporary.
Assembled “like Lego for adults,” as Mr. Stewart put it, the nontraditional structure went up in hours: flatbed trucks delivered the containers one by one, in succession every 45 minutes. A crane moved each container into place. They were then locked and welded together.
Steel container homes can be delivered 90 percent finished, as modular homes from a factory specializing in conversions, but Mr. Anderson chose to assemble 80 percent of this one on-site, “to learn how you can and can’t manipulate these.” It sits on a poured-concrete foundation and took eight months to complete.
The kitchen has sustainable materials like bamboo fiber. CreditGordon M. Grant for The New York Times
Last week he closed on a lot nearby, intending it for a $4 million to $5 million container home; he hopes eventually to roll out a few a year, and says they can be built with a traditional look. He sees costs as a little lower than for regular construction, “but you get a much sturdier product” that is also “economical by Hamptons standards.”
On a tidy cul-de-sac at his Vistas at East Moriches development, where backyard swing sets share space with the 13 of 17 homes already built and sold, the foundation has been poured for his “Americana” model, a three-bedroom two-bath ranch that he describes as the first house in New York in years to be built solely from products made in the United States.
The 2,000-square-foot house was presold, for $500,000, to Tom Riley of Bay Shore, who said he had been “surprised” and “thrilled” to learn that it would be 100 percent American-made. He expects the pedigree to add value.
“People take pride in American workmanship,” said Mr. Riley, who described himself as employed by “an American car dealership.”
To go all-American, Mr. Baisch “had to change the basic specifications of my whole house” and arrange for his suppliers and subcontractors to certify the origins of their materials. “We had to change a lot of our plumbing fixtures,” which are usually imported from China or South America. They instead went shopping for toilets and sinks from Kohler, Wis. The only place he could find rotary nails still being made on American soil was in Texas. The lumber is Southern pine.
Paul Rupp, the owner of Paul’s Plumbing and Heating in Merrick, supplies the steel gas pipe, PVC pipes, fittings, fixtures and boilers manufactured in Utica for Mr. Baisch’s homes. Mr. Rupp said he was “surprised by how difficult it was and bothered by” the extra 10 percent it cost to use American-made products, though the quality “is so much better.” American building supplies have to be ordered, whereas foreign parts are “generally available the same day.”
Mr. Baisch said he would “eat” the extra cost, “for now.” After adding another model — a two-story version called the “Patriot” — in East Moriches, he plans to build 18 similarly outfitted houses in Miller Place.
“The customers will appreciate it,” he said. “Everyone is going to buy into it.”