At the Buffalo Home Show, a team of local interior designers has created a living space that looks as if it was built from shipping containers

Thursday, March 5, 2015Back to News ▸


The featured home of the Buffalo Home Show is designed to look like it was built from cargo containers. Photo by Sahron Cantillon/Buffalo News

There’s a new word to add to your vocabulary in case you haven’t heard it – cargotecture. The term refers to a building made partially or entirely from shipping containers.

The “container living” concept is being embraced by the Interior Design Association of Western New York. For the new feature at this year’s Buffalo Home Show, open this weekend and next only, IDA designers created a cargotecture-inspired home – reflecting a national trend to provide minimalist, affordable housing.

The 620-square-foot living space designers dreamed up includes a kitchen, living room, bath, bedroom and mud room. Its design includes two areas the size of actual shipping containers – one 8-by-40 feet, the other 8-by-20 – connected by a breezeway.

“It’s contemporary with an industrial feel to it – all with very clean lines,” said Michelle Peller White, owner of Chochkey’s and IDA president.

The emphasis is on showcasing space-saving and decluttering ideas. Highlights include a concrete countertop, a Murphy bed, an open walk-in shower, frosted glass closet doors, a mural depicting cargo doors and an ashen-colored hardwood floor. The colors are neutral and contemporary – grays with accents of teal and blue.

“All the furniture and every feature is small and clean-lined because of the small space. It’s a small cooktop and a small dishwasher,” said Erin Kent, who chaired the team of IDA designers.

“We also tried to use things with dual purpose. The kitchen table will have ottomans that can pull out to be used for additional seating,” said Kent earlier this week, while the structure was being constructed.

The group also is running a competition with students from Villa Maria College and the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. Their design boards illustrating “cargotecture homes” will be on display during the show.

IDA will award to the students two cash prizes for two categories: Interior Division and Exterior Division, White said. Judging is done by two professional interior designers and two architects.

That’s not all: IDA also has established online voting by the public with a People’s Choice Award and honorable mention.

Of course, there is much more to see and do at the Buffalo Home Show.

Some highlights:

• Exhibitors – 276 this year – will be there to present goods, services and the latest trends for everything inside and outside your home.

• Celebrity guests include husband-and-wife team John and Whitney Spinks, from the HGTV television program “Flipping the Block,” and licensed contractor Matt Muenster, host of DIY Network’s television series “Bath Crashers” and “BATHtastic!”

The Spinks’ presentations will take place at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Muenster’s are scheduled for 1 and 4 p.m. during the show’s second weekend, March 14-15.

• F & S Design Studio will transform the main lobby into the “ultimate dream backyard” – complete with landscaping, outdoor kitchen and patio furnishings from local vendors.

Visit for information on exhibitors, parking (including valet), directions, giveaways and stage schedule, including presentations and details about the new craft beer tasting.


Details: The Buffalo Home Show runs two weekends only – today through Sunday and next Friday through March 15 – in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Adult admission is $11 at the door, $8 online. Children ages 6 to 12 years, $3; free for ages 5 and younger.


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