ROUND TOP, TEXAS—Shipping containers that used to travel the world have found a perfect home as creative lodgings—the Flophouze Hotel—on nearly eight acres in Round Top, Texas. It makes sense that they would given owner Matt White’s affection toward “recycling the past.”
Recycling the Past is the name of White’s architectural salvage business that offers everything from wooden beams and flooring to aircraft parts. The shipping container “hotel” is a natural outgrowth of White’s long-time interest in preserving everything old.
Each of the six shipping containers that is currently available for around $250 a night is unique in its design. Wherever possible, local, “eclectic,” reused materials have been used. Some of those materials have come from Recycling the Past. “We are trying to showcase the different materials we have,” says White, adding that everything a guest sees in a container is for sale. Outfitted containers are also available for purchase and can be custom-built to an individual’s specifications. Containers homes can be shipped anywhere in the world.
“Our uniquely designed interiors are cladded with sustainably harvested wood from our farm in upstate New York, and reclaimed lumber from a distillery in Kentucky,” White says. “To capture the vast pastoral views and great natural light, windows were installed that were salvaged from a school in Philadelphia that was slated for demolition. We keep the funky vibe going with kitchen cabinet bases from a laboratory in Brooklyn, and for the counter tops we used old bowling alley floors from Texas. The floors are original to the containers.” Even the pool and hot tub were once a shipping container.
Goal is to be Off the Grid
To keep the environmental impact of the containers as low as possible, low-flow fixtures are used, indoor and outdoor lighting is LED, water is heated on demand, all soap products are organic, and guests will find soap and shampoo dispensers—not soap bars. White’s goal is for the entire property to be off-grid.
Additional shipping container lodgings will be added before the end of the year. White says he purchases them from various ports. “Containers are readily available anywhere in the country,” he says.
Also available to guests is a new house on the property. Recycling the Past doubles as the special events venue—The Round Top Ballroom.
White says business is consistent and especially busy around special events—the Round Top Antiques Fair, for example. “Our area has also become a bit of a wedding destination,” he says.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.