PASO ROBLES, CALIF.—Open since June, the luxury boutique Geneseo Inn in Paso Robles, Calif., is one of a number of lodging establishments in the United States built using steel shipping containers—in this case shipping containers from the Port of Los Angeles. Walter Scott Perry of Ecotech Design was the architect of the eight B&B units that sit eight feet above the vines on Cass Winery’s 145 acres of vineyard. The inn also includes a reception area.
There is no parking lot for visitors to Geneseo Inn. Each B&B sits above covered parking and the surrounding vineyards. This was done to help maintain the idyllic setting amidst the vineyards. The shipping containers sit in clusters around a 60-foot live oak tree. In total, 20 shipping containers were used in conjunction with conventional construction and local building materials. The project was done in collaboration with the fabricator, Crate Modular, and the winery’s co-owners, Steve Cass and Ted Plemons.
“The owners’ intent was to do something unique,” Perry says. “They wanted the inn to have a lasting impression on the guests who stay there.”
A First for the Area
Each shipping container is 8 feet wide, 8 feet high, and 20 feet long. “Lifting the containers eight feet off the ground was innovative,” Perry says. “We had to comply with the building code. Nobody had done this in this county before.”
It was a year ago that the containers were erected. The interiors were finalized six months ago. Two containers make up each B&B. In between each of the two containers is a cathedral ceiling element that stands 12 feet high. It includes windows that allow for ventilation and natural daylight. “During the day you do not need interior lighting,” Perry says.
A highly efficient mini-split system heats each B&B in winter and cools in the summer. It is placed on a wall and does not require ductwork. “It heats or cools in three to four minutes,” Perry says. Energy-efficient LED lighting was used throughout. Fire-resistant cement board was used on the outside of each B&B and most of the interior flooring and ceiling consists of recycled wood from barns or recycled metal.
Guests staying at the inn can participate in a farm education program, vineyard tours, wine seminars, cooking classes, beekeeping, and other activities.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.