Dragons, container homes, and a dogged determination

Christoph Kesting was featured in an article in Guelph Today.  Reporter Rob O’Flanagan tells about Christoph’s recent professional developments, his appearance on CBC television’s The Dragon’s Den. Read on to find out how his container home business continues to respond to local demand.

Small home visionary Christoph Kesting expanding business

Christoph Kesting has faced the dragons. He came away a bit scorched, but fired up about pursuing his dream of helping people in Ontario, particularly a younger generation, gain access to an affordable, sustainable home made from a steel box.  

His episode on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, where he pitches his FoxBox container home idea in hope of attracting investment, airs in the next few weeks. Kesting is back living in the Guelph area after a brief sojourn in Vancouver, and has started his company KestingHomes. 

Kesting is well-known in Guelph and area for his dogged determination to build a container home business and culture.

More than just a business enterprise, Kesting said he is eager to foster a strong sense of community around the idea of building sustainable, affordable homes from shipping containers.

“It’s gone from being focused on the product to more about the process,” he said in an interview. “It’s the way in which we are helping people access the market, and the joy of building.”

A few years ago, Kesting embarked on a project that would take about three years to complete. He sold his home in Guelph, used the proceeds to purchase a shipping container, found a place near Guelph’s downtown to set it down, and began gradually turning it into a living space.

Steel is heavy, and building a home, any home, takes many hands. Kesting turned to friends to help with the heavy lifting and fine details. Over time, he said Monday, a small, close-knit community of workers grew up around the project.

The project’s purpose, he found, exceeded the building of a practical, affordable, environmentally-sensitive living space. It also had a strong philosophical and human element. It brought people together for a higher purpose.

After catching some flack from the city over building permit regulations, Kesting found a taker for the home in Peterborough, where it was moved. Kesting also moved — to Vancouver for about a year. But he is now back in the Guelph-area.

What emerged from first building experience was a how-to book entitled “How to Build a Container Home.” It has done well. A blog on the process also attracted a lot of followers. The Globe and Mail did a feature on him. And then he got on television.

Kesting recently landed himself a spot on CBC Television’s Dragons’ Den, a popular show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in hope of attracting investment from a group of intense investors.

He said he was both encouraged by the investors, and eaten alive by them. On the episode, Kesting pitches the idea of a do-it-yourself container home kit for under $50,000. The kit includes the shipping container and all that is needed to build “the most carbon neutral container home in the world.”

Click here to read the full article on Guelph Today.