Hatteberg's People - Debbie Glassberg

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Originally posted on March 21, 2010

On Hatteberg’s People, Debbie Glassberg is a Kansas City industrial designer with world-class experience. She’s designed toys for Hasbro and Mattel and done experimental designs and now is taking on something larger, something you can live in.

On ships and docks all over the world we see them, metal shipping containers being hoisted off ships and onto rail cars. Seldom, though, do we think of those containers as a house.

“The more I’m here, the more I know we did good on this house and we are going to love living here. It’s going to be great,” Glassberg said.

Industrial designer Debbie Glassberg sees homes where others see metal boxes.

She has designed a home, made from those metal containers and placed it in the aging Kansas City neighborhood of Brookside.

“You don’t know you are in a container, it’s so easy to do with these,” Glassberg said.

The home is made from five shipping containers It’s a little over 2,000 square feet and is in the final stages of completion

“It looks like a great big long hallway, but we don’t have our furniture in here yet,” Glassberg said.

First, Debbie gives a quick tour

“Right in the middle of the house, the center, is the kitchen, and if you come over here you can see that the kitchen is just a galley kitchen. We didn’t have a lot of space because we are using just the container space, so on one side we have made more of a shallow counter. We have all energy efficient appliances. You can also open the window in the kitchen to serve your guests outside,” Glassberg said.

The house doesn’t have that container feel. It’s wide and airy with some floor to ceiling windows. Then, upstairs she continues the tour.

“This is the master bedroom. These are two containers, nine and a half foot containers that are joined together. And this side of the room we made a his and hers closet. Its designed very simply, with a box here with a rail and a box here with a rail but it is really sufficient for hanging stuff. And this is where we created one nice piece of furniture to hold all our other things,” Glassberg said.

Then there is the second floor master bath with beautiful green imported tile and unusual furnishings.

“It’s not finished yet, but we have a double sink, we have a bathtub and we also have a shower,” Glassberg said.

Before she decided to build the house, her industrial design experience included working for large toy companies. She created toys with Mattel and Hasbro that were best-sellers.

“I think I’ve always been driven. I’m driven by design. It’s important that I create simpler ways and better ways for people to live their life and to have a little less maintenance,” Glassberg said.

The container home is green with geothermal heat, soy foam insulation, bamboo flooring, and LED lighting. Debbie’s father owns a factory in China and Debbie lived there for three years. She says, she was able to negotiate with individual Chinese manufactures for all aspects of the interior of the home cutting thousands of dollars from the cost.

On the second floor adjacent to the deck is a rooftop edible garden.

“So, growing your own food and picking it just when you are ready to eat it - there is nothing better than that,” Glassberg said.

The home isn’t quite finished, but soon she’ll occupy this two-story container home as an example of what can be done with them. She believes that smaller versions of these would be perfect for third-world countries and for people displaces my natural disaster.

“I strive to be an inspiration to others so I want to be doing good things in any community that I live in, Glassberg said. It’s feeling really good. It feels right.”


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