Thinking outside the box

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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No, the Saluda Forge in Tryon isn’t starting a deep-sea port in its driveway, but you might have thought so if you saw what was delivered there last week. Early one morning a metal shipping container rolled off its transporter and settled with a thud into the dust. Yard art maybe? More storage space? Guess again.

Ever the innovator, Bill Crowell —owner of Saluda Forge and Iron Works—has a definite plan in mind for the oversized box, and it’s something he’s been thinking about for a long time.

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“I’ve always appreciated recycling, repurposing, and just re-thinking situations – finding solutions to problems and coming up with alternatives,” said Crowell. “I’ve been following the Tiny House Movement with lots of interest for a while now, and then one day came across a house that had been made from a metal shipping container. That just blew my mind and I was hooked!”

Crowell recently took a trip to Nashville, Tenn. to see a shopping center/office park completely made of recycled containers, and in the River Arts District in Asheville, N.C. he visited a restaurant made from 13 shipping containers. All this piqued his interest in the possibilities of what he could do with 170 square feet of CorTen steel. And then he went shopping at a container store – a large container store!

“This will be an experimental project for me,” he said. “This could be an office space, kid’s play house, or even a granny shack, but I’m thinking of turning this one into an art studio.”

Crowell plans to add insulation, heat and air, a small bathroom and a utility sink. There will be shelving for storage and plenty of workspace. Windows and french doors can be added depending on the type of studio and light needed, and that’s just the basics.

“This is where imagination starts,” said Crowell. “The adaptations could be endless. If anyone wants to watch a work in progress or has ideas and suggestions, please come on up the hill to the forge to take a look. I’m excited about this new project and its possibilities.”

Bill Crowell and his container project can be found at Saluda Forge on Ola Mae Way in Tryon. His number is 828-859-9278.


-Submitted by Monica Jones