Man lives in renovated skip in London for £50 a month — and it's pretty smart inside

A renovated skip with wooden walls and semi circular roof and window above the walls of the skip
Harrison Marshall renovated a skip in London for £4,000 and lives in it for £50 a month as a protest against the rising house prices in the capital (Image credit: Harrison Marshall)

An artist has built a home for himself using a waste skip with plans to live in it for a year as a form of protest to the exorbitant cost of properties in the UK.

Harrison Marshall, aged 28, has renovated a skip on a grassy area in Bermondsey, in South London. He explains that this unconventional choice became necessary as he encountered difficulties in securing affordable accommodation in the central area near his workplace.

Harrison acknowledged that his move to a bin is "a statement, not a solution" to the "crazy" cost of living in the UK, but his unusual method of renovating a house has been noticed with his specially dedicated Instagram page: 'The Skip House' gaining more than 52,000 followers.

'Loophole to live in central London'

Harrison said he aims to live in the standard eight-yard skip for the rest of the year as a protest to the rising house prices.

"As was the case with thousands of people across the city and across the country, the prices had gone crazy. Rent was mad. And even if I found somewhere that was in my price zone, then there'd be 100 other people or so looking for that room."

This comes after it was revealed the average five-year fixed mortgage rate is now 6.06%, up from 3.81% a year ago. That's when he decided to look into living in a skip to see if it was possible. He says it was a "loophole to live in central London for next to no money".

Although he warns this was being done as a protest rather than encouragement for others to follow suit. He stated: “No-one should have to live in a skip.”

“That’s definitely not the way that I want this project to go. It’s more of a statement."

£4,000 timber frame for 'my own tiny little house'

Harrison came up with an inventive solution to the problem by investing £4,000 in constructing a wooden hood with a curved roof and attaching it to a builder's skip.

His innovative dwelling consists of a typical 3.6m x 1.8m builder's skip outfitted with an insulated timber frame and a barrel roof. He was allowed to use the land by an arts charity.

"The skip provided me the kind of opportunity to make my own tiny little house," Harrison said.

This project is the latest project of the 'Skip Gallery', a public art initiative founded by Catherine Borowski and Lee Baker. Skip Gallery collaborates with emerging artists to host exhibitions in unique pop-up spaces, typically utilising skips.

The 'Skip House' makes the most of its limited space

For a skip it is a surprise what the renovation was able to include for such limited space.

The skip is positioned in a small piece of land that is accessed from a garden path that leads to a small wooden ladder for entry to the 'home'.

The house doesn't include plumbing for a toilet so a portable lavatory sits next to the skip and Harrison showers at work or the gym. He uses a neighbour's hose pipe for any other requirements.

Inside the skip there's a small kitchen with a cooker, shelves and a 'tiny fridge'. Access to the bedroom is through narrow stairs, which has wooden storage to make the most of the limited space, and there's a small window in there as well.

The classic yellow container, typically used for builder's waste, bears the label "Skip House" in bold black letters. It is unknown what Harrison intends to do after his year-long stint living inside the skip — perhaps either continuing to live there,  airbnb-ing it or reverting it back to its original skip usage.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.