Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel in Round Top Makes Recycling Chic
This Chic Hotel Is Made of Recycled Shipping Containers
By Lauren Jones
Photographs courtesy of Flophouze
With a population of 91, Round Top is one of the smallest towns in Texas. Three times a year, its sidewalks and pastoral backroads welcome of influx of visitors for Round Top Antiques Weeks, which hosts one of the largest antiques markets in the country. Yes, shopping is Round Top’s biggest draw but the town’s most unique lodging also has residents and visitors talking.
New Jersey native Matt White, whose architectural salvaging mecca Recycling the Past set up shop in Round Top with a 12,000-square foot space, has also made a name for himself in Texas as the proprietor of Flophouze, a one-of-a-kind hotel made of recycled shipping containers.
White has always been the creative type, and after studying containers for more than a decade, he decided to use them as the vessel for his hotel. “I was the kid who liked cardboard boxes and small spaces,” he says. “Growing up in the 1970s, you had what you had and made things works.”
Flophouze’s six individual units are great for solo travelers, families or large groups coming out for Antiques Week, and each are outfitted with recycled items (all for sale) such as windows taken from a school in Philadelphia to a WWII-era coffee table to countertops from an old Texan bowling alley to lumber that was sustainably harvested in upstate New York. Plus, the green tea beds with Matteo sheets get an A-plus for comfort.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and stayed in some of the worst places but also in some of the best hotels,” White says. “If you are going to pay to come stay in a shipping container, you better really like it.”
Flophouze sits on a charming property that is peppered with antique and architectural finds, a herd of black-and-white cattle and a lone horse. And since it’s in Texas where the weather can really heat up, White partnered with ModPools to install a pool, which is made of – what else? – a shipping container.
The Round Top Ballroom, Recycling the Past’s massive space, is held in a restored farmhouse and barn on land adjacent to the Flophouze property. It’s open to rent for large groups and holds plenty of treasures for antiquing fans to search through, like pillows made from vintage U.S. Postal Service mail bags, art from prolific German painter Peter Robert Kiel, whose work dates back to the 1950s, and even a taxidermied giraffe. Then there’s the pieces from cinema icon Patty Duke’s estate, plus an unnamed barn cat who happily naps on the many antique leather couches.
“Everything finds a new life here,” White says.
In addition to the main buildings on the Flophouze property, White aims to expand his hotel facilities even further by creating areas for cooking and chef demonstrations, a bath house and sample structures for those looking to purchase a shipping container home of their home.
“I try to ask every single person what I can do to improve and typically they have no response,” he says. “In a small town, and being in the business I am in, it’s important to keep a good name.”
At the end of the day, a stay at Flophouze is marked by earnest hospitality, the marvels of reuse and recycling and a chance to enjoy late-night conversations while gazing up at the stars and dreaming of your next great find.