Gabriela Calvo and Marco Peralta decided to build their dream house in San Jose, Costa Rica, but they wanted to do it debt-free. Rather than buy into cheap public housing, they snagged two discarded storage containers and let architect Benjamin Garcia work his magic.

The structure Mr. Garcia built for the couple is dazzling. It has full-length glass windows, an internal open design, and cross-ventilation so efficient they don't need air conditioning. Best of all, it only cost $40,000 to build. A steal by anyone's measurement. [Arch Daily; Images from Andres Garcia Lachner]