Archive for July, 2011

The first civilian model I ever saw was on a movie set where I was cranking the teleprompter machine for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Hummer rolled up like an angular reptile, the door opened with a gust of smoke, and Arnold strode out munching away on his cigar. From that moment on, I decided that anyone who needed to drain that much gas from our limited supply was a nimrod narcissist.

Like the brontosaurus, Hummers are destined for extinction, although narcissists may remain a little longer. When international architect Ted Hyman sent me the news item that a Los Angeles-based design firm had created a reuse prototype for houses built from wrecked Hummers, my spirits soared.

Conversions that hum in the dark

Photo by Design Launches

Photo by Design Launches

The founding architects of HPlusF, Craig Hodgetts and HsinMing Fung, discovered that the sheet metal body shells of wrecked Hummers were still strong enough to use in the construction of … the HummerHaus!

Reuse architecture with an attitude

Photo by Motor Trend

Photo by Motor Trend

The HummerHaus is comprised of eight ex-Hummer body shells. Writers at Mother Nature Network report that the HummerHaus sleeps eight, features innovative soy-based insulation, roof-top solar power arrays, geothermal HVAC, and gray water recycling. In short, HPlusF took the most obvious symbol of waste and extravagance and converted it into the ultimate green home. Revenge is ours!

The monster walks among us

Unfortunately, you can still order yourself a Hummer (and when gas finally runs out, you can park it and make your own HummerHaus where it stands.) I found that the Hummer II is still available at Hummer.com. The sales pitch is exceptionally underwhelming:

“IN A WORLD WHERE SUVS HAVE BEGUN TO LOOK LIKE THEIR OWNERS, complete with love handles and mushy seats, the H2 SUV proves that there is still one out there that can drop and give you 20. And with a more spacious, comfortable interior and a host of standard features, the H2 strikes a perfect balance between interior comfort, on-road capability and off-road capability. $64,964.”

No doubt, someone will consider this a suitable HummerHaus:

Photo by Bleakday Blog

Photo by Bleakday Blog

I read the Yahoo report on the world’s skinniest house with a smile on my face. It wasn’t because the new skinny architecture is green and almost insanely tiny. It’s that skinny houses – green designs or otherwise – are anything but new. In the United States, there are Greenwich Village townhouses from the 19th Century that are skinnier than 10 feet wide. And in Europe, you’ll find skinny architecture galore, with narrow row-houses squeezed so tightly between neighbors that they look as if they’re part of the larger home.

Neo-skinny architecture

Photo by Yahoo

Photo by Yahoo

First, the home reported by Yahoo. Jakub Szczęsny of Warsaw has designed and constructed a home that is four-feet wide at the thickest end, narrowing to 28 inches. Originally among designs for an art installation, Szczęsny’s Keret House is likely the skinniest house in Poland, and perhaps the world.

Here’s what it looks like installed:

Photo by Arch Daily

Photo by Arch Daily

Small enough for you? The astronauts may have more room in the space station privy. Read more about the Keret House at Arch Daily.

A narrow escape

Photo by Winkworth

Photo by Winkworth

The British property services firm Winkworth has sold this skinny house in Shepard’s Bush, a suburb west of London. A converted hat shop, the house is but five-and-a-half feet wide. There are soak tubs wider than that. But the home rises to five levels, providing 1,000 square-feet of living space. Read more about it at Winkworth.

The mother-lode of skinny

Photo by Two Feathers

Photo by Two Feathers

Here in Brazil’s Madre de Deus, Helenita has fashioned a 3 x 9 foot, three-story home and wedged her way in. Actually, it’s pretty spacious. See interior photos as part of the skinny-home roundup at Web Urbanist.

(Bye for now: that’s all I could squeeze into the blog this week.)

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)

    Ben

  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.