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Gimme shelter: Preparing for the Big One

Everyone should have a respectful fear of natural or man-made catastrophes. Today you can choose from the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 to the everyday fear that a nut will set loose a home-made bomb in the supermarket. In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, people in my neighborhood built home bomb shelters or called in special contractors to handle the work. Some of us began building them anew after 911.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. While there’s no hard data on how well pre-fab or high-end shelters handle radiation, chemical or germ attacks in America, there are plenty of innovations if you’re moved to take action.

Get away from it all

Photo by Hardened Structures

Photo by Hardened Structures

When only military grade will do, consider the Genesis Series by Hardened Structures. The basic unit can be expanded to suit any size family or neighborhood group. Genesis is 100 percent waterproof and fully protected against high altitude and regular electromagnetic pulses, and the nuclear, biological and chemical air filtration system is top-grade. No, it doesn’t come with vinyl siding!

Do it yourself shelters

Photo by Good Inc.

Photo by Good Inc.

If you’re interested in surviving the apocalypse and are good with tools, find a wide range of considerations at Backwoods Home Magazine. You can read about ventilation, sanitation, food and water storage, medical issues and furnishings from writer-engineer Jeffrey Yago.

You’re not alone

Photo by Home Designing

Photo by Home Designing

After the dust settles, it’s good to know you won’t be the only ones to climb up, blinking at the sun. Families, people of varying spiritual persuasions, survivalists and cultists already have their underground condos built. Many are in Utah and Montana, but there are Europeans, too, who have their shelters.  Check out the décor and details at Good.

Mr. Noah, call your office

Photo by Lifeboat

Photo by Lifeboat

Ark I is a green, self-sustaining space station proposed to house escapees from a global catastrophe. You can read all about it at The Lifeboat Foundation.  The non-profit group claims the Ark will include humans as well as native plants and animals from Earth and will feature artificial gravity. Resources will come from asteroids and the moon if dependence on a poisoned Earth is impossible.

Make mine a double:

Photo by Wardomatic

Photo by Wardomatic

Living in planes, trains and automobiles

Americans are peripatetic by nature. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like somewhere else. We’re on the move, a trait that led to the creation of a vast mobile home and RV culture. My favorite children’s book was The Fabulous Flight of Peter and Gus. Peter has a shrinking disease and when he’s down to mere inches, his father builds a dome house that he straps to a seagull. Gus flies the boy around the world.

Airborne architecture

Photo by Yanko Design

Photo by Yanko Design

There’s no such thing as curb appeal when it comes to the Wolke 7, a flying home created by Swiss designer Timon Sager. Yes, it’s yet to rise from the drawing board, but one can dream…

Just walk away

Photo by N55

Photo by N55

The Walking House was created as a modular, solar-powered dwelling that simply picks up and moves when you’re ready. The windows are made of polycarbonate. A small greenhouse addition is optional for those who want to beat a path to self-dependence.

Hold the mail

Photo by Lovely Listing

Photo by Lovely Listing

I found this photo at Lovely Listing, but there was no accompanying text. Let’s make some up. “This home for recluse mariners was created out of whole cloth and dropped into the South Atlantic, whence the family poodle was swept overboard in a storm and paddled all the way to Galveston with a fabulous tan.”

The whole kit and caboose

Photo by Dornob

Photo by Dornob

Presidents and film stars used to have their own railroad cars chock full of sitting-room furnishings and lavish designs. How cool would it be to latch up with the Trans-Siberian railroad or hitch your home to a train across the Canadian Rockies?

Tom Joad’s ghost

Photo by Skipper Web

Photo by Skipper Web

Americans never simply began to live in cars; they just changed vehicles from covered wagons and buggies. I admire Steinbeck’s account of the destruction of farms and desperate migration in the Joad’s overstuffed 1926 Hudson flatbed. I’ve had moves that felt like this.

Be glad you have a home, wherever it may be!

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.