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In­stead of corn or soy­beans, this unique farm­house is fill­ing up with mem­o­ries.


Meet a fam­ily who turned a grain bin into a cozy house.

The place that Ken­dell Karl­son’s fam­ily calls home is cir­cu­lar and 31 feet tall at its peak. “Some peo­ple mis­tak­enly think it’s a silo,” says Ken­dell, who lives near Bur­ley, Idaho. “It’s a grain bin.”

The Karl­sons’ round house is so renowned lo­cally that they have re­ceived mail even with­out their street ad­dress on the en­ve­lope.

“Just for fun, my sis­ter-in-law in Salt Lake City mailed us a let­ter ad­dressed to the Grain Bin House in Bur­ley, Idaho,” says Ken­dell’s wife, Cindy. “She didn’t write our names on it, and it got here.”

Ken­dell built the en­ergy-ef­fi­cient home in 1986 while work­ing for his fa­ther’s grain bin in­stal­la­tion busi­ness. A farmer who lost his crop in a hail­storm was un­able to pay for his grain bin, so Ken­dell had to dis­man­tle it.

“We couldn’t re­sell it, so I put it on my prop­erty for a garage. While putting it up, I thought it would be fun to build a house from a grain bin. Dad thought I was nuts.”

Ken­dell got a loan, es­ti­mat­ing it would cost around 40 per­cent less to build a home from a grain bin than to build a con­ven­tional house. Next, he and his co-work­ers put to­gether a 36-foot-di­am­e­ter bin, us­ing a crane to lift and place it onto a con­crete pad. It took about a year to fin­ish the three-story, 2,400 square foot house.

With a gal­va­nized steel ex­te­rior, the low-main­te­nance house never needs paint and will never rust. In­side, the house looks mostly con­ven­tional, but it has shorter wall sec­tions to con­form to the cir­cu­lar shape of its shell. “We tell peo­ple that it’s about the same as liv­ing in a square house,” Ken­dell says.

A spi­ral stair­case leads to four bed­rooms on the sec­ond floor. An up­per level loft can be reached via a fire­man’s lad­der. As their kids grew, Ken­dell added a fam­ily room and bed­rooms off the kitchen.

The Karl­sons cher­ish their abode. “We like liv­ing here be­cause it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” says Ken­dell. “It was a chal­lenge to build, some­thing I wanted to do just for my­self.”

Ken­dell turned steel grain bins into a house and garage.

Cindy, Ken­dell and Ko-Ko love their home.

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