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.