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Living Quarters Built Inside Quonset Building
Yvonne and Patrick Taylor put up a Quonset building to use for storage but ended up living in it after converting half the building to living quarters.
"When we retired, we intended to travel for much of the year, staying in trailer parks and being at home part time," recalls Pat Taylor. "Yvonne just wanted a place to store stuff back in Oklahoma, but I wanted a house to come home to. We compromised and built a house inside the storage building."
Taylor gives all the credit to his wife for designing and doing the finish work on the house. Born and raised on a dairy farm, she learned carpentry and woodworking from her dad.
"She would sketch out what we needed to do, and the next day we would work on it," he says.
A plumber friend helped run water pipe. Pretty much everything else was done by the Taylors, starting with the unique walls.
"The house is really a freestanding building inside the Quonset," explains Taylor. "Yvonne designed the side walls to match the curve of the Quonset ribs and then squared them off inside, using the space between as storage closets."
With the Quonset ribs for a roof, only weatherproof paper was placed over the rafters. Stud walls and rafters were fully insulated and then finished off on the inside. Every effort was made to get as close to the inside roof of the Quonset as possible without touching it.
The Quonset building is 45 by 72 ft. The living quarters take up about half of it with a living room, master bedroom, kitchen, dining area, bath and utility room all on the lower level. A loft area extends over all but part of the living room and includes a bedroom, office and sewing room. All together it totals around 1,400 sq. ft.
All trim work, storage units and stairs and banister were built with home-sawn cedar. "I picked up 70 8-ft. logs for less than $100 at an auction. We had them sawed by a custom mill that came to the farm and bought a planer to prepare them for trim."
The entire process, including cutting and laying tile across the kitchen, bath and utility areas as well as part of the living room and building a large deck outside the living area, took about two years. During that time, they also traveled for months on end with a 5th wheel trailer.
Taylor credits his wife for all the fine woodwork and built-ins, in addition to designing the angle cuts for the shell. He considers himself a rough carpenter, glad to follow her direction.
Once they finished the inside, they laid a mortared stone wall against the end of the living quarters to a point about a foot above the windows. They then laid a mortared stone wall for a patio, filled it with dirt and sand and finished it off with 2-ft. square tile they had gradually made over a period of months. Taylor would mix the cement and fill two molds. Before it had fully dried, his wife would work a colored powder into the surface to give it a brick red look. As the tiles dried they would be stacked, and the molds refilled. More 2-ft. tall walls were placed around the sides of the Quonset to hold flowerbeds.
"When we look back at it, we marvel at what we did without knowing what was really possible," says Taylor. "Not including our own labor, we figure it cost $30,000 to $35,000. That includes the Quonset and $10,000 in concrete for the slab."
One other thing the Taylors did that was unique was to end their driveway at the garage door on the storage/garage end of the Quonset. He says it is fun to bring visitors in from the garage to the living area of the building.
"They're always surprised," he says. "Sometimes people will say they stopped by, but didn't see the house. We just tell them to come back, and we'll show them."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Yvonne and Patrick Taylor, P.O. Box 545, Perkins, Okla. 74059 (ph 405 372-2193).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #6