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Converted Grain Bin Has Been Home For 30 Years
Kendell and Cindy Karlson raised four children in a grain bin and, for the most part, it’s been just like living in any other house, Karlson says. Karlson converted the bin in 1986 after working for his father putting up new grain bins. The house is inside a 36-ft. diameter bin that had a 18,000-bushel capacity.
  To prove to himself that a grain bin could be made livable, Karlson first turned a grain bin into a garage. “I built the garage first because I figured I couldn’t screw up a garage,” he says. “When the garage turned out okay, we decided to go ahead with the house.”
  The main floor of the home has a kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room, office and a pantry that also houses utilities and storage. The upstairs has three bedrooms, including a master bedroom with its own bathroom, and a second bathroom.
  The upstairs floor is supported by two steel beams. Access to the upstairs is by a spiral staircase that Karlson built. It has 3-ft. wide steps, which are twice as wide as many spiral staircases. “We’ve always been able to get up and down the steps, but moving furniture up and down has been a challenge at times,” says Karlson.
  Once the second-level floor was in place, Karlson framed the rooms with wood studs, then insulated the walls and installed sheet rock. The walls were framed to accommodate windows. The bin steel had to be cut and frames built to attach the windows. The original grain bin roof hasn’t required any maintenance or improvements.
  The house has been virtually trouble-free except for some woodpecker damage to the foam around windows.
  The house has always been climate- controlled because Karlson installed ventilation and heat ducts in the poured concrete floor prior to building the grain bin.
  Three of the Karlsons’ children are now adults and live elsewhere, but their 16-year-old daughter still lives with them in the house. “The kids have all had to answer the question, ‘What’s it like to grow up in a grain bin?’ And generally, they’ve just said ‘It’s just like growing up in any other house,’” Karlson says. One special feature not found in most houses is a fireman’s ladder between the second floor and the loft in the cone section. “There aren’t any windows up there, so the kids could sleep up there ‘until whenever,’” he says.
  Karlson says he’s happy to offer advice to people who might want to build their own home inside a grain bin.
   Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kendell Karlson, 66 E 300 S, Burley, Idaho 83318 (ph 208 312-2776).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1