Real estate prices may have plummeted, but that doesn’t mean all of us can snatch up the home (or getaway cottage) of our dreams. Here’s a budget option for the other 99%: Convert an old grain bin into a house. (Check out some examples at Mother Earth News.) They’re sturdy and cheap, and the metal structure can be recycled when it’s outlived its use. Not fully sold on life-in-a-bin? Well, you’ll soon be able to give it a trial run at Silo Stay, a cluster of grain bins fitted out as a nine-unit hotel in Little River, New Zealand.
Silo Stay is a family venture: Stuart Wright-Stow dreamt up the concept and hired his son and daughter, Pippin and Ella of F3 Design, to execute it. The initial plan consists of eight single units, (each with a kitchen and living area on the bottom floor and a queen-size bed on the top), a family suite, and a manager’s quarters (consisting of two silos connected by a glass-enclosed hallway). Contrary to previous reports, the designers are not recycling disused silos but rather proprietary units customized to their specifications.
The hotel also has a fair share of eco-fixings: Each unit will be cooled by natural ventilation through the doors and roof latch and heated by a gravity-fed wood-pellet boiler. The peak has a glazed lid to give guests a glimpse of the night sky from bed.
The designers see other potential applications for their revamped bins. According to their press release: "These units can easily become inner city offices, batches for secluded hideaways, sleep-outs, information centres…or anything else that requires a compact vessel to accommodate the many needs of both the commercial and domestic sectors." Sure, though we’d advise against depositing these suckers in places prone to cyclones.