Disney_Den via Flickr// CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Disney_Den via Flickr// CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Massachusetts Home Built with 100,000 Newspapers

Disney_Den via Flickr// CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Disney_Den via Flickr// CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There are lots of ways to recycle old newspapers—you can use them to wrap a gift, line your bird cage, or build the walls of a house. 

The latter is what Elis F. Stenmen did when he began constructing the frame of his summer home in 1922. As a hobby, the mechanical engineer—whose day job was designing machines that made paper clips—decided to build the walls of his Rockport, Massachusetts house from newspaper. With help from friends and family, Stenmen collected approximately 100,000 newspapers over the next 20 years. The 1-inch walls are made from 215 layers of newspaper that were glued together using flour, water, and apple peels and sealed with a layer of varnish on the outside. 

Laura via Flickr //CC BY-NC 2.0

Stenmen initially chose newspaper because he figured it would make good insulation, but his success with the walls inspired him to take the project one step further. He used tightly rolled-up newspapers to construct functioning chairs, tables, lamps, and a grandfather clock for the inside. The only pieces not made entirely from newspapers are the piano, which is still completely covered in them, and the mantle above the brick fireplace

Disney_Den via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Besides being a quirky piece of architecture, the “Paper House” is also a monument to early 20th century history. The writing desk is made from stories related to Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, and the radio cabinet displays coverage of Herbert Hoover’s presidential campaign. On the grandfather clock guests will find mastheads from the capital city newspapers of what were, at the time, all 48 states.

Patrick Donovan via Flickr //CC BY-NC 2.0

Stenmen passed away in 1942, and the Paper House has since fallen under the care of his grandniece, Edna Beaudoin. It’s open to visitors every day from 10 am to 5 pm during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Admission is $1.00 for children and $1.50 for adults, which is a whole dollar less than an issue of The New York Times

[h/t: The Paper House]

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]


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