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Round grain bin as Madison County’s budget prairie style home

Bob Quinn works farm radio (“The Big Show”), was raised by farmers and owns a small farm so it wasn’t such a leap to convert a grain bin into a retirement home. “Basically we wanted some living quarters. We looked at a log cabin, but I wanted to have it so it looked like it was part of the farm.”

After reporting on the converted grain bin homes (“Safe T Homes”) that Iowa-based Sukup Manufacturing had sent to Haiti for earthquake victims, Quinn was sold on the idea. “They figured out how to put doors and windows in that grain bin and I decided, you know what, I’m going to do it on a bigger scale.”

Quinn ordered a 36-feet-wide (20,000-bushel) grain bin to be delivered to his farm in Madison County. He and his wife, Ann, chose where to cut the doors and windows and where to lay the concrete foundation. After the grain bin workers had installed the concentric series of rings that make up the structure, the couple finished the job (with the help of plumbers, electricians and their carpenter son-in-law).

With the exception of the doors and windows, from the outside, it looks like any other grain bin omnipresent on midwestern farms. On the inside, the couple chose not to erect walls and to leave it looking as if you’d stepped inside an empty bin. To provide space for spray-foam insulation, they added a second roof and a second skin (made from corrugated roofing material), creating a Thermos-bottle effect. The interior is decorated true to the genre: the kitchen is a recycled farm kitchen; the bathroom is hidden behind a sliding barn door and the balcony railings are hog panels.

  • Julie

    I’m interested in doing a bin home. Any advice on getting started with that. Thank you.