WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn Builds Grain Bin House

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ST. CHARLES, Iowa -- Bob Quinn covers farming for a living on WHO Radio. Now the West Des Moines resident has built a home in the spirit of Iowa agriculture out of a grain bin.

Quinn got the idea after Sukup Manufacturing built small grain bins to be taken to Haiti to use for housing after the devastating earthquakes hit that country.

“We wanted to have a house here on the farm that was characteristic of a farm,we looked at a cabin," said Quinn.

After covering the Sukup grain bin story, Quinn got the idea to try a grain bin as a house.

So a huge 20,000 bushel grain bin went up on Quinn’s acreage west of St. Charles. The structure is actually built like a Thermos bottle, said Quinn. A second steel roof is built under the top roof, and two foot of insulation was put in. Another interior wall was put inside the outer wall, and filled with insulation.

The home has a loft area, which covers half of the inside of the structure. Overall it has a very high ceiling over the living room. Grain bin steps used to get to the outside of a grain bin, are installed as a way to get to the loft.

The round structure also makes for some interesting living dynamics. Quinn said the light bounces around from an exterior yard light, through the window and off the walls, illuminating the inside at night.

“If you’re having a conversation on one side close to the wall the person on the opposite side can hear just like he’s standing next to you,” said Quinn.

Quinn credits his wife Ann for going along with the idea. “She’s been a pretty good sport about it,” said Quinn. “Everything we’ve done here is kind of an experiment.”

The Quinns spend weekends in the house, but hope to be living there after retirement.


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