Sunday, September 28, 2008

Warning: Houses in Photo are Smaller Than They Appear

I know people in NYC live in tiny spaces, but people come to Binghamton for cheap housing and room to stretch out a bit in big old turn-of-the-century homes. So this new house that is going up a few blocks from our house, at only 220 square feet, is really, REALLY crazy. Note: This photo shows the house in its ACTUAL SIZE.

Our 1.3 mile drive to my office takes us past a site that had long been home to a neighborhood eyesore: the polluted corner lot that was the longtime home to a dry-cleaners. I'm not sure why this stretch of street is so grubby- possibly the toxicity of the old dry cleaners?- but I routinely walk past trash that has included . . . a dirty diaper. YUK.

The dry cleaning biz had been closed/abandoned for years, and the City of Binghamton finally got some state funds to tear the place down. That left the site - located in a once-nice stretch of Seminary Avenue that has become pretty run-down- bare and ready for development. The only problem is . . . no one is building any new housing for miles.

So along comes a guy- apparently an unemployed sculptor who mostly lives with his mom not too far away - who decided he's going to build his own house. Keep in mind- he's not a construction guy or a contractor or anything. He's a surfer-looking guy who I noticed early one morning as I jogged by. It struck me as odd because he was the only man on the construction site. It looked like he was driving a rent-an-excavator or something- he just didn't match the big yellow piece of machinery he was using to work the lot.

As weeks have passed, the foundation has been poured, the wood framing and plywood walls have gone up, and the roof is starting to take shape. I had planned to do my own research and blog about it, but there was a front-page article in the local paper today that did all my work for me: apparently the guy bought the lot from the city for $5,000 and spent another $8,000 in materials. He did almost all the work himself. How did he learn how to build a one-man-living-hut? The library!

Yup! He credits the book "Do-It-Yourself Housebuilding" with teaching him everything he needed to know. Here are some more photos. Two hundred twenty feet. Cannot wait to see the finished product. Too damn funny.

No comments: