Okay, that last one is a fib. We chose corrugated steel because it was inexpensive to buy, quick to install, and never needs painting. Okay, that's another fib. Those practical things are valid, but to be honest, we thought it was sexy as well as cheap—just like me, as I never tire of reminding my wife.

When people wonder why anyone would build a house like ours, they rarely consider the many advantages of a home that looks like a lunar research facility. For instance, our house goes great with the satellite dish. And when the tax assessor comes by to produce a valuation, we're sitting pretty, since it doesn't take much convincing for him to conclude that nobody in his right mind would buy the place.

Because we're architecture victims without money, we often find ourselves perverting various honest items from the hardware store for purposes other than their maker intended. "You want a bunch of electrical conduit for a curtain rod?" the guy at Lowe's asked in some puzzlement. "Why not go over to the aisle where they have the actual curtain rods and just buy one of them?" Because I need one 60 feet long, and it has to be in keeping with the general theme of naked steel.

My office, which is inside a grain bin (obviously), is a case of this misappropriation writ large. I ordered it by phone from a company out in Kansas, and the helpful fellow who worked there asked if I'd be using it to store grain. I hesitated, ashamed of the effete purpose to which I'd be putting this burly round building. "Just a little whole wheat bread at lunchtime," I said at last. "Does that qualify?"
Ask TOH users about Home & Real Estate

Contribute to This Story Below