A House Made Out Of Newspaper – The Paper House

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Wait until you see this unusual house made completely out of newspaper called The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts.  It is not a green house or re-purposed house of today.  The Paper House was built in 1924 by Mr. Elis F. Stenman who was a mechanical engineer that designed machines that made paper clips.  He started building his summer home out of paper as a hobby and it is still standing.  There is a long interview on The Paper House website with his grandniece, who now runs The Paper House that is open for tours.

The Paper House framework, floors, and roof are all wood.  The walls are made of pressed paper about an inch thick made by many layers of newspaper, glue, and varnish on the outside making it water-proof.  But wait, he did not stop there, Mr. Elis Stenman also made furniture out of half-inch thick small rolls of paper cut to various sizes and glued or nailed together.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Flickr misterbisson

Bewilderment, wonder, and wacky house made of paper!  Is it any wonder there are daily tours?  A hobby that turned into newspaper hoarding or OCD would be today’s headlines.  The patience it took to accomplish this is maddening.

Per the interview, the porch was not an original structure of the house and was added in the early 30s to protect the bottom of the Paper House walls.  The outside walls have been re-varnished over the years, but the inside walls have not been re-varnished.  Re-varnishing causes the paper to be a darker color and they like the lighter color because you can actually read the newspapers. 

Paper House exterior walls made out of paperPaperhouse rockport.com

Under the porch exterior of the house walls.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Flickr misterbisson

Take your time to digest the exterior wall details.  Mr. Elis F. Stenman’s grandniece, Edna Beaudoin, who runs the Paper House now as her Mom did before her, states that he mixed up his own glue with basic flour and water and would add sticky substances like apple peels.

piano covered in newspaper in Paper HousePaperhouse rockport.com

Piano is covered with rolls of paperFlickr misterbisson

Inside the Paper House is a real piano that Mr. Stenman simply covered with paper rolls.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Paperhouse rockport.com

The Paper House website calls this The Large Room.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Paperhouse rockport.com

The Sun porch.  All the furniture is basically paper, usable, and heavy.

sun porch in The Paper HouseFlickr misterbisson

The octagon shape and pattern on the table and stool and the pattern is repeated four times on the bench.A House Made Out of Newspaper - The Paper HouseFlickr misterbisson

The sign on the desk says “This desk gives accounts of Col. Charles Lindbergh’s Flight”  This must refer to being able to actually read the newspapers.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Flickr misterbisson

Close up photo of the newspaper curtains made by one of the relatives, Mrs. Stenman.

A House Made Out Of Newspaper - The Paper House Flickr misterbisson

The Fireplace

A House Made Out Of Newspaper  fireplaceFlickr misterbisson

The fireplace mantle close up shows the little pieces of paper log rolls cut into different sizes.  Mr. Stenman was the original Mr. DIY!

Clock in Paper HousePaperhouse rockport.com

This grandfather clock has newspapers from each 48 states in it with the state capitols you can read all the way down the front of the clock.  At the time of making the clock in the 30s, there was no Alaska or Hawaii yet.

Edna Beaudoin said her grand-uncle “wanted to see what would happen to the paper.”  You just never know what is going to happen once you start tinkering around with something.  Next thing you know, you’ve made a house out of paper and all the furniture inside of it too!

Photo images for The Paper House and info via Flickr misterbisson and The Paper House

Expect to be surprised when you see the Dollhouse.

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  1. I think you are right Sarah. I read the towns people and friends saved their newspapers for him. I was just thinking that large newspaper companies could build a house out of paper for advertisement.

  2. Mr. Stenman had a curious mind and has invented something timeless. The place needs one of your dolls that has glasses on reading a newspaper.

  3. That is truly amazing! What a great piece of history – and so wonderful to see that it is still in the family! Those paper rolls sure held up well over the decades – I think this guy was on to something! We should be paying attention! This is the ultimate in building with recycled materials!

  4. Wow! Some people really dedicate their lives to completing a vision. The number of hours to craft the home and the furniture must be staggering.

    Thanks for sharing this unusual residence with us!

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