Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lustron Homes

Note: Originally published at the 2Modern Design Talk blog.

How would you like never having to paint your house again, inside or out? Well, this would be possible if you built your home out of steel or if you possessed one of the many classic Lustron homes still existing around the US.

Created by Carl Strandlund in 1947 to help alleviate a critical housing shortage, the Lustron home was different. Meant to be durable and maintenance-free homes manufactured as easily as cars on the assembly line and in record time, they were touted as the perfect home. Text taken from their brochure states:

You have your choice of exterior color combinations - all in non-glossy porcelain enameled steel which will never weather or stain, never need repainting, redecorating, or reroofing. The Lustron Home is decay-proof, vermin proof, rustproof, termite-proof. The construction itself acts as protection against lightning. The porcelain enamel, fused to steel at high temperatures, will take a hard blow without chipping or marking, will never fade, crack or peel. And the design and color will be as pleasing to your grandchildren as they are to you today.

Sounds perfect, doesn't it? So how come everyone did not grow up in one of these? Was it because, they only had so much variety and people didn't like being limited to Pink, Tan, Yellow, Aqua, Blue, Green and Gray as house colors? Or perhaps it feel weird landscaping a metal house with growing trees and flowers?

It turns out that politics was actually the cause of Lustron's downfall, but how many of you would have felt comfortable living in one of these? Here are interior shots of storage solutions for the bedroom and living rooms:

Here is a website from a former owner of a Lustron home, who lived in one for over sixteen years and his thoughts on what he missed during that experience.

You can locate other Lustron homes through the Lustron Connection, a great community website devoted to these dwellings and Lustron Preservation, which has a location database.

Here are a few more great links on Lustron homes:
A series of articles on the homes from the Old House Web.
The complete text from an official Lustron home brochure.

No comments: