The House Made of Newspapers

If you happen to find yourself in Rockport, Mass., you might want to take some time to drive down Pigeon Hill Street and look for a sign that says “Paper House.” The Paper House began in 1922, when mechanical engineer Elis Stenman began building a small summer home. It began like any other home — with a timber frame and a shingle roof — but when it came to the walls, Stenman had a different idea. The walls of the Paper House are made up of — you guessed it……paper. Stenman used layer upon layer of old newspapers glued together — about an inch thick — and then finished them off with a nice coat of varnish. Everything inside the Paper House is made of paper — chairs, tables, bookshelves, curtains, and even a clock. The only thing made of wood is the piano, but it’s covered with paper to maintain uniformity. Needless to say, the fireplace is made of bricks, for obvious reasons. No one is sure what motivated Stenman to use newspapers. He completed the house in just two years and lived in it until 1930. It’s estimated that he used somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 newspapers to complete the task. After Stenman’s death in 1942, the house was turned into a museum.