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Rockport Paper House Is Most Ambitious Papercraft Ever

Illustration for article titled Rockport Paper House Is Most Ambitious Papercraft Ever

Back in 1922, a mechanical engineer began building his summer home in Rockport, Massachusetts, out of paper. Originally used just as insulation, Elis Stenman soon began to make furniture and decorations out of paper as well. What resulted was Rockport's Paper House, which is remarkably still standing after 80 years. Stenman's grandniece is now in charge of the house, which was turned into a museum in the 1930s.


The wall material, roughly an inch thick, is made out of pressed newspapers, glue and varnish-which keeps it waterproof. After finishing the walls in 1924, Stenman began using paper to build things around the house. He would roll newspapers up until they were roughly half an inch thick, and then cut them, glue them and nail them to create one-of-a-kind pieces of papercraft.

All furniture in the house is made out of paper, except for the brick fireplace and the insides of the piano. Stenman's grandniece told local reporters she had no idea why her granduncle decided to embark on the project, but quipped that it could have been because paper was cheap—everyone gave him the materials for his house for free. [The Contaminated]

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@Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I don't know about the varnish, but the glue probably predates the chemical glues we use now and is most likely good ol' horse hooves.

But paper is dubiously green because of all the processing it went through in the bleaching process, particularly back in the day. Making white paper or newsprint is a lot more environmentally friendly these days.