2009 Southern Home Awards | Best Before and After
This Quonset hut underwent a dramatic makeover from basic barracks to home-sweet-home.
Quonset Hut: After
Although owners and architects Michael and Jane Frederick originally considered leveling the old barracks, they chose adaptive reuse after learning what the building meant to the surrounding community.
Quonset Hut: Before
While watching any war movie or riding by your local armory, you’ve probably seen one of these corrugated metal structures. Named for the place they were originally manufactured during WWII―Quonset Point, Rhode Island―the huts could easily be shipped anywhere and put together by unskilled labor.
The original 25- x 48-foot structure was erected by a local WWII veteran who had grown accustomed to makeshift living during the war. For the next 40 years, the hut saw numerous inhabitants come and go. When the Fredericks bought the property, the enclosure (as pictured here) contained three bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, a pecky cypress great room, and two baths.
The home’s new formal entry, part of an addition, is a two-story, screened stair hall that introduces materials such as concrete and metal, which are also used in the revamped hut.
We also get our first peek at the Fredericks' clever use of space―a friendly alcove seating area.
Modern Dining Room
One of the features that sold the Fredericks on renovating the curious dwelling was its barrel-vaulted ceiling, which is not interrupted by walls.
The space is perfectly suited for their modern dining room suite, and the lofty ceiling allows room for tall built-in bookshelves and high-impact art.
Sunny Screened Porch
A much-needed addition, this screened porch sits just beyond the breakfast room. Its roof, consisting of translucent plastic panels attached to wood framing, mimics the Quonset hut’s roof and provides both natural sunlight and views of the area's live oaks and marshlands.
Jane and Michael’s innovative use of unusual nooks and crannies is most evident in the tucked-in library. Other elements that make innovative use of the available space include new closets and a powder room for guests.
The industrial, prefab nature of the Quonset hut prompted the homeowners to use corrugated metal panels (available in most building-supply stores) on the kitchen island and surrounding cabinetry.
But the sleek room is anything but aloof. Says Michael, "A wonderful kitchen that's big enough to have friends and family nearby while a meal's being prepared is the difference between a good house and a great one."
- View this kitchen and more in Style Guide: Kitchens