Marshmallows anyone? Minnesota home made of polyurethane foam

image from: http://ensculptic.com

This unique home in Minnetrista, Minnesota is officially named “Ensculptic“. I don’t know why the architects of these visual delights always choose cerebral, technical or Greek inspired names. If I ever designed a house like this I would call it “The Big Puffy” or “Toe Fungus” or something like that.

image from: http://ensculptic.com

Built in 1969, this cool house features two bedrooms and three bathrooms. It was for sale as recently as 2010, but I can’t find information on if it sold or not.
The potato-colored abode is actually more light and airy (and marshmallow-like) on the interior:

image from: http://ensculptic.com

image from: http://ensculptic.com

Everything inside is curving and organic – clearly influenced by the funky, futuristic space-aged design of the 1960′s…

image from: http://ensculptic.com

I could totally live in a house like this!

image from: zillow.com

I really can’t explain to you what polyurethane foam is because it’s complicated chemistry and I, well, didn’t do too well in those classes in high-school. Suffice it to say that it is a weird combination of unpronounceable chemicals.
They whip it up in a factory and it is used for all kinds of things like skate board wheels, garden hoses, and carpet underlay.
According to the Wikipedia page on polyurethane “Students at Yale University have discovered a fungus that could eat polyurethane“. So perhaps “Fungus Shy” would be a more appropriate name for this house?
In any case, this entire house (with a couple of minor exceptions like the frame) was built with polyurethane foam.

image from: http://ensculptic.com

image from: http://ensculptic.com

Since the house is so sculptural and has no straight walls, it is very difficult to tell how many square feet the home actually has. The realtor who had it listed in 2010 guesstimated about 4,000 square feet.

image from: http://ensculptic.com

This home has been described as “cave-like” but it truly feels more cloud-like to me. Caves are darker and heavier and stonier. This place seems like it could float away.

image from: http://ensculptic.com

I’ve featured cave dwellings in the past here on House Crazy (see here) but this foam home is definitely more cream-puff than the dense dark chocolate-iness of a cave house.

image from: http://ensculptic.com

(It seems the Siamese cat is doing the house tour for us).
On the house’s website – http://ensculptic.com – there are tons and tons of photos but no commentary so I can’t tell you much more about the house than I already have.
They even have some old black and white photos, presumably from the period when the house was newly built…

image from: http://ensculptic.com

Not sure if that guy in the photo was the designer/architect/builder or the original homeowner…

image from: http://ensculptic.com

For more information on the Minnesota polyurethane foam house “Ensculptic” see the links below.

http://ensculptic.com/index.html

http://curbed.com/archives/2010/11/08/foam-home-of-the-future-might-actually-make-it.php

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/09/20/minnesotas-foam-home-goes-on-sale/

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Just one closing thought on this foam home…

I would hope that the owners never allowed anyone to smoke in there (could you imagine how the white puffy walls would look if they got that yellow-brown cigarette smoke stain on them? yuck!)

6 Responses to Marshmallows anyone? Minnesota home made of polyurethane foam

  • Whoa, this house is so different! You’re right, it’s definitely ‘cloud-like’. I’m wondering if this material is the same used in a lot of sprayfoam insulations?

    • housecrazy says:

      I was wondering that myself… but the walls on this house are probably more sturdy than spray insulation… hopefully!

  • Reva Hanson says:

    I visited this home in the sixties . The kitchen was quite modern for its time and painted bright orange and purple .The front door rolled away like Fred Flintones cave. The sprayed benches were molded into the walls. No normal windows were used. Never was sure where the electric wires were . It was made like spray insulation foam over chicken wire and then it hardens like concrete. I do not think the hard funriture was very comfortable. Most of the windows were round and did not open either. They actually were testing it to see how the material would stand up over time in the Minnesota winters as well. They said if you wanted to add a room you could do that very easily , just attach some more wires , spray it and let it dry . Was fun to see the pictures again . I was reminded when Twin Cities Live TV( Channel 5) show here in Mpls. said they were touring it again this week and had it on TV .Never knew it was called the “ensculpted house ” . It is located in Minnetrista Minnesota.

  • Leif Hietala says:

    My parents bought the house a few years ago. I can tell you a few things:

    Little of the floor space is level: the kitchen, the lowest part of the living area, the office alcove, a bedroom and the basement level.

    Some of the ceiling heights are ridiculously low, and I have bumped my head in several places. I am not especially tall. The foam IS pretty sturdy, it certainly cut my scalp up.

    A surprisingly large amount of space is wasted on areas dedicated to walking: bathroom to bedroom, an entrance that would be grandiose if it didn’t remind one so much of a scene from Star Wars, approaches to the dining area, etc.

    The material is similar to sprayed insulating foam, but I suspect it’s quite a bit denser than the insulating type. It absolutely MUST be painted, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is extremely harsh on PU foam and causes it to break down rapidly.

    The foam is highly attractive to woodpeckers, which Dad used to like but now, not so much.

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