Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Phonehenge West

The latest stir on the Internets concerns some poor post-hippie wackadoodle in rural California, in Antelope Valley just over the hills from LA, who started building his home -- which he calls Phonehenge West -- some 30 years ago using recycled materials, including creosote-soaked telephone poles and now it's an affront to his American values of freedom and independence when the county wants him to tear it down.

The county says it's not up to code. Not that he cares, since he didn't bother to get a building permit when he started the whole thing.

Now I'm all for individual initiative and all that when it comes to architectural design and personal dwelling space -- I mean really, how boring is your ordinary suburb, your run of the mill housing tract? But those building codes are there for a reason, and that reason concerns safety for the inhabitants and their visitors.

It's not a government plot, despite what commenters are saying in various blogs and websites about the house, including this one at Home Design Dot Com, which also has a bunch of pictures of the house and its owner.

I would guess that fire is likely the chief concern of the county, since creosote-soaked telephone poles go off like Roman candles once they catch fire. If you were trapped on the top floor of this monster, you'd be dead before you could even think of escaping. Plus the slow leaching of chemicals into the immediate environment, i.e. the inside of your home, which also can't be good for you.

Oh, and he's also whining about not being able to drill a well where he wants. He should have thought of that before he moved out there and paid $50,000 for that lot. No wonder he had to scrounge for recycled -- junk -- parts to build this thing.

I remember from my own hippie days, when everyone was into the whole back-to-the-land kick, a book called Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher's Art, which had a lot of smacked together houses like Phonehenge, but on a much smaller scale, and by and large they were so far out in the woods that whatever county they were in probably didn't even know they were there. If you do a Google Image Search on that title, you'll see a lot of photos of the houses.

This guy took that book's basic idea, put it on steroids with an obvious in-your-face attitude, and now is whining because he's losing his freedom.

Yeah, okay...


d4d said...

more people moved in. and now HE DID NOT GO BY THE RULES. THATS THE BIG THING.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand... How long has that house been there? 30 years? It has just now come to notice and is of such critical importance that the county needs to spend dollars and man hours pursuing this guy? Personally, I wouldn't want to live in a pile of creosote soaked logs but I have a tiny, nagging doubt that the pollution his house might cause can even stand in the shade of other pollutants in the county.

After reading this, the question that first came to mind was "Who wants the property or who wants the adjoining property and doesn't want his house in the way?"

It just seems a bit odd.