Rural Missouri - December 2022 - 39
by Paul Newton | firstname.lastname@example.org
he combine got replaced by the living room couch.
The tractor was sent on its way to make room for
the master bathroom. What once provided protection
from the weather for farm equipment and hay
now is the dream home for a La Monte family.
Scotty and Cindy Birdwell, members of Central Missouri
Electric, transformed a 19-foot-tall Quonset hut
on their rural Pettis County property into a two-story,
Quonset huts are semicircle-shaped
steel buildings designed like the originals
invented during World War II.
Cindy grew up just down the road
from where they now live. She and
Scotty had built a home there 30 years
ago, where they raised their family.
" Our son and daughter-in-law wanted
to purchase the house, so we said
sure, " Cindy says. " Then we were like,
'Well where do we want to live?' We
didn't know and had to figure something
Scotty and his son put up the Quonset
hut 18 years ago. Cindy didn't want
to move too far away. As Cindy looked
out of her house at the hut across
Thomas Road, she got an idea. The hut
was an existing structure on land they
She enlisted contractor Mark Walje
to see if her plan was even a possibility.
Mark saw the vision for the building and took on what
he says is the most unique house he's worked on. " I asked
her how she was going to do the ceiling with this structure
and she said 'You figure it out and whatever you think's
best,' " Mark says. " I thought it would be a good challenge.
I've been building for almost 50 years and it's just something
I've never done. I knew that if we did it right and it
was decorated well it was really going to be a showplace. "
Cindy and Mark went through a series of plans on how
to best utilize the hut, which is 50-by-50-feet. They were
trying to figure out how to square off parts of the house
but not lose any square footage. They made storage tunnels
along the sides of the house allowing them to fit a
photo courtesy Ashley Rose Photography
square peg into a round hole. They gained an extra 1,000
feet by adding an upstairs and in total only ended up with
24 square feet of unusable space.
Mark, who owns West Central Construction, installed
extra insulation to help with noise during storms. He built
the ceiling to be the top sides of a hexadecagon (16 sides)
giving the house its unique curvature. Mark finished the
renovation this summer.
The Quonset hut now features a living room, kitchen
and dining room as you enter, along with a butler's
kitchen, a trio of bedrooms and a loft.
" I'm very, very happy with the house
and I really wouldn't trade it for anything, "
Cindy says. " This is home. "
Cindy says she met a few people
who doubted the ability to turn the
semicircle hut into a home. Mark's
wife documented the process on West
Central Construction's Facebook page.
Once moved in, Cindy hosted an open
house for all the inquiring minds.
" We had about 100 people come by, "
Cindy says. " And what usually happens
is they walk in the front door and
step back and they take in a panoramic
look. They can't believe we took the old
hut and turned it into home. "
The Birdwells will be showing off
their home decorated for the holidays.
Cindy is a business teacher at Otterville
High School and her club is hosting
the FBLA Holiday Homes Tours and
Celebration. The hut-turned-home will
be one of four homes on the Dec. 10 tour.
Cindy says the unique structure has been the perfect
place for her family. " I never feel like I'm in a dome, " Cindy
says. " We have lots of light and I love that I can stand in
my kitchen and can look at the
windmill across the road and
watch my grandkids run around. "
The Dec. 10 home tours run from
1-5 p.m. and cost $20 per person. For
more information, contact Cindy at
Left: To accommodate the rounded roof, builder Mark Walje designed the ceiling to be the top sides of a hexadecagon. Right and above: By
adding a loft over the living room, Mark was able to add an extra 1,000 square feet of space to the Quonset hut.
photos below courtesy Cindy Birdwell
XX RURAL MISSOURI | DECEMBER 2022
DECEMBER 2022 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP XX
Rural Missouri - December 2022
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2022
Rural Missouri - December 2022 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2022 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2022 - Contents
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