A 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics has an article about Robert Heinlein's 1,150-square-foot home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which he designed for extreme efficiency. For instance, a table rolls between the kitchen and the dining room to make it easy to set and clear tableware and food dishes. Skylights have mirrors to reflect more light into the rooms. Most of the furniture is built in.
After the Heinleins moved in the 1960s, the house was extensively remodeled and enlarged, but apparently the bomb shelter "survives in almost original condition."
"The built-in bed with storage drawers beneath it, the built-in divans that can be converted to extra beds and all the other furniture are built right down to the floors," Heinlein says. "There is nothing to clean under.
"There are no rugs or any need for them. All floors are surfaced with cork tile that provides a warm, comfortable and clean footing. Nor are there any floor lamps or table lamps. The illumination is built into the house. General lighting for the living room comes from cold-cathode tubes concealed behind a box molding. These illuminate the ceiling. Adjustable wall spotlights are located at all work and relaxation areas in the house. All electric convenience outlets are at a comfortable hip height. I'm through stooping over to the baseboard whenever I want to plug in an appliance.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.
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