BEVERLY — One block off of Highway 243 stands a house that looks like it came out of the future, or maybe the past.
Kurt Hughes, a graduate of Royal High School, is a boat designer in Seattle. Over the past six to eight years, he has built a tiny house in the shape of the lunar lander.
“My work is designing boats,” said Hughes. “I’ve learned a lot about boats. They are long-lived structures. They’re a lot stronger, lighter and don’t have mold. Most architects do things in a box. I asked, ‘What if I do something different?’ The astronauts trained at Hanford and the Moses Lake sand dunes.”
While in the shape of the lunar lander, the house has all the comforts of a normal house. It has a kitchen, dining area, bathroom with a full shower, sleeping area, storage and a deck. It could comfortably house two people.
Hughes built the tiny house in sections and brought them over from Seattle. He used the materials that he uses when designing and building new boat plans — tarp, thin high-quality plywood, foam and epoxy. He figures that the structure cost him $6 a pound in materials. Over all the structure is 2000 pounds.
“It’s crazy strong,” Hughes said. “The bottom was the first thing I built. A tornado came through and the neighbor say it picked up the bottom and sat it down in the street. It landed on a rock. It only had a fist-sized crush section on the outside. A windstorm two days later knocked over a park trailer. They brought in a tractor and crushed it. Boats are meant to be strong. They jump off a cliff every couple of minutes.”
While Hughes estimates that the house should be able to withstand winds of up to 88 miles per hour on its own, he has added guy wires with 8,800 pounds of strength to ensure the lander doesn’t decide to fly.
While he was building the house, neighbors pitched in and helped out.
“There is a lot of local effort,” Hughes said. “The neighbor built the stair stringer. He builds truck grills. He put holes in the sides of the stairs.”
Hughes has hopes of building more lunar lander tiny houses in the future. He is currently designing houses that could house a family.
“I went to my 50th high school reunion,” Hughes said. “One of my classmates saw it on my phone over my shoulder. He said, ‘I thought it was the government.’ I said, ‘No, it’s mine.’”
The two are now beginning the planning to build a little spaceport AirBNB between I-90 and Wanapum Village.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.