There’s No Place Like Home (Mar, 1946)

I particularly like this article because when I was growing up my family owned a grocery store and later a restaurant on the corner of Bedford street, just a few doors down from the narrow house featured on the second page. I remember being totally credulous when my dad explained that the family living there were really skinny so the narrow confines didn’t bother them at all.

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There’s No Place Like Home

WITH some real ingenuity and a carpenter father, Thelma Burnette, of Santa Monica, Calif., licked the housing problem—and made money on it to boot. She bought an obsolete double-decker bus for $50. Her father, Carl M. Burnette, took the body off the chassis and set it on a concrete foundation, tore off the hood and one side, built a bedroom, dressing room, and bath adjoining the open side, and put a fireplace and chimney where the hood had been.

Then the energetic Miss Burnette sold the leather-upholstered lower-deck seats and the wooden ones from the upper deck a few at a time. She got back more than her $50.

IN NEW YORK’S crowded Greenwich Village, the Jay Barnums and their four-year-old son Timothy solve their housing problem by being broadminded enough to live in the city’s narrowest house. The building is an architectural oddity built on a 9′ wide lot between an apartment house and a factory. In it the Barnums even find room for three pets—a dachshund and two cats.

The first floor contains the kitch-en, a dinette, and a living room not an inch over 8-1/2 wide. Bedrooms are on the second floor along with a bathroom that is just big enough to turn around in. There are two bedrooms, one a “master” and the other, Timothy’s, hardly bigger than a pup tent. The top floor is all one room, a long and narrow studio. It holds a piano and Barnum’s drawing equipment and is used for storage, entertainment, and in a pinch as a guest room.

Guide books list the house, and sightseers often stick their heads in the window to see if anybody actually lives in such a slender structure.

3 comments
  1. Stannous says: June 12, 20078:58 am

    Built in an old carriageway leading to rear stables, the skinny house has had some amazing residents: Edna St Vincent Millay, cartoonist William Steig, his wife and her sister, anthropologist Margaret Mead. At later times John Barrymore and Cary Grant lived there.
    Read this nice description of the house and its current residents:
    http://www.thevillager….

  2. Ed T. says: June 12, 200711:40 pm

    Spent most of my misspent youth (prounounced yewt) in the Village, never heard about this house before. Cool stuff.

    Check out the Google Map streetview:
    Google Street View

    Cheers,
    Ed T.

  3. Anonymous says: June 17, 20071:39 pm

    Recycling buses into homes (1946)…

    WITH some real ingenuity and a carpenter father, Thelma Burnette, of Santa Monica, Calif., licked the housing problemand made money on it to boot. She bought an obsolete double-decker bus for $50. Her father, Carl M. Burnette, took the body off the c…

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