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THE PAPER HOUSE IS AN ART ENVIRONMENT in Rockport, Massachusetts built in 1922 by Mr. Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed the machines that make paper clips. Though the house has a regular wooden structure (floors and roof), Stenman was curious to find out if rolled newspapers would provide insulation. Eventually, one thing led to another and he began rolling newspapers up and covered everything—the furniture, the piano, the tables, everything. Over the years, he coated it all with varnish to protect it. Though much of the rolled up paper was nailed together, he also used his own homemade glue made of flour, water and apple peels.

The most common question people ask today is “why” did he make a house from paper. Caretakers of the house today (relatives of Stenman) say no one knows for sure. Their best guess is that he did it to be thrifty and that newspapers were plentiful. Once local people found out about his odd project, they would bring him newspapers.

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