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Quonset Hut Garage Gives Utilitarian Design a Modern Twist

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When Ilene W. downsized and moved into a smaller house, she needed a place to store her handbag collection. 

The collection includes thousands of handbags and is pending the Guinness Book of World Records’ designation as the largest handbag collection in the world. The bags have been featured in a series of traveling museum exhibitions called PURSEonality.

“Originally my handbag collection was housed in extra bedrooms in the [former] house. I was using all of the spare bedrooms as an on-site handbag museum/storage,’ Ilene said. “When I moved, I realized I suddenly had no space to store these bags.”

Initially, Ilene planned on having a pole barn or shed-like structure built on her property. However, her contractor and good friend asked her if she considered purchasing a Quonset hut instead. 

“I said, ‘That’s a strange thought but sure.’ I began to look [Quonset huts] up online and realized that the curved shape seemed consistent with the curves in my art deco home. I was attracted to it because of that and the silvery metal had a certain sort of high-tech, art moderne vibe.”

Ilene says the style and functionality of Quonset huts were driving factors in her decision to purchase a 30’ X 62’ S-Model. 

“While some people may consider a Quonset hut very utilitarian or an eyesore, in my case, when you drive up to my house the effect is high design. I really felt that it was iconic in its lines,” Ilene said. “It spoke to me and appealed to me as being more consistent with the spirit of my building than a pole barn.”

Ilene’s contractor put together a team that assembled the building. She makes the most of the building’s 100% usable space by storing her cars inside as well.

“It’s open space and can be configured at will. There’s dual storage, that’s why there are two doors. On one side there are cars and the other are handbags. I chose garage doors for security.” 

Ilene is thrilled with the way the building ties in with her new home’s art deco design and the overall end result of her project. 

“In a way, the building really coordinates well with my house. I think it’s just great and, in its own way, is beautiful on my property. It looks like, as it was, a very deliberate choice. I am really happy with what I’ve done.”

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