How a Missile Silo Became the Most Difficult Interior Decorating Job Ever- page 3 | People & Places | Smithsonian
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(Jacqueline Moen)

How a Missile Silo Became the Most Difficult Interior Decorating Job Ever

A relic from the Cold War, this instrument of death gets a new life … and a new look

smithsonian.com

(Continued from page 2)

Ed Peden, the Kansas man who directed Michael to his silo, operates a website advertising other missile sites for sale around the country. Many converted silo homes have been made to look like regular houses inside, with back-lit false windows, modern kitchens and other homey touches. One, an above- and below-ground luxury log home about 45 miles from Michael’s silo, includes its own airstrip and is on the market for $750,000. People have also found novel uses for the underground structures, as a scuba diving center (near Abilene, Texas); a one-man UFO investigation center (near Seattle); and, until it was raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2000, an illicit drug lab that produced one-third of the nation’s LSD.

Michael has also found creative ways to take advantage of his silo’s unique space. It’s been used as a film set several times. Last fall during an open house, he staged a sculptural installation called Rapture, inspired by the doomsday groups that have contacted him. Later this month, three engineers will stage an interactive LED light show inside the main chamber of the silo.

Michael’s dream is to complete the restoration of the silo and turn it into a performance space—the acoustics are fantastic, he says. He is seeking a financial partner because, after spending an estimated $350,000 of his own money on renovations over the years, he is tapped out.

But he has no regrets. “In terms of joy and excitement and happiness,” he says, “it has paid for itself a thousand times over.”

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About Lisa Bramen
Lisa Bramen

Lisa Bramen was a frequent contributor to Smithsonian.com's Food and Think blog. She is based in northern New York and is also an associate editor at Adirondack Life magazine.

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