Energy efficiency or smaller carbon foorprint may be great reasons why you upgraded. This family found lifesaving to be an added benefit!
Jerri Weaver and her daughter Liz, in front of their underground house in Vilonia, Ark. (Jason Sickles/Yahoo News)
VILONIA, Ark. — Jerri Weaver’s house is certainly unconventional. Some might even call it kooky. But come crunch time — when Mother Nature’s fury is at her doorstep as it was Sunday night — the native Arkansan has peace of mind in her bunkerlike abode.
“I have no fear,” Weaver said. “I know that we’re going to be OK.”
That’s because the 1,600-square-foot home was built into a hillside. While some people here in tornado-prone Central Arkansas have storm shelters, Weaver and her family have essentially lived in one for 30 years.
The initial design and purpose of the home was for energy savings (the earthen insulation requires less heating and cooling), but the Weavers have come to value the home’s near tornado-proofing.
“At first people think it’s weird, but you start talking to them and they realize it’s pretty cool,” said Liz Weaver, Jerri’s daughter. “We built Hobbit-holes before they were cool.”
Voyne Weaver, Jerri’s father-in-law and a former concrete dealer, has built four of the underground houses along Vilanco Lane. Each is constructed with 10-inch thick concrete walls and another 14 inches of concrete in the ceiling. The top of the home is buried in two feet of dirt.
“I get to mow my roof,” Jerri said.
Jerri’s dwelling has three bedrooms and two baths where she and her husband, Randy, raised daughters Liz and Randi. Aside from having few windows, the inside of the house resembles any other residence with a full kitchen, living room, etc. A white lattice fence and a rock facing out front give the place a cottagelike charm.