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Residents in Knoxville, home of HGTV.com, may notice an addition to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens — a small house solely made of shipping pallets. A local organization, Knox Pallet House, is behind this repurposed home. Knox Pallet House aims to provide quality, affordable housing to the radically poor and homeless by building homes made of shipping pallets donated from local businesses.

Knox Pallet HousePhoto Credit: R. Bentley Marlow

The model house at the Botanical Gardens aims to bring public attention to temporary housing for the homeless. Residents can interact with the house while listening to music from local artists during the city’s annual Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival this weekend. The ultimate goal — for the city to make building code exceptions to allow for a pallet house subdivision to be built around a community shower, laundry and kitchen facility for the homeless.

Watch More About Knox Pallet House>>

Check out our interview with project leads Bentley Marlow and Prat Singh.

Design Happens: What was your inspiration for this project?

Bentley and Prat: The inspiration came from two architects with I-BEAM Design in 1999. Their mission was to provide housing for Eastern Europe’s refugee population. We felt there was a strong possibility this could be an excellent model for housing Knoxville’s homeless population because it is a fact that housing first is the only proven and effective way to approach homelessness issues in any community.

DH: What is your ultimate goal for the pallet house?

B and P: The ultimate goal for Knox Pallet House is to start a dialogue in our city to explore the possibility of developing a housing community for Knoxville’s homeless population.

DH: How long is the display open?

B and P: From sunrise to sunset through April 14th

DH: How long have you been working on this project, and how many volunteers have contributed?

B and P: The construction took a total of three weeks because we were building outside of our regular schedules. The actual construction moves pretty quickly once it gets going. We had eight volunteers and several community business and organization contributions. This project would not have been possible without the efforts of every single one of them. This is why we think Knoxville is a great place for this project to take off. This city is exceptionally collaborative — it is a really unique place on the map.

What organizations make a difference in your community? Tell us in the comments below.

12 Responses

  1. rss says:

    This is a great concept.

  2. david says:

    that is totally cool.

  3. travelfun says:

    Knox Pallet House is a great organization. I am glad to see that they are helping people who are in need.

  4. whatever says:

    It is not a real house until it has walls and a roof. Rightnow it is totally a non shelter. What is the point. I have seen a shed made from pallets but you take the boards apart and truly build a true structure. It was amazingly cute and useful. This that you have pictured is total rubish. How do you keep out the rain or the wind or uninvited guests?

  5. momacrash says:

    I Hope the Pallets are made of Treated Wood because this a great idea and would help many people!

  6. Dean says:

    Maybe you should hope the pallets are NOT made of treated wood, because there may be some concern for cyanide and other chemicals used in that process.

  7. Alicia says:

    For the poster above or for anyone that thinks the above is a "finished" home, fear not, this is just a way of framing the structure. Siding would be applied later. See the video on this link: http://knoxzine.com/all/2014/04/02/knox-pallet-ho

  8. cucumberHOH says:

    That is cute & I would put one in my own garden.

  9. Shirley Snyder says:

    Great for a shed in the backyard or a volunteer project for the homeless.
    I can think of many ways to finish it off and put siding on.

  10. Aria says:

    Wouldn't the homeless find this insulting? What you use for a shed, they get to live in?

    • trish h says:

      Get real Aria, if your homeless this is like a 4 star resort especially after siding. A wind break alone is a life saver, really.

Farima AlaviFarima is the entertaining editor for HGTV.com. Aside from her job, she loves fashion, playing with her rambunctious Yorkie, Rosie, and is a self-proclaimed foodie. She lives in a house...


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