Berkeley man makes a (really rather nice) dumpster home

Gregory Kloehn lives in central Berkeley and he makes things for a living. His latest creation may be his most inventive yet, for Kloehn has fabricated a home out of a dumpster — yes, your regular dumpster, known primarily as a receptacle for trash.

This isn’t the first home Kloehn, 41, has made. Working from a workshop in Oakland, he has crafted homes, offices, and sound studios out of shipping containers. He also knows his way around a remodel. In 1999 he bought a condemned warehouse and a rundown Victorian in Oakland and began refurbishing and reconfiguring them.

Kloehn is a neighbor of Kim Aronson‘s, a filmmaker and regular contributor to Berkeleyside. Aronson clambered with Kloehn into the dumpster home and shot the video above for us. Listen to Kloehn talk about the home’s high-end features, including the hardwood floors and granite countertops.

Kloehn says he decided to take on this remarkable feat of engineering and design while working on a shipping container home. “I would look over the fence at a dumpster and think that it looked like a little house,” he says.

The “Elite Waste” dumpster home will make its public debut at the 2011 San Francisco Fringe Festival which runs September 7-18. Then, Kloehn says, he will live in it for a while, “bringing it to different places around the Bay Area”.

We’ve heard of the small house movement, of course, but this takes it to a whole new level.

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  • Guest

    “Man Sleeping In Dumpster Almost Crushed To Death In Garbage Truck”

    Happens surprisingly often, and would suggest another external shell might have made more sense.

  • Guest

    “Man Sleeping In Dumpster Almost Crushed To Death In Garbage Truck”

    Happens surprisingly often, and would suggest another external shell might have made more sense.

  • Anonymous

    Put it in the right zip code, and in California you’ll get half a mill for it. 

  • Nick Mamatas

    Upside: makes moving easy!

    Downside: makes stealing someone else’s entire house easy!

  • Jane

    It’s fine if you don’t mind the occasional bag of trash flying into your home…

  • Charles_Siegel

    I am way ahead of him.  People have been saying for years that my home is a dump.

  • Dumpster Diver

    This should get featured on an episode of Sesame Street, as a potential home for Oscar the Grouch’s “West Coast” relatives! Or maybe a home he’s considering moving into…

  • Eric

    Should make the demolition phase easy during the next remodel.

  • you freakin “conceptual artists!” You’re now going to make living in a DUMPSTER unaffordable for those of us who are homeless??? How the hell much did that cost? if you’re not making stuff like this FOR us, you’re making it AGAINST us! Lead, follow or GET OUT OF THE WAY!

  • sad that a pseudo-homeless character would behave the way uninformed non-homeless treat the homeless with the words “get out of the way”.   hypocritical actually.

  • Nick Mamatas

    Hey man, does your Dumpster have WiFi or something?

  • Highhatsize

    This should be the featured real estate offering in The Chronicle.  After years of showing Victorians gutted of their souls and selling for $$5M+, it would be refreshing.

  • Nick Decker

    Very cool.  He’s a very talented man.  AND — I just GOTTA say it — he’s INCREDIBLY handsome!!!

  • Yay for Greg our neighbor…love your art!

  • Rogi, Just want to let you know that Greg care about homeless people more that most people I know. You should get to know him.

  • Kim Aronson, I’m still waiting for you to present videos about women.  I read Berkeleyside daily and I don’t remember any of your pieces being about women. What gives?

  • Tizzielish, I’m always interested in a good story so if you or anybody else knows of one please let me know,

    Link to my last two movies with women in them :-)

    Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley:

    Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books and Toys in Berkeley:

  • Highhatsize

    How about cost, just for the hell of it.  How much did it cost to convert the dumpster into a domicile, just the fixtures & rehab, not the labor (include the cost of the unaltered dumpster.)  Give us an msrp. 

  • Anonymous

    This is the best laugh I have had in two weeks here.  The reality of
    what you say is also painfully true and that’s enraging as well as
    discouraging and painful.  We all have to think outside of the box now
    for any housing in the USA as much of what you see for sale is owned by
    out of the country investment groups and corporations and traded on the
    damn stock exchange.  It’s all casino capitalism at it’s worst and I saw
    it fully destroy the social demographics of Marin Co. in the ’70s when
    even the elderly on 4th. street there were evicted in a very public and
    ugly way by greedy %$#@!. Then it just all got worse and never ever
    stopped.  This here in the the City of Napa would cost $1400. a mo. and
    even in the Berkeley Hills there are a zillion illegal out-buildings
    going for much more with descriptions such as “Has a galley kitchen”
    Translation: Hot plate, for $1350. a month.     
    We need to take back our housing, our cities, our churches ( talk about
    big business! ) and our own souls.  This will not be easy but I have met
    people ( a wonderful woman ) who lived in a cardboard box in Texas
    during the greater depression.  Maybe now in the great recession /
    depression we can focus on cottages that are so well thought out as to
    melt one’s heart.  Even the FEMA ‘Katrina cottages’ look damn wonderful
    to me with some carefully thought out innovations and redesign.  Just
    don’t stack them together and try to call them home.  People need space and lots of it to thrive in.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a tyrannical and “demanding” ‘power of the victim’ tone of voice is it not?  Would you want this person living next door to you here at any social or economic income level?  People are to be judged on the content of their character and actions across time vs. their wallet or lack of one.  

  • Anonymous

    Heating?  Cooling?   Metal conducts both heat & cold so it might be fine inside a warehouse but outdoors?  Maybe not so pleasant inside.   And does the “roof” leak when it rains?  Insulation might be more useful than granite countertops and a shower rather than a place to hang a TV.   Not to mention a way to lock it. 

    I wondered if the designer has actually lived in the house for a few weeks at least–in an outdoor location–to get an idea of how well it functions as a living place.   For example,  is the toilet hooked up to a sewer or septic system?  Holding tank?  No?  Then the designer has created a public health hazard.   Otherwise, why not poll homeless people & ask if them their opinion of this home?

  • Dd

    Hi,  I like what you are doing! I wish you can do something about this abandoned building in my neighbourhood in Oakland. It’s got so many any issues that is affecting us. If you can transform it or suggest ideas on what can be done or help do something to make it a worthwhile space!!!!! as others are too slow to act ie City of O

  • Scott

    A sign of the times. Obama, the Demoncraps, and the Rhino Republicans (including Bush) are heading us all to the dumpster. And no, I am not a doped up Libertarian.

  • Lola Epps

    Hella Cool / I Gotta Get Me One Of Those…
    Looks like freeing my life from high ass rent.
    How do I get a space to put it?
    From: Used To Be Homeless N/S.F.

  • Camilablanchet

    Perfect for the homeless people, City Hall should have a meeting!!

  • CamilaBlanchet

    Get your own City Hall to build them for the homeless, overnite accomodation, for warm and safe sleeping quarter. Blankets and pillow are always furnished. Power wash them down once a while.
    If they placed them in a circle, and add a heating device in the middle, it would be cozy in the winter.
    Don’t be so negative!

  • CamilaBlanchet

    Yep, thats why they are homeless, attitude problems. Sad.

  • Camilablanchet

    If you park your a s s near a wireless network it is. Starbucks next door.Cool enough.

  • Joe 12-Pack

    This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

  • Perryalexanderjr

    or more!

  • Perryalexanderjr

    this is what i call section 4

  • its a free place for druggies

    and a dumpster truck comes and flips it over XD

  • raif

    ba-dump-ump! LOL!!!

  • Pippiagain

    We are being conditioned to expect less and less as the middle class is squeezed out. Soon, we will all be living in dumpsters, shipping containers, or boxes. Unless, of course, you want to be jammed into high rises in a city where you can be totally monitored and controlled by the government.

  • camilablanchet

    there are many alternative living options, I tried many, except the dumpster. From all the years I’ve owned or rented I can say…it’s been hell searching for a good home base. A house is no longer an investment. Renting is a constant worry of bad landlords, abuse, and bullying. I’ve had landlords treat me as a slave, given chores around their house, and I’m paying them rent! Well I guess the next move will be to buy a used van, turn it into a mobile home, and keep moving when it gets to be too much to bear. Yes we need to have contingencies, adaptable ones for sure. No matter where we turn, there will be dangers of losing our freedom and becoming conditioned clones…we can give thanks to our bankers for screwing us up royally from a century ago, but their empires are now crumbling, because it was built on lies and deceit.