Seventy thousand pounds of it, to be exact
For many of us, our relationship with seaweed involves stepping over pungent clumps of it at the beach. But the ubiquitous ocean plant is an unsung hero with many talents, from providing nutrition as a food and beauty product to fertilizing your garden. And, according to the people of the Danish island of Læsø, it’s also a surprisingly resilient building product.
Hundreds of years ago, a shortage of trees on the island forced residents to get creative, constructing homes instead from driftwood and eelgrass. The trend resulted in the majority of the island’s homes resembling thatched-roof hobbit houses. But the real surprise was the durability of the saltwater-infused materials, which allowed the houses to stand for several hundreds of years.
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Today, the homes are a novelty on the island, with less than 20 of the original thatched-roof homes still standing—and one of them can now be yours. This charmingly tiny seaweed house (about 1,000 square feet) was originally built in the 1700s, but recently renovated with new wooden beam floors and ceilings and, yes, a fresh seaweed roof. (In total, 70,000 pounds of seaweed were used to build the new roof.) Modern upgrades, like a new kitchen, make the home practical for everyday use, yet much of the historic character was preserved or renewed.
So what’s the cost to own a piece of history on a beautifully lush Danish island? It’ll set you back 2.65 million DKK—which roughly translates to a reasonable $414,000. See more of the inside of this quirky house below: