Going Viral… Six Years Later

May 10, 2011

A one-of-a-kind pirate ship transforms a child's bedroom

Unique custom cabinets hide a large refrigerator

Going viral. In most cases, it’s a marketer’s dream. We like to think that if we combine a strong dose of creativity with good timing, we have a solid foundation for something that just might take off and engage our target audience, ideally overnight.

However, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, you have to have patience. This is what Minnesota remodeling contractor Steve Kuhl recently learned.

Kuhl is owner of Square One Cabinet Studio and Kuhl Design + Build. Six years ago, he had the opportunity to work on an creative remodeling project, complete with a pirate ship bedroom, golf simulation room, “super luge” spiraling into a sport court and several other unique features throughout the house — including a hidden refrigerator in the kitchen, and mud room with a very inconspicuous door to the laundry room.

Upon completion, Kuhl knew he and his team had created something pretty special so photos were shared on the company website but they quickly moved on to other projects without any additional fanfare.

Flash forward six years later, when the “Pirate Ship House” spontaneously has become an Internet sensation, as recently reported by the Star Tribune.

A golf room offers the homeowner a chance to improve his game

It started with a surprising phone call Kuhl received from someone in the United Kingdom asking for permission to use photos of his pirate ship. Apparently the buzz began when My Modern Met, a site where “art enthusiasts and trendspotters connect over creative ideas,” featured photos of the pirate ship on its website on March 2.

Then, when the approximately 300,000 unique monthly visitors to this popular site responded favorably to the project, a second follow-up post a week later featured an exclusive interview with Kuhl. Multiple sites have since posted the photos, including this nice piece on abc.com.

A custom-built bookshelf opens to a secret passage

While the pirate ship is what initially caught everyone’s attention, the house is full of a lot of intricate details that showcase the depth of Square One Cabinet Studio’s and Kuhl Design Build’s expertise. I recently spoke with Kuhl, who pointed out that while this particular project obviously is unique, their approach to the remodel wasn’t any different than how they approach any of their projects. They provided creative, custom solutions to help bring someone’s vision to life.

He’s hoping to ride the wave — albeit six year’s after the project’s completion — and use the interest in the pirate ship bedroom to generate additional business, whether that’s building custom cabinets for a kitchen remodel or perhaps making another kid’s playroom dreams come true.