When it comes to your dream home, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While some may conjure up images of white picket fences, delicate Spanish arches, and superb crown molding; others envision giant pineapples and flying saucers. The following houses can be defined as many things, but there is something more than the absurdity of their appearance which binds them together. The brave souls who created these bizarre habitats have one thing in common—they chose to build outside the box.
The Fish House
Located in Berkeley, California the fish house will make even the loyalest of mermaids long for a pair of legs. With round windows, fin shaped walls, and a mouth that opens into a garage, the fish house is the ideal place for the modern day Jonah. The house was built in 1991 by architect Eugene Tsui who prefers to model his homes after nature rather than boxes. Tsui believes that traditionally-built homes are a waste of labor and resources, whereas those that replicate nature reign supreme.
The Narrow House
With its widest point stretching just six feet across, the “Narrow House” is not for the wide-hipped lass. Located in Madre de Deus, Brazil, owner Helenita Queiroz Grave Minho built this house alongside her husband, so they could rent it out for some extra cash. The house has two living rooms, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Why so skinny? The only land Minho owned was a narrow alleyway, thus the couple opted to build a narrow house.
The Tire House
In today’s economy the “Tire House” makes more sense than ever. With one too many cans on his hands and a whole lot of tires, designer Michael Shealy decided to make use of the two items and build an “earth-friendly” house. This carefully constructed heap of rubbish was built in Ridgeway, Colorado and features solar windows, stone floors, and walls made of compacted earth and plaster. While the house is made almost entirely from re-used materials, it’s also energy self-sufficient.
The Spaceship House
Those who consider themselves “otherworldly” can appreciate the “Spaceship House.” Located off of Highway 127 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the house was built by C.W. King in 1970. King believed it would be “the house of the 21st century” and hoped that it would revolutionize the building industry. Whether or not it achieved either of these is questionable, but with retractable stairs as the only way to enter and exit it certainly made difficult for overnight visitors to slip quietly out the door in the morning.
The Pineapple House
If you thought that Sponge Bob Square Pants was the first to call a pineapple his home, you’re wrong. In 1761, John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore, asked an unknown architect to build a giant pineapple shaped pavilion as a birthday gift for his wife. If that isn’t love, what is? The pineapple served as a place to view the gardens of Dunmore Park. Those who wish to see this beauty must travel to Scotland where it can still be seen today in a village just north of Airth.
The Mushroom House
Architect and professor Terry Brown built the “Mushroom House” for himself in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the help of university students the project took him from 1992 to 2006. Brown is known for his use of irregular shapes and tends to model his buildings after shapes found in nature. And all of this begs the question: did the architect dabble in ‘shrooms? The answer remains unknown.
The Winchester Mystery House
The mystery of a woman who had more money than brains unfolds at the “Winchester Mansion.” After losing her daughter and husband, Sarah Winchester decided to seek advice from a medium. This wise individual told Sarah that there was a curse on her family and the only thing she could do to fight it was to buy a house and never stop building on it until the day she died. In 1884 Sarah bought a house in San Jose, California where she made numerous bizarre additions including: staircases that went nowhere, fireplaces with no flues, and rooms within rooms.
The Airplane House
Some people just can’t get enough of that cramped, claustrophobic feeling you get when riding in an airplane for 17 hours. If you are one of these people you may want to consider living in one. In 1994 Joann Ussery purchased a salvaged airplane and had it moved to her lakeside lot in Benoit, Mississippi. Ussery did much of the renovation herself and claims she likes living in an airplane because of its durability and cost efficiency.
The Toilet House
Thanks to Sim Jae-duck, people can now live in toilets. Jae-duck is a founding member of the World Toilet Association and in 2009 he built the world’s first toilet shaped house to mark the launch of his WTA. Located in Suwon, South Korea, the house offers a lovely opening in the roof, several bedrooms, and three deluxe toilets just waiting for you to take a seat.
The Eliphante House
Artist Michael Kahn built the “Eliphante House” along with his wife Leda Livant. The couple built the house over a span of 28 years using found materials such as, rocks and items left at construction sites. The house was built in Cornville, Arizona and looks like a cross between a cave and a hobbit hole. Stop by and you’ll be greeted by Livant’s giant hippo creation guarding the house.
The Pod House
The pod house may look like it belongs on another planet, but it’s actually modeled after the flower, Queen Anne’s Lace. The house was built by architect James H. Johnson in Powder Mills Park, New York and features several different pod structures that are linked together by interconnecting walkways, as well as a time tunnel bedazzled in mosaic tiles. Johnson continues to build new additions to the house, each of them being modeled after an element of nature.
The Pickle Barrel House
There once was a man named William Donahey who created a cartoon called The Teenie Weenies. The Teenie Weenies lived in a pickle barrel beneath a rose bush, but Donahey felt it was time to bring this world to life, and in 1926, he created a life-size version of the pickle barrel for him and his wife to live in. The barrel was first built in Burt Township, Michigan by the architect Harold S. Cunliff, but was later moved to downtown Grand Marais. It is now a museum housing all of Donahey’s work.
The Steel House
Who needs a man of steel when you can have a house made of steel? Architect Robert Bruno built his house completely out of steel (and glass for windows), which he started in 1973 and only recently finished in 2008. The monstrosity sits in Lubbock, Texas and consists of welded metal, and original and stained glass. As the sole person who worked on the house, Bruno was able to maintain the house’s originality and carry out the building in the organic process he is known for.
The Bubble House
It seems living your life in a bubble isn’t so bad after all. Architect Antti Lovag designed the bubble house in Tourettes-sur-Loup, France for the fashion designer Pierre Cardin and the country was so impressed that it would later be deemed an historic monument. The house provides views of the sea along with a garden, waterfall, and stream, but most of all the house is known for it’s eccentric use of bubble-shaped windows and bright orange exterior.
The Stone House
Tucked away in the Fafe Mountains of Portugal sits a house made of stone. The house is wedged between four enormous boulders, and with a cozy fireplace and a pool carved out of stone as, it makes being stuck between a rock and a hard place feel not so bad It was built as a vacation home in 1974, and to this day the architect remains a mystery.