Architects Gone Wild: Home Designs You’ve Got to See to Believe
Get architectural inspiration from outside the usual box-design styles of homes and check out some of the wildest home designs
AnchorLight Bed and Breakfast
The AnchorLight in Crane Hill, Alabama on the shores of Smith Lake is quite the attraction because of its 53-foot lighthouse. If you are looking for a place to stay, there are two rooms inside the lighthouse for guests where they can catch a great view of the lake.
Goose Creek Tower
Alaskan attorney Phillip Weidner started building cabins on top of cabins until the structure reached 185 feet tall. He stopped short of 200 feet because that is when federal air space begins. Weidner says he can see 300 miles out from the top of the structure, which is still a work in progress. He says he has built it without any blueprints but rather from his mind and small notations.
The story of Quigley's Castle in Arkansas goes back more than 100 years to when Elise Fiovanti started collecting rocks as a kid. When she married Albert Quigley he promised her a house. He built her one she designed with lumber from the property and she decorated the exterior walls with the rocks she'd collected as a kid. She also created bottle trees around the property for a unique look.
Just make sure it doesn't turn into a giant litter box. Believe it or not this place was listed for $240,000 in an unincorporated Concho, Arizona.
The Sculptured House
It did appear in Woody Allen's film Sleeper, but don't sleep on this home on Genesee Mountain, southwest of the Denver suburbs. Architect Charles Deaton designed the home and construction started in 1963 but he never finished it. It wasn't until 2003 that the house got completed under new owner John Huggins, who bought it in 1999. The home has no flat walls, as Deaton railed against boxy design. Deaton later went on to design Arrowhead Stadium, home to the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, and Kauffman Stadium next to it, home to Kansas City Royals. Both are considered two premier stadium venues and both are two of the longest-standing stadiums in the U.S..
When this Connecticut house went on the market it drew varied responses from corners of the internet. Artist Nikolay Synkov designed the house as an experimental art studio. Synkov was largely influenced by abstract Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Synkov completed intricate wood carving on the exterior and themed each room. He also included poetry for each room. You can find the whole explanation here- it's pretty interesting.
The Futuro House was designed by Matti Suuronen, a Finnish architect back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fewer than 100 are thought to have been built and there are 80 remaining units in the world. Seventeen Futuros have been demolished but those that remain span the globe. They were made with fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic and designed as a ski chalet. The typical Futuro House stood 14 feet tall and had a diameter of 26 feet; eight people could fit inside.
Country music performer Elvis Carden has got a house that can hit all the right notes. Carden has spent the better part of two decades designing and building a guitar-shaped house. He's named his record company Guitar House Records, has a backing band named Guitar House Band and titled an album Living in an Old Guitar. It's been on and off the market through the years.
Kehena Point Cliff House
If you're in Hawaii you'll want to keep looking all around you. The Kehena Point Cliff House, which is available to rent, provides plenty of views with a spectacular setting and ample windows. It's a concrete house designed to look like a boom box. Guests can walk to a black sand beach and watch dolphins swim in the ocean.
The Sluice Box
The Sluice Box in Idaho City is actually an antiques and collectables store but it certainly looks like an old mining residence. The shop was built with barn wood, along with other items found in Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. There are hidden rooms, screened porches and even pictures plugged into knotholes.
The Spaceship House
It's hard to miss this house in Urbandale, Iowa since it's one of the tallest buildings around. It was built in 1993 and the main living room stands 35 feet up from the entry. There's a 6,000-square-foot garage and recreation center on the property, too. With 6,000 square feet for a garage there's probably not a lot of need to organize.
The Subterra Castle outside of Topeka is a former underground missile silo converted into a home. Edward and Dianna Peden bought the property in 1994 and converted it. The missile silo was built in 1959 and was in operation from 1961-65. It gained notoriety when it was listed on Airbnb in 2017 but the listing has since been pulled.
Mother Goose House
The Mother Goose House in Hazard, Kentucky has drawn the attention of drivers for more than 70 years now. The house started by George Stacy in 1935 was completed in 1940, complete with egg-shaped windows. The goose even has automobile lights for eyes. The story goes that Stacy used the skeleton of a goose he killed and ate for scale to start the project, a so-called sacrifice for the project. The exterior was built from sandstone found in creeks nearby and the roof is ribbed like a goose.
Plenty of people visit old lighthouses, but how many get to spend a night in one? You can at Goose Rocks in Maine. The lighthouse can accommodate up to six and those who visit do so as a way to support the preservation of the lighthouse.
Vanadu Art House
For the gearheads and junkyard pickers, Vanadu in Hyattsville, Maryland has got to be a pit stop for those on a summer road trip. Clarke Bedford has filled his house with antiques, sculptures pieced together from found materials, art cars and especially the Vanadu Ford, an Econoline Ford Van with dozens of metal pieces attached to the roof, front end and sides.
The Paper House
The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts is exactly that, a house made from paper. It was built by Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed machines to make paper clips. He started building the home in 1922 and though the paper was first used as insulation, it expanded into furniture. Stenman used pressed paper and a lot of varnish for the walls and paper logs for the furniture.
This home in Minnesota is made from polyurethane spray foam over a metal skeleton. There are few windows and even fewer angles to it. Architect Winslow Wedin set about building it in 1969 with a team of art students. The house sold in 2011 for just $170,000 and the owners have maintained it. Spray foam has some amazing powers, here's a great guide.
A search for commercial property turned into a lot with a cave for Curt and Deborah Sleeper back in 2003. It took four years for the couple to build their offices and home in Missouri. In the meantime they lived in a big dehumidified tent inside the cave, which once served as a roller skating rink. The couple faced considerable hurdles with getting fresh air and meeting egress requirements, it's all quite the story.
The Shire of Montana
Fans of The Hobbit ought to love two-story, 1,000-square-foot underground home in Montana. It's available to rent for $345 a night and features a king size bed with a small guest bedroom.
Check the Address
The pool possibility looks real neat but where's it located. This home sits below ground in Las Vegas and is one of two underground houses on a 1.7-acre lot. The site does have an above-ground home for those accustomed to living on street level.
Learn how to finish a basement at home.
The Helmet House drew the scorn of some architecture critics but for the group, Jersey Devil Design/Build, it was another project to get creative with design. The group of Steve Badanes, John Ringel and Jim Adamson approached architecture as DIYers. They came out of Princeton and set about creating unique architectural pieces, learning as they went. Their ventures included inflatable architecture for concerts, a football house, a snail house and the Helmet House in New Hampshire. The Helmet House won the National Enquirer's "Weird House" award and the New York Times called their work tiresome and gimmickry.
Artist Ricky Boscarino uses this home as his studio and his residence in New Jersey. He opens it to the public throughout the year. He's been at work on the home since 1989, which features sculptures throughout the yard. Inside, it's a mashup of several styles and has a Pee-wee Herman's Playhouse vibe to it.
The Spaceship House/The Bug House
Architect Bart Prince's home in Albuquerque has gone by different names according to people who see it, each one has their own idea of what it resembles. Whatever name someone comes up with for it doesn't seem to ever hit the mark on the home's magnificence. Prince worked with another prominent architect, Bruce Goff, in Los Angeles for 10 years. Check out Prince's work at his site.
A house that is designed to extend life sounds like a pretty good deal. The 3,400-square-foot Bioscleave is on the market for a little less than $2.5 million. Arakawa and Madeline Gins designed the home, which makes people use their bodies in unanticipated ways. They said it helps maintain equilibrium and stimulate their immune systems. They built the home for $2 million on Long Island and it's unusual design is said to create a sense of wonder for people. There are uneven floors, vibrant colors, windows at unexpected heights, all of which keep the senses more active.
The Mushroom House
Architect Terry Brown spent 10 years working on this house in Cincinnati with 35 students from the University of Cincinnati College of Design. It's a bit of an anthropomorphic house with windows that resemble eyes.
Fishing Reel House
When you're the owner of a fishing reel company, what kind of home do you ask for? Well, Zebco founder R.D. Hull asked Tulsa architect Cecil Stanfield to build him a home shaped like a fishing reel back in 1970. It last appeared on the market in Catoosa, Oklahoma for $3.9 million. It includes a swimming pool covered by a 25-foot dome with 28 curved beams and it's own shuffleboard court.
Haines Shoe House
Mahlon Haines built the shoe house back in 1948 to advertise for his boot business. He later rented out rooms in the five-story shoe, which has two bedrooms in the ankle and an ice cream shop in the instep. The new owners Jeff and Melanie Schmuck serve ice cream and sweets there now.
The Eye of the Storm
A monolithic dome home will grab the eye, especially one on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina. This home measures around 3,500 square feet and has four levels. It's built to handle hurricanes with openings on ground level, plus it is estimated to weigh 650 tons. It recently came available, too, for the asking price of $4.5 million.
The Tennessee Spaceship House
A retractable door to reach your home sounds pretty cool and that's what this home in Tennessee features. The Spaceship home sits a story off the ground but it's not going anywhere. It was built in 1973 in Signal Mountain, Tennessee and has become a roadside attraction. Apparently a previous owner used to trot out an inflatable alien during the holidays.
Robert Bruno's Steel House in Lubbock, Texas has stood out from the landscape since he started building the 110-ton home on his own more than 30 years ago. It remains unfinished since Bruno died in 2008. His family still owns the home that looks slightly like an AT-AT from Star Wars and paid tours can be arranged.
The Tack House
Believe it or not but some of these great architectural masterpieces are available for people to rent, just like The Tack House in Warren, Vermont's Prickly Mountain, a famed spot for architectural wonders. Ladders are used to reach different floors of the house, which was designed as David Sellers and Bill Reineke went about building houses on 450 acres. It's made entirely of plywood and found objects.
The House on the Rock
Once inside you can revel in the world of kitsch that Alex Jordan created inside The House on the Rock in Wisconsin. The house opened in 1960 and among the rooms it features is a carousel room that includes 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, 20,000 lights and no horses. Other rooms include the infinity room, which walks out from the rock for a spectacular view.
Naomi Campbell's Former House
This house, owned by Vladislav Doronin, is called the Capital Hill Residence in Russia. Doronin used to date Naomi Campbell and it the house was recently completed. Zaha Hadid built it and it's estimated to have cost $140 million.
Queen of Versailles
In 2012, a documentary titled The Queen of Versailles came out where it showcased David and Jackie Siegel as they built a 90,000-square foot home in Florida during the time of the housing crisis. Construction halted later and the house still has not been completed. The home has 32 bathrooms, 14 bedrooms, several indoor and outdoor pools.
Penn Jillette's The Slammer
Penn Jillette's former home in Las Vegas caught some derision because of its piecemeal construction and loud colors but the story behind it reveals a fascinating history. Jillette bought the property decades ago when just an A frame house sat on the lot. Through the years he added on in the hope that he'd never leave the place. But as things changed for him and his family, he eventually sold it for $1.8 million in 2016. Jillette tried to demolish the house with a tank but sold the 8.6-acre property to a home builder. The tank got stuck in the house.
Randy Travis' Ranch
Randy Travis and his ex-wife Elizabeth Hatcher-Travis, designed an 8,750-square-foot adobe house on 220 acres outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The house got listed for $14.7 million back in 2014 following the couple's split in 2010. It didn't sell and it's back on the market again, according to the New York Post. Travis and his ex-wife custom designed the house with Southwestern decor throughout. It features a shooting range, barn and a guest house in additional to a bowling lane and bus garage.
Glass House, Freetown Christiania, Denmark
Christiania, Denmark is an interesting place to begin with so a glass house isn't out of character for an area in Denmark that is self-proclaimed autonomous. It's home to around 1,000 people and began in 1971 when people started squatting in what was a military area.
Home Sweet Silo
In New Jersey, the homeowners of this property decided to transform the old Dutch barn into a new home — silo included. The silo now houses a master suite and a spa bathroom. The home includes eight bedrooms and six baths.
Water Tower in Disguise
The House in the Clouds in Thorpeness, England provided the perfect cover for the town's water tower. The clever "house" was built in 1923 and stands 70 feet high. The unusual design was meant as a way to get away from the utilitarian look of the water tower. The water tank was removed in 1979. These days the house has five rooms, three bedrooms and a room at the top, which provides an amazing view of the town below. Book a stay there by visiting the website.
Benson Ford Ship House
We've heard of boathouses but not too many boathouses that have been grounded ashore. The Benson Ford Ship House in Put-in-Bay, Ohio got there after Frank J. Sullivan purchased the boat in the early 1980s after the boat got decommissioned. Sullivan envisioned a summer home for his family with the boat, which the Ford family originally used to transport iron ore and other materials across the Great Lakes.
Koe in de Kost: Earth House, Netherlands
Check out an Earth house complete with a grass roof set in the Netherlands. The interior includes recycled items but the real treat might be the setting. The house sits on a farm and those who stay there can take part in the work on the farm by helping milk cows, feeding cows, gardening or even running the tractor.
747 Wing House
We've seen boats become houses but how about an old Boeing 747? That's right, it exists—in California. Architect David Randall Hertz completed the project for Francie Rehwald, who spent $26,000 on the decommissioned plane. The house sits on the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains and needed a helicopter to deliver the wing and other construction pieces because of the remote location. The wing serves as the roof and after delivering it by helicopter, it actually cost less than conventional roofing materials.
Concrete Dome Home
This property in Minnesota features a concrete dome home that totals 6,400 square feet. It's spray foam insulated and creates a striking image from afar.
'There was an old woman … '
This California home will stir up some old nursery rhyme thoughts with its shoe-like design. It was designed back in 1976 and features unique interior art and design.
Over in Geyserville, California, Lord of the Rings fans will get a kick out of this Hobbit-inspired home. It's built with adobe bricks from the property and features a living roof. It even has an adobe oven for cooking pizzas.
Architect Piet Blom designed a series of cube houses in the Netherlands set at an angle to optimize the space inside. These are located in Rotterdam and there are others in Helmond. The houses are around 1,000-square-feet and are meant to resemble an abstract forest. The homes are three stories tall and have an open kitchen and living room on the first floor, a bathroom and two bedrooms on the second floor and some have rooftop gardens.
The Spaceship Home
The Spaceship Home is a prefabricated home that takes 14 weeks to construct. The 1,033-square-foot home contains an airplane staircase in the same vein as the Futuro. It's made of solid wood modules that rest on a metal structure that rises 13 feet off the ground. Features of the home can be controlled from a mobile device, so it comes as a smart home.
Sanzhi UFO Houses
The Sanzhi UFO houses, also known as the Sanzhi pod houses or Sanzhi Pod City, located northwest of Wanli District , were a set of abandoned and never completed pod-shaped buildings in Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Suuronen also created the Venturo, which these structures bear a close resemblance. His design served as inspiration for a plastics manufacturer in Taiwan. The site was owned by Hung Kuo Group and construction started in 1978 but the project stalled in 1980. The houses were demolished in 2010 to make way for a seaside resort and water park.
Crazy House, Delat, Vietnam
Đặng Việt Nga designed and constructed the Hằng Nga guesthouse in Vietnam, which has attracted attention since its opening in 1990. From the outside it looks like a giant tree but it gets pretty surreal after that. It gets described as a fairy tale house and it uses few right angles. It boasts 10 themed guest rooms like a kangaroo room and an eagle room.