Would You Live in Any of These? World’s Wildest Houses
In this installment, explore the interior and exteriors of 8 wild houses, including a boat house made from one of Howard Hughes’ airplanes and an advance concept lounge-on-wheels that was unveiled at The Venice Biennial just a few months ago.
Reflection of Mineral
Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto Designs built this home for a client in 2006. As any city-dweller knows, parking can be a pain. So, Yamashita sliced into the structure to incorporate a covered car port.
Inside the Reflection of Mineral House
Much like the exterior of the home, the 480-square-foot interior features abstract corners and angles. Furniture, fixtures, and appliances (like the tub shown here) were all selected to follow the angular theme. The placement of windows and the skylight allows natural light to stream into every room of the house.
Mercury House One (Advanced Concept)
Architecture and Vision’s eco-friendly, high-tech mobile lounge was created with the environment in mind: Solar power elements and rainwater harvesting were incorporated into the design. Lighting, video, and sound components inside the unit—which was displayed at the Biennale di Venezia in 2009—are powered by solar cells in the skylights.
Inside Mercury House OneThe interior (shown at left, top)can be outfitted for just about any need, but according to the designers, it’s meant to be “a cross between a car and a living room.” The exterior shell (shown at left, bottom) is made of Carrara marble, which makes for a striking display when underlit at night.
It’s true: This castle is in Texas—not some town in southern Europe. The building has served as a Franciscan missionary church in the 1920s, then operated as the San Jose Church until the 1970s. Most recently, the place was an Eastern Orthodox church until the current owners purchased it in 2007.
Inside the Bouldin Castle
The current owners spent 1.5 years renovating the castle, based on copious notes and many photos taken during their travels through Europe. They added a lap pool “moat”, finished the basement, and of course, put in a few turrets.
Want to see the place for yourself? You can overnight at the castle for about $350 a night. For more information, visit homeaway.com
Casa Neverlandia is the home and pet project of homeowners James Talbot and Kay Pils. Talbot bought it for $13,000 in 1976, when it was just a tiny 1906 bungalow with no studs. Twenty years later, the little bungalow is now the colorful 3-story shown here. The exterior is covered with intricate details from ground to roof, including tile mosaics and materials from Talbot’s world travels.
Inside Casa Neverlandia
Talbot and Pils were committed to using salvage for the expansion of the property. Some interesting details in the house include a PVC-talk tube: The talk tube functions as an intercom, allowing for communication between the bedroom, kitchen, entryway, and bathroom.
The room shown here is what Talbot calls “one of the altars to the Four Elements.” The central shape was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s multi-layered arches and the firebox is a Rumford design.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Originally a 1939 plane that belonged to aviation innovator Howard Hughes, this Boeing 307 Stratoliner was one of only ten built before production was halted at the start of World War II. In the 1970s, realtor Kenneth W. London saved the flyer from the scrap heap, made it into a boat, and toured the Florida coast with it. It was during this tour that the current owner, David Drimmer, made an offer on the thing.
Inside the Cosmic Muffin
The 12-foot-wide cabin of the Cosmic Muffin has been remodeled to allow more space to move around, but certain key features remain intact, including original seating and a built-in bar. The boats controls can appropriately be found in the cockpit.
Inside the Boulder House
Wall-to-ceiling double-pane glass pocket doors open to a spacious patio, complete with fire pit. Inside there’s intricate glass tile work, a modern kitchen with professional stainless steel appliances, and beautiful custom seating in the living area. The house also features a 2-car insulated garage and workshop
DIY Meditation Temple
Aaron Westgate, an instructor at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont, built this DIY Meditation Temple for just $28. That money went exclusively to the purchase of fasteners, as all other building materials were salvaged. Westgate stacked chunky 2x4s to create the beautiful look of corbelled masonry. Shingles were cut from corrugated galvanized steel, then hand-flattened before being carefully secured atop the roof.
Inside the DIY Meditation Temple
The beauty of the stacked wood echoes inside, but there’s not much else to it. And, that’s kind of the point. The micro-construction is only meant to offer an isolated, dedicated space for meditation; there’s room for you, a seating cushion, and your thoughts.
This project, by Kavellaris Urban Design, was a finalist in the 2009 Australian Institute of Architects Awards. It was designed to challenge the urban constraints of orientation and sustainability. The unit moves fluidly from private to public, thanks to a facade that goes from opaque to translucent via “perforated” panels and glass walls that open to flood the place with natural light.
Please Fold Along the Perforations
Operable walls, doors, and curtains allow for a completely customizable environment in a limited inner city space. The interior of the two bedroom property features loads of built-in storage, solar hot water, polished-concrete and bluestone flooring, and a five-star energy rating. The stand-out building recently sold for over $700K.
Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village
Simi Valley, California
Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey upcycled tens of thousands of bottles to create 15 life-sized structures on a third of an acre. The mother of seven started the project in 1956 and went on building with bottles and mortar for the next 25 years.
Recognized by the art community as a significant accomplishment, Grandma’s Bottle Village was added to The National Register of Historic Places. Preservationists hope the honor will bring attention to the disrepair of the place, which was significantly damaged by an earthquake in 1994.
Baumraum, a treehouse design company, created this hideaway. It is accessible by way of a beautiful deck and catwalk, both constructed of Tatajuba wood. The zinc-topped unit rests atop sturdy steel stilts.
This unit was built for a couple to be a grown-up getaway. But Baumraum will make yours to order. “Our big focus in the planning and construction of the houses is careful handling of the trees,” architect Andreas Wenning says. Treehouses can feature custom skylights and beds, as shown here. They can also be wired for electricity or plumbed for a small bathroom.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Missouri
A 24-year-old named Ziggy built this eco-friendly cob house (also known as “The Gobcobatron”) for about $3,000. Over nine months and with the help of about 75 visitors and friends, Ziggy “stomped” 219 batches of cob—that is, he literally pounded his feet over a barely wet mixture of straw, clay, and sand, molding it into curvy walls. “When designing my cob house, it was a goal to keep building costs very low and obtain as many building materials as locally as possible,” the builder says.
DIY Mud Mansion
Ziggy provides a materials list and Recipe for Building a Cob House for those of you in search of an eco-friendly DIY challenge.
House on Water
Northwest Coast of the Greek Zante Island
Poland’s Formodesign made this concrete and steel floating home to be fully powered by surrounding water and sunlight. The structure cantilevers from a central core and is stabilized by a concrete counterweight.
High-Tech On Deck
Innovative technology complements the ultramodern living quarters: The luxury house-boat features water desalination, natural ventilation, an automated shading system, and more.
Den Haag, Netherlands
European tire crafters, Millegomme, created this structure for a client who wanted extra office space inside his house. Instead, builders Denis Oudendijk and Jan Korbesteam convinced the homeowner to put his “garden house” to better use. After demolishing the old structure, the team reused the wood they tore down, along with glass salvaged from a closed business nearby and recycled car tires from a local garage
The Tire House
The four-season office and storage space is accessed by a side door, and ventilation is provided by four rooftop registers. Skylights provide plenty of natural light. “During the first winter, wind, rain, and snow tested the prototype and encouraged us to build more independent units,” Oudendijk said.
House in the Clouds
This structure was built in 1923 to house the water supply for the village of Thorpeness. In an effort to make the tower less of an eyesore, architects Glencairne Stuart Ogilvie and F. Forbes Glennie decided to throw a charming little cottage on top of it, which would house the water tank itself. When the structure outlived its usefulness, the waterworks were removed in 1979 and the place now serves as an inn called House in the Clouds. It now sits adjacent to a golf course and features unparalleled views of the sea at Suffolk Heritage Coast.