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Does Somebody Really Live There? Crazy and Amazing Houses in America

As I was driving from San Diego to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I saw a massive house at the very top of a huge mountain. The house was overlooking the freeway and had no other houses nearby. I wondered who lives there and what it would be like to drive for 15 minutes down a windy road before you even see another house, let alone get to the grocery store. What a different and interesting life it must be.

A week later while taking my son on a train ride in Old Poway Park (San Diego) I noticed the Nelson House, a historic house built in the 1800s which still stands. Throughout the United States there are old houses, amazing houses and strange houses that make me wonder, “Does somebody really live there?” Here are a few of the interesting amazing houses I’ve found.

Beer Can House

beer can house

Of course a list of crazy and amazing houses wouldn’t be complete without a house covered in beer cans. Just how does an agent comp that value out by the way? The Beer Can House was created by John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer in 1968. It has now become a Houston, Texas, landmark. John Milkovisch originally started inlaying marbles, rocks and metals into concrete as landscaping around his home to cut out lawn mowing from his routine. However, he began to add flattened beer cans to his actual home for decorative reasons. John says he enjoys watching others’ reactions as they drive by, or more often, screech to a halt.

The Montesilo House

Beer Can House

The Montesilo house is a home that has won the AIA Western Mountain Regional Distinguished Building Award. It is both an art form and a proven illustration of sustainability. This home is made of two grain silos, modified together to form a stunning yet “green” home. While the shape of the house is of course unique, the interior is absolutely gorgeous. From an upgraded kitchen to stairways that curve along with the shape of the house and even a curved cut out space for sleeping, this house sure is interesting!

The Steel House

steel house 1

The Steel House is located in Lubbock, Texas, and designed by architectural sculptor and artist, Robert Bruno. It has earned international accolades as well as publicity in art, architecture and numerous professional publications. While sculpting his work of art, Bruno noted that he wanted the shape of the home to be neither animal nor machine, but rather something in between. This home went through many changes and modifications as Bruno built it over the span of 35 years. Most notable of the steel home is that it is built on four legs, which help to reduce the impact and disruption on the earth’s environment.

The “Up” House

up house 2

It does exist! If you haven’t yet seen the Pixar movie “Up,” I highly suggest you rent it. Not only does it have some absolutely hilarious scenes that adults and kids alike can laugh at, but the iconic house which the whole movie revolves around now really exists! The house was built in 2011 and is located in Herriman, Utah. And yes, people really do live there. It was purchased shortly after building was complete for $400,000. Not only does the exterior of the house resemble that of the house in the movie, but just about everything inside of it is similar as well. From a mural on the nursery wall that was seen in the movie to the movie characters’ names (Carl and Ellie) painted on the mailbox out front, it’s easy to see why this house has attracted over 45,000 visitors so far.

A Real-Life Hobbit House

hobbit house 2

Speaking of movies, how would you like to live in a real-life Hobbit house? This 2008 build sits on a 20-acre plot in Montana. It was originally built as a guest house for friends and family. The fact that it sits underground makes it efficient for heating and cooling, according to the owner. The grounds also feature a troll bridge and a Gandalf lawn ornament. Oh, and all you “Lord of the Rings” freaks, this one is now a vacation rental. It goes for $245 a night, or $1,365 a week on HomeAway.com. Aaaaand … booked!

World’s Safest (and Ugliest?) House

tsui house

Located in Berkeley, Calif., this home was designed by Eugene Tsui to be the “world’s safest house.” This 2,000-square foot house was built with an aerodynamic shape as well as cement blocks reinforced with both concrete and steel. The result is a home which is said to be both wind and fire resistant as well as retrofit for earthquakes. Even the interior of the home has safety as the number one goal. The kitchen cabinets and shelves throughout the house are built in to the structure of the home so that in the event of an earthquake, they are less likely to fall or break.

Does your house have any crazy features? Which one of these houses is your favorite? P.S. I could really see myself living in the Hobbit house, for a few days anyway.

Published or updated on May 13, 2013

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About Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis is a real estate broker in San Diego, Calif. She enjoys helping both buyers and sellers and was voted one of the top 10 best real estate agents in San Diego in 2013 by Union Tribune readers. In her spare time she talks about real estate on a local radio show and manages her website RealtorSD.com.


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