By: Eric Yosomono, Mike Cooney July 12, 2011
Part of the appeal of being a homeowner is the ability to customize your house the way you like it. For some, that means adding a deck, repainting or expanding the bathroom. For others, it means entering the realm of madness and becoming its eternal ruler. We know all of these houses make you want to scream, “Fake!” but we promise: They’re all astoundingly, inexplicably real.
The economy is tough right now, and we all have to cut back. For most folks, that means going out less or securing a lucrative second job in the organ-harvesting market. To others, it means building your entire home in a parking space
so tight you might circle the block to look for a better one. Thirty-nine-year-old Fuyuhito Moriya decided to do just that, saving a lot of money and a ton of virginity by purchasing a 30-square-meter parking space on which to build a three-story home for himself … and his mother.
To make it work, the Moriyas undertook every space-saving measure imaginable, like using a triangular staircase instead of the normal spiral one (thus saving precious inches), stashing appliances in sliding cabinets and even sharing a bedroom. Though it looks like a bizarre prison crammed into the space between dimensions, the house is functional and livable — and it only set Moriya back a measly $500,000.
That’s right: In Tokyo, a cool half a million dollars gets you a house that looks like an ancient booby trap in mid-crush and a bed that you have to share with your mother.
Just Room Enough
This house is cutely titled Just Room Enough
. At first sight, it looks a picture taken 30 seconds before somebody died in a flood, but the structure is actually built on an island exactly the size of the house. Located between Canada and America on the St. Lawrence River, Just Room Enough was bought by the Sizeland family in the 1950s. They purchased the little parcel of land in the hopes of having somewhere to go to to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and they figured an inaccessible island fortress with literally no earth around it on which strangers could stand would work nicely. Instead, due to the novelty of the house, the island quickly became a tourist magnet.
Somewhere in the river, irony is giggling in its tiny rowboat.
House Between Two Rocks
This real-life Flintstones house stands in Nas Montanhas de Fafe, Portugal
. It was built in 1974 and used as a family’s rural retreat. Even though the house is next to several immense wind turbines, it still has no running water or electricity
. Instead, all of their appliances have been replaced by repurposed animals that spout smarmy one-liners like “it’s a living” when in use.
Once the home started appearing on obnoxious “comedy” websites running lists of stupid crap like “weird houses,” hundreds of tourists showed up at the remote location, some even trying to break in. Now all windows in the Boulder House have been converted to bulletproof glass, and the front door was replaced with a slab of solid steel. See? You really can have it both crazy ways: You can live like a character from The Lord of the Rings while stillpreparing for the zombie apocalypse.
Speaking of both those kinds of lunacy …
Ultramodern Hobbit House
The Hobbit House stands in Switzerland, near the famed Vals thermal baths
. The building was supposedly built this way — sunk into the mountain — so as not to disturb the natural environment …
… of typical suburbia?
The home is only accessible via a secret entrance in a nearby barn or by, you know, walking up to the big conspicuous hole in the ground and jumping in.
“Watch out for that hole, dude.” “What h–” Thump!
You might wonder how the Safety House
in Warsaw, Poland got its name if you catch it when it’s open for business. But check it out after something spooks the inhabitants …
There’s nothing anywhere saying it was specifically designed to be zombie-proof, but what else would the owners possibly be trying to keep out? Last time we checked, Jehovah’s Witnesses could be deterred by some firm words and impromptu nudity — a transforming concrete bunker just seems like overkill. The Safety House lacks no essential feature for the paranoid psychotic: The exterior walls open and shut at the touch of a button so that the residents can live somewhat normally during the day, then shutter up for the night (or whenever the trees start whispering). The immovable walls are made of pure concrete, while the sliding portions are made of lighter — but plenty strong — steel. And until the zombie apocalypse does arise, the massive security door doubles as a projection screen!
The house also features a retractable drawbridge, secret openings and a sliding security gate that seals off the entire property — not just the home. BAM! While those suckers outside have their entrails feasted upon, the owners are playing bocce and disc golf safe behind the walls of their Paranoia Cube.
This settlement on Tatooine — sorry, this “totally a home on Earth, for real” called the Bubble Palace was conceived in the 1970s by architect Antti Lovag. He was commissioned to design the home near Tourrettes-sur-Loup in France by an eccentric wealthy industrialist, but when the deal fell through, designer Pierre Cardin, the fashion guru who created the bubble dress
, took on the house in 1989. That’s right: Not one, but two separate people not only immediately loved the idea of living in a bubble bath but also were actually in the position to finance said sprawling bubble compound.
All the rooms in the villa are round, with no straight edges anywhere in the house — not even the beds. Cardin says
it’s because, “The circle is my symbol; the sphere represents the creation of the world and the mother’s womb. Holes, cones, breasts — I’ve always used them in my designs.” The architect who built the house says
it’s because straight lines are “an aggression against nature … human beings have confined themselves to cubes full of dead ends and angles that impede our movement and break our harmony.”
So there you go, totally legit reasoning: They hadto build this house so they could live inside a boob and put an end to the race war against Gaia.
This is just one example of the typical dwelling used by the Korowai tribe of New Guinea, who had no idea the outside world even existed until 1970. Instead of building treehouses 10 feet off the ground for their kids, stalling out halfway through and just living with a plank in their trees for the next few decades, the Korowai build their treehouses like real men: To the finish, and up to 165 feet in the air. They do this to avoid predators, floods and ant swarms, and also because it just looks … so awesome.
Seriously, we would abandon our civilized lives in a heartbeat to live in that thing. We would take zip lines everywhere, we would befriend an Ewok and name him Jarvis, and we would spend the rest of our days fighting lions together.
Sidewalk Egg House
He built this pod on a bamboo frame insulated with wood chips, with bags of sprouting grass on the outside. Total Cost: $964. Though quite small, the pod is big enough to house a bed, a water tank, a night table and a crushing sense of claustrophobia. Dai says he typically works at his architectural firm until midnight and only uses his home for sleep anyway, allowing him to save a ton of money that he can hopefully use one day to escape that incredibly sad-sounding existence.
Broken Column House
The aristocracy in pre-revolutionary France had way too much time, way too much money and by the looks of things, way too much laudanum. The hot new thing to do as a drug-addled European hedonist back in the day was build yourself a themed garden, like the Desert de Retz, constructed by aristocrat Francois Nicolas Henri Racine de Monville
. The centerpiece was the Broken Column mansion, designed to look like it was all that remained of a column from a gargantuan, destroyed, ancient temple.
It wasn’t just decoration, either: Monville lived in the building himself and hosted esteemed individuals like Thomas Jefferson there. Jefferson visited the Desert while serving as a minister to France and borrowed some design elements of the Broken Column for the rotunda of the University of Virginia.
“Yes! This is just the kind of crazy bullshit America needs to thrive as a foundling nation!” — Thomas Jefferson