The 1960s song “Little Boxes,” written by Malvina Reynolds, describes suburban homes as “little boxes made of ticky-tacky … little boxes all the same.” While this still seems true in modern suburbia, we don’t have to look too far to find some of North America’s most original houses.
From a spaceship to a giant shoe, check out 6 of the most amazing and un-ticky-tacky homes.
6 strikingly offbeat homes
1. Haines Shoe House — Hallam, Pennsylvania
I thought it was only elderly women with lots of children who lived in shoes, but I was misled by the fairy tales of my youth. Built in 1948, this huge boot served as home to Colonel Mahlon Nathaniel Haines to promote his shoe-selling empire. The 25-foot tall, 48-foot long house was specifically constructed near the Lincoln Highway to maximize exposure. Today the shoe serves as a bakery … specializing in choux pastries, I assume.
Photo by Beck Gusler is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped from original
2. Boeing 727-200 home — Hillsboro, Oregon
Arguably one of the greatest vehicle conversions ever, Bruce Campbell’s home is a brilliant living space of jumbo proportions. Campbell disassembled the plane and then rebuilt it using the woods as a backdrop. Plane living has its bonuses, including high resistance to severe weather, wings that act as balconies, and extra storage space in the cargo hold. This jumbo-jet genius has even influenced fellow plane dwellers to convert planes in Texas, Costa Rica, and the Netherlands.
3. Fallingwater — Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Commissioned in 1935 by Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater has become one of North America’s most beloved homes. Incredibly crafted over a real waterfall in western Pennsylvania, this house is a spectacular example of American vision and innovation. Wright’s elegant vision cost $155,000 at the time (approximately $2,677,000 in today’s currency) and has drawn over 4.5 million visitors since opening its doors to the public. Today, Fallingwater is a national treasure that represents the best of modern architecture.
4. One Log House — Garberville, California
After 8 months of blood, sweat, and tears, Art Schmock and his team finished hollowing out a 2,100-year-old redwood tree. And despite ending up with enough woodchips to build a regular 5-bedroom house, Schmock still chose to live in the log. But this isn’t just any treehouse. Consisting of a main room that’s approximately 7 feet high and 32 feet long, Schmock’s home has become a popular tourist attraction along Highway 101 just south of Garberville.
Photo by Rahul Nair is licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.0 / Cropped from original
5. Cave home — Festus, Missouri
So you want to live in a cave but you’re not Batman. I know how you feel. It’s a problem I face daily. But then again, nobody told me you could buy caves online. In 2004, Curt and Deborah Sleeper stumbled upon the cave while surfing eBay. Before they could say, “To the Batcave, Robin!” they’d bought their dream home. Today, the home remains a testament to creative living, online auctions, and incredibly sturdy roofs.
6. Spaceship house — Signal Mountain, Tennessee
If you really want to find a home of truly intergalactic scale, take a trip to the amazing spaceship house near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Providing nearly 2,000 square feet of space-age space (including 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a bar, and an entertainment area), this house would’ve been perfect for E.T. if he never made it home. Originally created by Curtis King as a gift for his son, the steel and concrete structure features round rooms and a retractable sci-fi staircase.
Photo by Joseph Novak is licensed under CC-BY-2.0 / Cropped from original
From offbeat to basic, make sure you’re covered
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