Design Architecture

12 Incredible Homes That Were Built By Their Owners

Building a custom home isn’t for the faint of heart, but across the globe there are daring DIYers who take on the challenge, roll up their sleeves, and raise the roof on their own home with their own two hands. Here are 12 of the most impressive owner-built homes we’ve ever seen. Maybe they'll inspire you to DIY a dwelling of your own!

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Dome Home in Lafayette, California

Zillow Digs home in Lafayette, CA

Built over seven years by a California family, this geodesic dome is rife with bespoke charms like recycled wood walls, triangular windows, and custom stained glass. While the modestly sized property takes up only 1,710 square feet of space, an expansive window looking out onto a tree-covered hillside makes the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home feel limitless.

Related: No Place Like Dome: 14 Homes That Are Anything But Square

Beach Retreat in Oceanside, Oregon

VRBO in Oceanside, OR

Handcrafted from wood, this space-smart dwelling comfortably sleeps eight, with accommodations in the two-bedroom main suite, a loft, and a private studio. Whenever the need for fresh air hits, residents can lounge on the property’s two decks, which enjoy a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. It’s the perfect refuge from Oregon’s touristy coastal towns!

Related: 15 Tiny Beach Bungalows for Your Next Vacation

Log Cabin in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

VRBO in Pilot Mountain, NC

A crafty builder constructed this log cabin from 150-year-old milled timber and tobacco barn logs. The result is a resilient and versatile 1,380-square-foot dwelling that’s primed for lazy day activities, from sipping lemonade on the covered porch to gazing at Sauratown Mountain from the wooden deck.

Related: 17 Log Cabins We Love

Houseboat in Seattle, Washington

Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

This floating home in Seattle packs two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an overhead deck into a mere 1,100 square feet. The masterful architectural plan was devised by previous owner and builder Matthew Pontius, who infused the interior with natural materials, using reclaimed wood in construction and denim scraps for insulation.

Related: 10 Space-Saving Ideas to Steal from Houseboats

Tiny Home in Everett, Washington

Tiny homes come with a significantly shorter build time and, consequently, an earlier move-in date than most stick-built structures. This woodsy retreat was constructed in just seven months—but as evidenced by the spacious sofa beach, folding desk, and wine barrel shower, plenty of appealing amenities found they way into the pint-size dwelling in that short time.

Related: Our 25 Favorite Tiny Houses of All Time

Hobbit Home in Santa Barbara, California

Zillow Digs home in Santa Barbara, CA

Calling all Lord of the Rings fans! The fictitious Shire springs to life in this hobbit-inspired home that features a fireplace and a potter’s kiln, all in a mere 500 square feet. Original owner and builder Richard Barrett made the dwelling using a borrowed brick-making machine and mud that was dug up when the foundation was excavated. Despite these humble beginnings, the cozy retreat last sold for $1.199 million!

Related: 7 Fictional Towns You Can Visit in Real Life

Hut in Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle, Rhône-Alpes, France

While passersby could mistake it for an oversize hornet’s nest, this unassuming abode is actually a homemade treehouse in the southeastern French commune of Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle. The interior of the one-bedroom, one-bath dwelling draws inspiration from its woodland surroundings, and the floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows capture views of nearby Mont Blanc.

Related: Check In: 10 Offbeat Hotels Worth a Special Trip

Shaker House in Red Hook, New York

VRBO in Red Hook, New York

Architect Fritz Sulzer had, to say the least, a leg up when he set out to build his own retirement home in Red Hook, New York, on a forested lot about 90 miles north of the Big Apple. The culmination of his 20-year construction process is the Shaker House, which consists of a palatial main house and a guest house that offer a combined 6,014 square feet of space. The current owners enjoy six bedrooms, an exposed rock spa, and an impressive pool with two waterfalls.

Related: The 30 Best Towns to Move to for Retirement

Swiss-Style Sanctuary in Seattle, Washington

Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

Built in 1916, this handmade home in Seattle represents Swiss craftsmanship at its finest. Modern-day homeowners will spy a hint of Europe around every corner of the 2,340-square-foot abode, from the wooden beams to the picturesque grotto.

Related: The 19 Most Photographed Homes in America

Wooden Home in Oroville, Washington

Zillow Digs home in Oroville, WA

Living off the land seems easy in this rustic-inspired residence, which comes complete with four irrigated acres of roaming space. But when you grow weary of the wild, you need only step inside the wood-clad 2,597-square-foot home, where hours of action await in the fully wired theater.

Related: Tour the 14 Most Expensive Airbnbs in the World

“Owl House” in Hightown, United Kingdom

Although the curved silhouette of this novel nest was inspired by its nocturnal namesake, Owl House is as intriguing on the inside as it is on the outside. Credit for the home’s award-winning blueprint goes to its owner and builder, who wisely equipped the one-bedroom rental property with a driftwood double bed, a green roof, and a shower room.

Related: Living Remotely: 12 Stunning Homes in the Middle of Nowhere

Stucco Home in Ferndale, New York

Zillow Digs home in Ferndale, NY

This 1,200-square-foot residence in Ferndale, New York, boasts a simple but elegant milk-white stucco exterior. A screened porch and a rubber roof invite shade while blocking harsh UV rays, keeping the two-bedroom interior cool and comfortable.

Related: America’s 50 Most Infamous Homes