Weird or Wonderful? 22 Homes That Are Anything But Ordinary

Homebuyers and renters who dare to be different often put down roots in alternative dwellings that others eschew. Even if your inner compass tells you to steer clear of the offbeat or the outlandish, you may enjoy window-shopping these eccentric estates with architecture and decor that defy all conventions.

  1. Sky-high Single Family Home in Prescott, Arizona

    Tall house

    Zillow Digs home in Prescott, AZ

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the Falcon Nest, a ten-story dwelling whose 124-foot stature makes it the tallest single family home in North America. High glass ceilings and walls in the 2,000-foot solarium are equipped with passive solar technology, while the sky-high lookout tower makes homeowners feel like they're on top of the world.

    Related: The 19 Most Photographed Homes in America

  2. Desert Sculpture House in Glorieta, New Mexico

    Desert sculpture house

    Zillow Digs home in Glorieta, NM

    Resembling the base of a rocket ship, this out-of-this-world abode wows passersby with streamlined architecture that blends seamlessly with the secluded desert landscape. Glass panels give the pyramid-like pad 360-degree views of the radiant red rocks of the foothills of Sangre de Cristos.

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

  3. Seashell House in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

    Seashell house

    Vacationers scouring for seashells on the coast of Cancun can find a larger-than-life replica at this paradisiacal property on nearby Isla Mujeres. It's not just the outside of the house that's shell-tastic; the seaside theme can be seen indoors in almost every corner. Put your ear up close to the "shells" and you may just hear the gentle sound of waves from the Gulf of Mexico.

    Related: 15 Tiny Beach Bungalows for Your Next Vacation

  4. "Cubehouse" in Rotterdam, Netherlands

    Cube house

    Located in bustling central Rotterdam, these out-of-the-box cube houses turn heads with their eye-popping yellow facades and exacting engineering. Situated at a gravity-defying angle atop a series of sturdy support pillars, the cubes give homeowners the feeling of falling forward when they look out the window—even as they're safe in the structurally sound home.

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

  5. "Earthship" in Taos, New Mexico

    Earthship house

    Believe it or not, a single pair of human hands built this extraterrestrial-inspired off-grid estate dubbed the "Earthship." The three-year-long effort paid off; the well-defined gravel entryway and combination greenhouse/mudroom are simple yet stunning against the surrounding desert mesa.

    Related: The 22 Weirdest Town Names Ever Put on the Map

  6. Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood, Idaho

    Dog house

    Canine lovers and their four-legged friends will have no qualms about being put in the doghouse when they stay at Dog Bark Park. The giant dog-shaped domicile and its pint-sized companion are mirror replicas of beagles. For unobscured views of the peaceful prairie lands of Cottonwood, simply climb up the stairs to the dog's back, where a spacious open-air balcony awaits.

    Related: The 20 Best (and Most Unusual) B&Bs in America

  7. Hobbit House in Orondo, Washington

    Hobbit house

    Tolkien fans seeking a hobbit home of their own don't have to trek to the mythical Shire to find it. This eco-friendly house tucked into the Columbia River Gorge lets average-sized inhabitants enjoy the humble hobbit lifestyle. Frodo and his pals would envy the dwelling's exquisite architectural flourishes, from the circular wooden door to the fanciful cobblestone path.

    Related: 7 Fictional Towns You Can Visit in Real Life

  8. "Trullo Edera" in Ostuni, Brindisi, Italy

    Conical house

    Part yurt and part fairy tale castle, the "Trullo Edera" strikes an imposing silhouette with its conical construction and gnarly wooden enclosure. Capping off the traditional Apulian dry stone hut is a turret that adds height, dimension, and whimsy to the old-world-inspired digs.

    Related: Tour the 14 Most Expensive Airbnbs in the World

  9. Converted Airplane in Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef, France

    Airplane house

    Frequent flyers may enjoy crashing for the night in this permanently grounded plane. The jumbo jet may have sailed the skies in a former life, but its passenger seats have since been converted into a cozy lounge and sleeping area, while the cockpit has been transformed into a modern bathroom with all the essentials. When you're ready to disembark, head down the steps of the wooden deck toward the "Baggage Exit" sign.

    Related:13 Amazing Floating Homes Around the World

  10. Dome Home in New Paltz, New York

    Round house

    Zillow Digs home in New Paltz, NY

    While it maintains a low profile in the sprawling 18-acre forest at the foot of the Mohonk Preserve, this humble dome home is a true architectural and engineering feat. The round residence can accommodate an entire family in its 2,300-square-foot interior and can keep them entertained with a moving base that can rotate via passive solar energy. A wrap-around cedar deck and a custom-built spiral staircase leading to the second-story library add personal touches that make the house a home.

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

  11. Queen Anne's Lace Lookalike in Pittsford, New York

    Mushroom house

    Zillow Digs home in Pittsford, NY

    While the cap-like appearance of this oddball building has earned it the nickname "Mushroom House," the dwelling was not designed to resemble the famous fungi. Architect James Johnson actually modeled the central pod of the home, along with its graceful veins and supporting stem, after Queen Anne's Lace, an ornate white flowering plant.

    Related: 18 Victorian Homes We Love

  12. Howden Castle in Ben Lomond, California

    Castle house

    Zillow Digs home in Lomond, CA

    You don't have to venture to Europe to spy a bona fide castle—just head west to California for a glimpse of the grand Howden Castle. The structure's rose-colored stone facade makes it fit for a princess who wants a fairy tale home in the midst of a redwood forest.

    Related: 18 Castles You Can Buy (for Less Than You Think)

  13. Converted Caboose in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

    Train house

    Zillow Digs home in Sturgeon Bay, WI

    The crew of this Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway train has long since retired, but the caboose where employees once congregated has been converted into this rare summer home. Most vestiges of the red boxcar's former life on the railroad remain, from the conductor's cupola to the brakeman's ladder and wheel.

    Related: The 18 Best Tiny Houses on Wheels

  14. Contemporary Condominium in Guilford, Connecticut

    Contemporary condo

    Zillow Digs home in Guilford, CT

    It's easy to mistake this surreal structure for a monorail, but the curious construction is actually a residential building. The 1,672-square-foot condominium casts a striking silhouette with its long and lean shape and array of glittering windows. The industrial interior only adds to the cutting-edge vibe of the building.

    Related: America's 50 Most Exclusive Neighborhoods 

  15. "Mushroom House" in Cincinnati, Ohio

    Artsy mushroom house

    Zillow Digs home in Cincinnati, OH; via kt

    The "Mushroom House" of Cincinnati marries an eclectic mix of wood, stained glass, shell, metal, and ceramics to achieve an eccentric yet cozy old-world manor. The unexpected shapes, sizes, colors, and textures that make up the circular entry steps, shingled deck rails, and prismatic loft only add to the mismatching appeal of the residence.

    Related: 17 Log Cabins We Love

  16. Converted Windmill in Abcoude, Utrecht, Netherlands

    Windmill house

    Dating to the late-nineteenth century, this now defunct windmill was reborn as a bed-and-breakfast for travelers seeking one-of-a-kind accommodations. Even though the home has been modernized to meet the needs of today, the careful preservation of original mill details, from its four elegant sails to its gently sloping mansard roof, gives a nod to nostalgia for the past.

    Related: You'll Never Believe What These 6 Amazing Homes Used to Be

  17. Mirrored House in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Mirror house

    Your eyes don't deceive you; the colorful reflections you see in this striking home are not an illusion but the work of the countless mirrors that clad the entire home exterior, including the landscaping. As if that's not enough, the same striking theme continues indoors, where ceiling and wall mirrors, coupled with glass chandeliers, evoke an offbeat ambiance.

    Related: 11 Crazy Colorful Homes We Love

  18. Container Home in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

    Container house

    Believe it or not, this wood-clad lodging got its start in life as a shipping container. In lieu of freight, the container home now accommodates a modern bedroom and bathroom separated by sleek glass walls. A porthole carved into the side panel of the container shines light into the unconventional abode.

    Related: The Most Expensive Trailer Parks in America

  19. Flintstone House in Hillsborough, California

    Flintstone house

    Zillow Digs home in Hillsborough, CA

    Architect William Nicholson took a page right out of history (if only a fictional one) when he designed this domed home, which bears a striking resemblance to the humble Bedrock home of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Under the red and violet roofs comprising steel-reinforced inflated balloons, spare interiors with textured white walls, clay-colored steps, and oblong window frames, make the cave-like home an enviable hideout for any modern family.

    Related: 11 Homes Built to Survive the End of the World

  20. "The Witch's House" in Beverly Hills, California

    Witch house via Bobak Ha'Eri

    The artfully dilapidated look of this storybook home was a deliberate design choice by the art director-turned-architect who conceived it. Harry Oliver thought up the wickedly cool house after decades on the sets of Hollywood films. This explains the array of fantastical features, including an eerie but enchanting lopsided roof and mottled yellow siding overgrown with unkempt shrubbery.

    Related: 16 Iconic American Homes Torn Down Before Their Time

  21. Haines' Shoe House in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania

    Shoe house via auvet

    Mahlon Haines designed this boot-shaped house in 1948 as an unusual advertisement for his shoe business. The oddball marketing concept must have inspired the imagination of the locals since the five-story, 25-foot-tall structure still stands as a private residence. The living room lies in the toe of the shoe, the heel plays host to a kitchen, the ankle makes room for two bedrooms, and the instep accommodates an ice cream shop.

    Related: Rescued from Ruin: 9 Extreme Home Makeovers You Need to See

  22. Glass House in Bridgehampton, New York

    Modern house

    Zillow Digs home in Bridgehampton, NY

    Despite its secluded surroundings, this 7,354-square-foot estate in The Hamptons feels bright, open, and inviting thanks to the unrestrained use of glass panels that boldly stand in for walls. An open-air upper balcony defined by intersecting wood and metal beams turns the roof into livable space.

    Related: 14 Spaces That Blur the Line Between Indoors and Outdoors

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