Top Five: Bizarre Houses


4 minute read

July 4, 2011

Okay, so I’m not the first person on the Internet to come up with a list like this.

But I have a folder on my computer for “Ugly Houses” in Toronto (that I likely can’t share – since I pull these images from MLS), and another for “Weird Houses” across the globe.

It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are my faves…

#5: The Upside Down House – Szymbark, Poland

As amazing as this house is, I don’t consider it to be #1 because nobody lives in the structure.  This home was created strictly as a tourist attraction.

Built by a Polish businessman and philanthropist named Daniel Czapiewski, the home is said to be making a statement about the Communist era, but of the million-and-one websites on the Internet that have photos of this home, not a single person can elaborate on exactly what this supposed statement is.

Here’s a joke for your five-year-old to tell at school tomorrow, “What do an upside-down house and the Communist era have in common?”  Then, have your child record, answers and hopefully we can figure this thing out.

Perhaps this “philanthropist,” who I’m sure isn’t sharing all the buckets of cash this tourist trap brings in, is trying to tell us that communism will ultimately turn the world upside down.  That’s how I feel about socialism, except the latter has more bicyclists…

Many other people have copied this model of housing over the last few years, including a complete wing-nut in Germany who built an upside-down house, AND, even nailed the furniture to the ceiling (floor) to make the upside down vibe more “authentic.”

#4: Mushroom House – Cincinnati, Ohio USA

What’s not to like about this house?

First and foremost – this house is on a prominent intersection in a major American city.  This isn’t some weirdo’s fantasy built out in the middle of nowhere – in some cheap wooded area where tourists flock by the bus-load.  No, this house is at the corner of Erie Avenue and Tarpis Avenue in downtown Cincy!

Secondly, this mushroom has character!  See those sunglasses?  That’s the sign of a mushroom with a sense of humor, and a sense of fashion.

Thirdly, those sunglasses aren’t designer, which also indicates that this mushroom isn’t a snob.  No Prada or D&G for this fungi!

And lastly, there is a “FOR SALE” sign in the bottom of this photo – once again demonstrating how reasonable it is for somebody to say, “I have a great idea,” and follow it up by pouring money into a house shaped like a mushroom…

#3: Hovercraft House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Built by, no surprise here, an architect, this home housed both the man’s person residence as well as his studio.

However, the studio work-space was built below ground into the actual earth itself in order to reduce noise.

I’m no expert, but I don’t think there’s a lot of noise in a hovercraft that doesn’t actually hover!  Not to mention, if you are crazy enough to build a house shaped like a hovercraft, I don’t think you’re going to have many neighbours, and thus noise will be the least of your worries.

But this house strikes me on a person level since my favourite toy as a child was the G.I. Joe hovercraft seen here:

This was the best GI Joe toy ever made, although the Cobra Fang was great since you could get a whole fleet of them and they were pretty low-maintenance.

I used to put about 10-12 Joe’s in the front section of the craft where the barge doors go down, and then I’d have them storm the beaches where they’d get blown to pieces by enemy forces.  I’d have them draw straws to see who got to land on Omaha beach, and who got to land on Juno beach.  It was the difference between life and death.

#2: Pole House – Victoria, Australia

I like this house because it just screams “practicality.”

Clearly designed by a man, this house is a victory for women everywhere who have been told not to wear high-heels on the morning of a flight and that perhaps flats would be a more logical choice to walk through three airports.  Ladies – take note – and cite this house as an example of how irrational men can be.

If there is anything more ridiculous than a house built on a pole, I’d like to see it.  Whether we’re talking about simple things, like getting up the pole and into the place you call “home,” or more important things, like whether or not this house can withstand gusts of wind and how sturdy that pole is; this house is a perfect example of “thinking outside the box” being taken one step too far.

#1: The Spaceship House – Chattanooga, Tennessee

This one is my favourites because as a society, we have a way of equating crazy people with “space.”

Think of how many movies and TV shows feature some weirdo that claims to have been abducted by aliens.  I was watching Independance Day last week and the whole point to Randy Quaid’s character is that all the town-folk think he’s nuts because he believes he was taken by aliens years earlier and probed….among other things.

The jokes are ever-flowing; think of tin-foil hats, or the term “space cadet.”

So how crazy could you be in order to build a house like a spaceship?


This home in appropriately named “Signal Mountain,” near Chattanooga, Tennessee, was built in 1973 at a cost of $250,000.  The home’s creator, Curtis King, is said to have built the home for his son, who likely said something like, “Geeee……..thanks, Dad.  Ummm……so, anyways, um, how are you feeling these days?  Has Mom been refilling your medication?”  After which they likely sat down to an imaginary meal of neutrons and moon rocks.

For those real estate junkies that have to know what’s inside, fine: the house is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom of about 2,000 square feet and has a retractable staircase (like the one that aliens come down…) that is the main entrance to the home.

The house was sold in 2007 for $165,000, clearly demonstrating how weak the real estate market is for weird homes built by obvious lunatics.

Adding insult to injury, the home was sold again in 2008 for $119,000 to a person that said, “Even though the real estate market has quadrupled since 1973, and yet this house has dropped in value by 50%, I’m going to purchase this in hopes that my childhood dog, Farfel, magically re-appears in the escape pod.”

The moral of the story, and all the stories above – maybe buy something with a little more “curb appeal”…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Graham

    at 11:43 am

    At least house 1 and 2 will be useful when the inevitable zombie apocalypse occurs! Just retract the stairs into your spaceship and you’ll be safe until you run out of food and begin cooking Farfel (who magically reappeared just in time).

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

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