World's Wildest Houses XI
A pretzel factory transformed into a house, walls made from salvaged cars, and more in our new crop of remarkable real estate
Here at This Old House, we are no strangers to adaptive reuse, salvaged building materials, or tiny homes. The fascinating dwellings in this latest edition of our World's Wildest Houses series truly prove that houses come in all shapes, sizes—and building materials. Read on to tour eight rare residences inside and out.
What appears to be just a modish house in a picturesque neighborhood is really a star example of eco-friendliness and salvage style. Designed by Leger Wanaselja Architecture, the exterior of the McGee House incorporates salvaged car parts. Over 100 car roofs make up the upper walls, and side windows from junkyard Dodge Caravans form the awnings.
A tapered, curved building allows for maximum sunlight inside. The shape also makes the two-bedroom residence appear much smaller than its true 1,140-square-foot size. The interior boasts a host of other energy-efficient qualities such as solar power and Energy Star–rated (or better) appliances. All the finish wood, both inside and out (trim, counters, floors, fences, etc.), is repurposed from salvaged wood.
As can be seen through the large living room window, the lot is shared with a studio made from a shipping container, a prime example of adaptive reuse. In the yard, drought-tolerant or food-producing plants take the place of water-hogging grass.
Tour a TOH TV project house in Austin, Texas, that received a five-star green rating.
The Highlands, Scotland
Want to take a camping vacation without roughing it? Try "glamping"—or glamorous camping. You certainly won't miss the tent upon arriving at the Ecopod Boutique Retreat in Scotland. This small pod-style dwelling has the best of both worlds: scenic castle and lake views, serene surroundings, and luxury accommodations.
For the cost of 150 euros per night, each pod can sleep two people. In addition to the high-style living area shown here, the interior contains a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious bath—with plush robes!
The pods are open year-round. To keep you warm, there are wood-burning stoves and a hot tub outside on a private deck.
For a trip even closer to nature, visit one of these 18 extravagant tree houses.
This tiny cabin in the woods of West Virginia was built by makers and artists Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz. Nick's family owns the land it sits on. It is named the Glass House after the wall constructed from salvaged windows, which the couple collected during their travels.
Inside, the open, sunlit space features an antique bed and an old but still working woodstove.
The cabin is situated facing a small pond on the property. The couple say this spot was the scene where they watched the sunset on their first date. Now they come here as a getaway from work in Milwaukee.
Reuse salvaged windows on a smaller scale by making a backyard greenhouse.
Often mistaken for a repair shop, this unassuming building is a house that was originally a pretzel factory. A husband-and-wife duo spent more than three years converting it into a two-bed, two-bath home.
Their kitchen shows off the couple's unique style, and vintage finds are prominent throughout the home. The red cabinets came new from IKEA, but they scored the circa-1940 pendant lights on eBay and the bar at an auction.
Use these five tips from TOH readers to score your most-wanted items on Craigslist.
Who doesn't love the look of an old-barn-turned-home? This residence may give the impression of a rugged, bare structure from afar, but up close one clearly can tell it is a contemporary house. Alchemy Architects designed this 21st-century home that incorporates charming elements of 19th-century barns. It is meant to accommodate a modern, full-time family while fitting into the landscape of a rural farming community.
There are three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms inside. Various ceiling heights allow for under and over spaces within the home, such as a lofted library open to the living room and the closed-off master bedroom above the kitchen.
The hanging pendants are designed to look like bags. They are made using stock parts and layered insect screens to soften the light from dimmable fluorescent bulbs.
Get our step-by-step instructions for using a barn pulley to make a wall-mount light fixture.
The warped facade was made to resemble the style of traditional barns. It overlaps and has airspaces. Shown here, on the covered porch, the airspaces allow sunlight to filter in. Facing west, the doors can be adjusted to either block afternoon sun or allow light to reach the kitchen.
This famed architectural landmark was recently put on the market. The shape of the three-story structure alone qualifies it as wild, but it boasts many other standout characteristics, such as 15 skylights, a continuous free-flowing open space, and a naturally cooled, earth-sheltered lower level. New owners can enjoy views of the mountain, cityscape, and surrounding native gardens from the wraparound porch. Each of the three levels features open spaces connected by a circular staircase running up the center.
Shown here is the interior of the 24-foot-diameter geodesic dome. The walls and ceiling are decked out in an array of blue colors, hexagonal shapes, and a large triangular window. An almost dizzying circular pattern embellishes the floor.
Jazz up a plain floor in your home with one of our favorite painted floor ideas.
If you've ever dreamed of living under the sea, here's your chance. Plans for the Floating Seahorse island project were unveiled earlier this year. It will be located four kilometers off the coast of Dubai and will be accessible by boat. The project gets its name from what will lie below. Beneath the homes, an artificial coral reef will be created as a protected area for endangered seahorses to live safely.
Each home will have three levels: one underwater, one at water level, and an upper deck. Shown here, the master-bedroom suite will be located on the lower level and will feature a view into the sea.
Not ready to move under the ocean? Create your own backyard water feature by starting an aqua garden.
Island of Värmdö, Stockholm, Sweden
Built into a steep hillside for added privacy, this dwelling, designed by Street Monkey Architects, is nearly invisible from the street. The camouflaging feature that sets it apart, however, is the grass-covered roof ramp, which is seen here covered in snow. "Pulkabacken" translates to English as "sledding hill." Kids lucky enough to live here have a built-in slope for wintertime fun!
Nestled into the hillside, the locale also has the added benefit of being closer to the sea. A wall of windows in the living area takes full advantage of the picturesque scene outside.
Readying your home for winter weather where you live? To keep from getting snowed in, see our best tips for snow and ice removal.