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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Live In


Normally, people are simple creatures to predict. Find the path of least resistance and they are most likely to take it. As it would appear, however, that is not the case when it comes to building domiciles. The things people will build houses out of will absolutely boggle your mind due to the sheer ridiculousness, inefficiency, or simply because they want to stand out. Suburban mini-mansions move aside for there are some new ridiculous means of creating shelter that are even more ridiculous.


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You didn’t know it existed? Yeah well James May just had to blow it up because nobody wanted it. He was trying to give it away, for free, but nobody stepped up and the house had to be taken off the land. In James’ new show “James May’s Toy Series” he revisits some incredible nostalgia, but he does it with a massive budget. May didn’t do it alone though. He had help from 1,200 volunteers who were “lucky” to even get tickets to help. In total, over 2,700 people applied to help out the Top Gear presenter relive every boy’s childhood dream of building a Lego house big enough to live in. In total, the house required about three-million individual LEGO bricks to complete and took less than a month to complete. The individual bricks were combined with 271 of it’s brothers to create a real size building block that the structure was eventually created from. After May spent a couple of nights in it, the house was demolished due to the fact that nobody wanted it. Transportation costs were cited as the main deterrent and just like that, one of the coolest things I ever could have imagined as a kid ceases to exist. On the brighter side though, all the bricks that went into the creation of the house were donated to charity.

Shipping Containers

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I know what you’re thinking, “I couldn’t live with 200 other people in a dark shipping container for two months” but that would be offensive and you should stop. Actually, the fact that ours is a society that imports so much more than it exports means that we have a great surplus of the old stackable cans. As a result, shipping containers are becoming really quite fashionable to live in. If you dug LEGO when you were a kid, you’re no doubt going to be marginally interested in jamming these things together. They’re popular because I guess the whole green lifestyle is becoming very fashionable. The building costs are significantly lower with a house built from a shipping container. You need far fewer people to assemble it, the frame is already intact, and sometimes, they look damn good. Shipping container homes have been around for quite some time now but they are just starting to garner mass appeal due to the recent absolute explosion of the green trend. It is really quite cost effective for you to purchase some shipping cans and get somebody to throw them together to make a really quite attractive place for living. You should check out some of the masterpieces that have been produced using excess shipping containers provided to us from other countries.

Troy McClure’s House


You remember that episode of “The Simpsons”, I think it was in the seventh season and called “A Fish Named Selma”. Troy McClure was all down on his luck and decided to marry Selma Bouvier as a publicity stunt, or should I say, hilarity stunt. I guess I shouldn’t have. Anyways, it includes many greats such as Dr. Zeus Dr. Zeus and Troy’s house up for sale. As it turns out, somebody actually lives in this ridiculous domicile. I don’t know whether the Simpsons copied this guy or vice versa, but either way, you can, theoretically, live in Troy McClure’s house. The house is called the “Chemosphere” and was built by John Lautner in the 1960’s in Hollywood California. Although the houses name sounds pretty cool, it has nothing to do with chemicals or spherical objects, rending it sort of uncool. As you can see, the house is still there and glorious. It has magnificent views of Hollywood and remains a staple of the area and John Lautner’s work.

The Simpson’s House

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While we’re on the topic, remember back in 1997 when Pepsi and FOX combined forces to build a $120,000 version of the house the Simpsons lived in? Those were the days. Anyways, I figured I’d get to the bottom of this and see if it was still there. Luckily, Google has endowed me with some pretty powerful tools and I was able to find the address of the house and google maps it. Sort of anticlimactically, they’ve painted it… The old pictures will do it justice and there is still a chance that some nut will restore it but it’s not really the Simpsons’ house anymore is it? I guess it’s not really the Simpsons’ house on the outside anymore (CONFORM!) I guess it could still be the same on the inside, right? Nevada’s lack of lawn in the front yard is sickening me. I have to get on to the next one.

A Free Spirit Sphere

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From the land of Lulu Lemon pants and more marijuana than you can shake a stick at, comes the incredible Free Spirit Spheres. Nestled deep in the west coast rainforest in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, the free spirit spheres are wooden spheres hung from the trees by small networks of ropes. Granted, the marketing and naming and basically everything about these things is amongst the cheesiest in the world. I think that if you called em weatherproof wooden balls in the trees I would lose my shit and get my sleeping bag ready for a treehouse sleepover of epic proportions. Regardless, the gold of the unique means of living shines through its awful naming. The spheres are available for purchase should you want to build your own but are mainly used for nightly rentals at “Free Spirit Spheres” in Qualicum beach as an alternative to a motel. They are, needless to say, a unique experience and one that really shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area and have a whole lot of pot to hotbox one of them with.

A Huge Piece of Ship

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I guess if maybe you spent most of your young adult years on a ship, you could get used to sleeping in one. That is about the only reason I could ever believe somebody would take a massive ship and drop it on a piece of land and begin a life. There is and old boat taking up some less than prime real estate in the Dalmatian part of Croatia near the mid coast somewhere. Apparently, it’s not difficult to miss from the road and is considered to be a bit of an eyesore by everyone who has to travel by it regularly. As you can plainly see from the picture, the domicile has a certain degree of ghetto luxury due to its ridiculous grandeur mixed with its state of disrepair and reminds me a bit of the Gypsy Castles in Romania. It seems more than ever that four walls are just not a requirement for acceptable living anymore.

A Boeing 727

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This totally has that LOST feel to it while at the same time maintaining a degree of believability. There’s a guy here that has decided to do the same thing but it’s far less glamorous. He’s just parked a plane in his yard. Down in Costa Rica, however, Hotel Costa Verde has actually put some work into theirs. They salvaged a 1965 Boeing 727 from it’s thought to be final resting place in San Jose. Piece by piece, they put it back together on the beach in Costa Rica to create on of the most unique experiences in hotel going. Inside the fuselage, although it quite displays the features of a fuselage, is completely covered in hardwood. Hardwood walls that turn into hardwood roofs and hardwood floors that don’t turn into anything; they simply remain hardwood floors. There’s a master bedroom with two queen beds, a second bedroom with another queen bed, a master bathroom, a television room, and a kitchenette and dining room all contained within the fuselage. Outside the boundaries of the hardwood Mecca is a balcony that jets out from where the wing once was. From the balcony you have a stunning (but not quite breathtaking) ocean view. Altogether, the efforts here are not too shabby for the second life of a Boeing 727.

Geodesic Dome

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Want to live in a geodesic dome? Don’t really know what a geodesic dome is? Good news, I’ll tell you. It’s basically a whole bunch of little triangles that come together to make a dome. This would be a great house for a mathematician, mechanical engineer or any sort of nerd without friends but wanting to make some. There are even companies that specialize in building geodesic domes and it boggles my mind that they can find enough business to survive. Granted, a geodesic dome is very sturdy, combining nature’s strongest geometric shape, the triangle, with the beautiful and sturdy arch, but it’s not exactly commonplace to see them in the suburbs. Apparently, they require less building material than a conventional structure with comparable interior area making them lighter, and more efficient on many many different levels. They are, however, still rather expensive to purchase and construct. Still, if you live on the side of a mountain that is prone to avalanches, this is the home for you.

On a Stick

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The gay jokes are just distasteful so let’s not even go there. Living on a stick is actually quite a marvel of engineering and could provide some great accommodations in places you never before thought possible. The house on a stick is modeled after a highway billboard and at only 290 square feet wouldn’t be optimal for everyday life. It does, however, lend itself to great placement opportunities. The house on a stick can be put literally anywhere you can think of: on the side of a mountain, in the ocean, in a field or on the side of a busy city street. I can see this design getting picked up by beach front resorts and having them pop up out of the water giving stunning views of the horizon.

A Tree

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This house, more than the others, reignites my childhood memories to an incredible degree. I can’t imagine how many times I went to sleep wishing that I was in a tree fort. My dad was obviously a deadbeat because I didn’t get anything of this caliber. I don’t know what it is about the tree house but there’s something in it that makes me feel like when I used to climb the rope in gym class. Maybe it’s the escapism it provides, maybe it’s the close proximity to natural, or at least natural feeling, construction, I don’t know but it makes me feel good. Now there are literally hundreds of incredible and awe-inspiring tree houses but my favorite is the one I linked to above, 4Treehouse by Lukasz Kos. It is often the focus of much attention and rightly so. It encompasses everything I could ever want in a domicile and it does it with a style that’s unparalleled by any conventional housing I’ve seen. It is a three-storey house that is built between four trees atop a swing suspended from the trees. Its stunning slat walls allow for a great deal of natural light to enter and, as you can see, a significant amount of unnatural light to escape. The house also provides stunning views of the forest in which it resides as it sways with the trees. Of all the houses on this list, this is the one I would actually want to live in.