Unusual Designs

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Disgusting Old Cave Turned Into A Seriously Luxurious Home

23-year-old Alexis Lamoureux’s story is a familiar one. The French national from a picturesque French village on the banks of the Loire River was left scrambling after losing his bartending job at a struggling local bar. He and his girlfriend faced few options pitted against soaring housing prices that plagued many European nations.

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Where Alexis’ story goes from there? Not so common. An opportunity presented itself in the form of what some would describe as a troglodyte home that was once owned by his great aunt. Call it what you will, it’s basically a decrepit old network of hallways and rooms carved into the side of a mountain. In other words, it’s a cave. Add in 25 years of neglect and a heaping pile of garbage and you’ve got yourself the situation Alexis found himself in after purchasing the home from auction for the towering sum of 1 euro.

The transformation that took place next is nothing short of astonishing as you can see.

10+ Wineries With Absolutely Stunning Architecture

Opus One

Scott Johnson of Johnson, Fain & Pereira designed this iconic winery and finished the build in 1991. It brings together traditional European architectural elements and New World aesthetics, a combination that mirrors their epic Cabernet.

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Bodegas Ysios

This spectacular winery is located in Spain’s Rioja region, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava, completed in 2001. The undulating aluminum and cedar roof mimics the mountainous terrain surrounding it, and the name honors Isis and Osiris, two Egyptian gods with close ties to the world of wine.

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Castello di Amorosa

Dario Sattui wanted to build one of the most impressive wineries in the area, and did so by importing an actual castle from Italy, piece by piece, and reassembling it in Napa Valley.

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Lapostolle Clos Apalta

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, most known for producing Grand Marinier, began making wine in Chile and completed this estate in 2004. It was designed by Amercanda Architects and features six levels reminiscent of a bird’s nest.

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Vik Winery

When Alex and Carrie Vik wanted to build a winery in Chile, they hosted a competition and this was the winning submission. It features a long, low slung building positioned in the middle of their 11,000 acre estate in Santiago. The shallow pool dotted by boulders not only looks cool, but also keeps the underground levels cool.

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Darioush Winery

Located in Napa, this iconic winery pays honor to its owner’s Persian roots.

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Dornier Winery

The only winery here that was actually designed by its founder, Christopher Dornier. It’s located in South Africa and was meant to blend seamlessly with its surroundings.

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Irius Winery

A distinctly modern winery in Spain, the building was meant to resemble a butterfly.

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Ledson Winery

This massive Sonoma winery became famous before the wine did, and attracted so much attention that they figured they should make some wine and open a tasting room.

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Marques De Riscal

One of the most distinct wineries in the world, this beautiful structure is located in Elciego Spain and was completed in 2006 by Frank Gehry. The pink and titanium exterior looks like a ribbon as it wraps around the surface.

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Mission Hill Winery

This Canadian winery is most noted for its 12-story bell tower which welcomes guests with its bell.

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Near the old Tuscan village of Suvereto you’ll find this masterpiece, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta. It was completed in 2003 and features a unique cylindrical core with plants on the roof.

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Bodegas Portia

Set amidst a barren looking valley, this winery in Ribera del Duero is one of Spains most distinct wineries. It looks like something out of Star Wars and the modern building was designed by Foster + Partners and opened in 2010.

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20 Striking Images Of The Beautiful Ruins of Detroit

Detroit, MI. Once one of the worlds great cities. Born from the automobile industry and fueled by the WW2 war machine, Detroit rose to socio-economic prosperity at the turn of the 20th century. This period of wealth survived for decades until economic tragedy brought the city to its knees. Once an American treasure, Detroit has been largely abandoned and reduced to a tragic ruin of crumbling concrete and twisted steel.

Photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have found beauty in that tragedy. In their book The Ruins of Detroit, they explore the far reaches of the rubble, effectively telling the story of the city’s demise. The images are striking, and show us how easily and swiftly our empires can fall.

17 Magical Little Fairytale Homes To Ignite Your Imagination

1Casa dos Duendes in Campos do Jordão, São Paulo State, Brazil

2House in Zell on the Mosel River, Germany

3Winckler cottage on the shores of Vancouver Island, Canada

4Isabella’s Little Pink House, Orlando, USA

 

5Akebono kodomo-no-mori park, Japan

 

6Hobbit House in Rotorua, New Zealand

7Forest House, Efteling, The Netherlands

 

8The Spadena House, Beverly Hills, California

 

9Fantasy House in Zakopane

10The Doll House, Carmel, California

11Victorian Cottage in the Catskills

12Wooden Cottage in Białka Tatrzańska, the Tatra Mountains, Poland

13Cob house in Somerset, UK

14A cottage in the Hamlet of Marie Antoinette, Versailles, France

15Blaise Hamlet, Bristol, England

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The Mermaid Cottage

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The Jack Sparrow House in Cornwall, UK

 

 

Seattle’s 5-Foot-Wide “Spite House” Up For Sale

2022 24th Avenue E of Montlake in Seattle, Washington seems like any other tiny home recently inspired by the Tiny House Movement. The home is 850 square feet, barely five feet wide, is currently on the market for $519,000 – and is in the heart of local legend.

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In 1925, a judge presiding over a vicious and bitter divorce ruled that the husband would keep the marital home, and his wife was awarded a sliver of land just in front of the home. To add insult to injury, the husband offered what was to her an unacceptably low offer to purchase the land. As a result, she began construction of what has now come to be known as “The Montlake Spite House” by the community. She even went as far as to paint the wall facing their formal marital home black as to further obstruct his view!

In this photo, you can see just how narrow this house really is!

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A view of the living room. While it may be too small to hold a television set, it has plenty of space to seat guests comfortably!

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The master bedroom. Believe it or not, this home has two bedrooms, and two full baths!

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The place where you really begin to feel cramped may be the kitchen – but it’s worth it just to be able to look at your ex-now-neighbor through the kitchen window with a look of triumph!

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There’s even a two-car garage!

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She proved her point to her ex-husband, and since then the house has only ever steadily increased in worth: The Montlake Spite House sold in 1996 for $140,550; $235,500 in 2000; and $375,000 in 2014. How much of a factor the notoriety and legends surrounding the of home plays into that increase is up for speculation.

Young Couple Used Recycled Windows To Build This Incredible Glass House

Chipped paint, faded finishes and dingy old glass didn’t stop this couple from up-cycling an array of discarded windows and salvaged wood into unbelievable DIY home. The unique facade is the focus of a home that they build entirely out of recycled materials – a project that cost them only $500!

Photographer Nick Olson and designer Lilah Horwitz designed and built this low-cost cabin retreat among the picturesque West Virginian mountains. They aimed to construct a space that would act as a vessel to fuel both of their creative endeavors. It had to be unique, inspiring, and above all else – cheap.

“We were able to make it a reality because we are first artists and creators. We had to be resourceful to do it cheaply,” explained Nick.

A nearby abandon barn provided plenty of charm and salvaged materials to draw design cues from (not to mention free resources). While the cabin isn’t their primary residence, the couple frequents it as much as they can to recharge their creative batteries and marvel at the collective potential of their efforts.

 

You’ve Never Seen A Pre-Fab Cabin Quite Like This

Pre-fabricated architecture has taken the world by storm in the last decade, and it’s easy to see why. Build a house in a factory and piece it together on a plot of land hundreds of miles away, all in a matter of weeks? Count me in. There are, however, limitations to this type of construction, forcing architects to adhere to a box that will fit neatly on the back of a flat bed truck.

The thing about Swedish designer Torsten Ottesjö? He isn’t really into limitations.

Ottesjö works for Cargo Collective, who aimed to take pre-fab to the a-typical limit. They ended up with an organic, curvilinear form that flies in the face of everything we’re used to seeing in factory-built structures. The cabin is inspired by an abundant native fish, and consists of a single open space that slithers its way through the landscape. Local wood species are draped inside and out, further tying this one-of-a-kind modular building into it’s final resting place.

A Wartime Bunker Is A Good Place For A Home, Right? Right!

Netherlands based architecture firm B-ILD have transformed this decrepit, ancient war-time bunker into a cool, rustic-chic getaway. I’d be the first to keep my arm down in a show of hands of people who thought a dank old bomb shelter would make a good place to reside, but seeing this project might have just changed my mind. It’s an unorthodox adaptive re-use project that, at first glance, doesn’t have a lot going for it. Upon closer look, that’s exactly what the architect used to craft a majestic underground dwelling.

The ironic thing is that B-UILD’s additions are minimal and strategic, allowing the weathered board-formed concrete walls to define the aesthetic of the space. It’s a move that pays off in the end, turning the very thing that made the space desolate into what makes it shine. The bunker is small, occupying only 118 square feet of floor area. As a space saver, the sleeping area deploys barracks-style bunk beds; an appropriate nod to a common war-time building type.

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A Good Home Is Made Great With An Up-Cycled Spartan Trailer

A well-designed home with large open spaces, contemporary materials, and plenty of natural light can be a very good thing. But sometimes, there needs to be something truly unique as a focus for the home to be considered great. This is the notion architect Andrew Hinman took to heart when he designed this Texas home around a re-used Spartan Trailer.

The shimmering silvery cladding of the now immobile recreational tube is presented prominently in the composition of the home. Functionally, it operates in much of the same way it always has, only now it acts as a focal appendage to the sleek glass and steel enclosure that engulfs it. The architect wanted to celebrate the use of a recycled component in the context of a well-crafted modern structure.

spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-1 A massive shed roof towers over the trailer and the interior space adjacent to it. A large sun room occupies this space, acting as an extension of the living quarters of the trailer.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-2 An exterior soaking tub ties the home in with it’s desert surroundings, emulating the feel of camping that the trailer once embraced.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-3 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-4 The space adjacent to the trailer opens up to the sunny desert vista.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-5 Looking back at the trailer from the interior, it maintains its original aluminum sheen.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-6 As you can see, stepping inside the trailer is like stepping through a portal into the past.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-7 The rest of the home feels quite new and contemporary, sitting in contrast to the retro presence the trailer provides.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-8 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-9 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-10 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-11 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-12

Photos by Paul Bardigjy.

Woman Converts The Bank She Once Worked At Into Her Dream Home

Before Cathy Calhoun eventually became a jewelry store owner, she worked as a bank teller at The National Bank of Spring City in Spring City, PA. In 1989, the old bank went up for sale and Cathy jumped at the opportunity to own it, paying a paltry $52,000 for the vacant building. She had a vision. A vision that would take 24 years of tireless renovation to become what it is today: a Pennsylvania girl’s dream home.

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Scroll down to watch a video tour of the up-cycled old building, which includes a trip through the 2-story boardroom-turned-master suite complete with seating, a fireplace, jacuzzi and a big-screen TV. What she did with both the original vault and the newer one is truly unique, but we’ll let the video do the talking for that one.

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A spiral staircase adds a dramatic curve to the otherwise boxed layout of the bank.

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Cathy’s modern updates are extensive and eclectic, but have managed to preserve, even celebrate the bank’s historic aesthetic. All said, it’s clear that the money she put into this bank was a very wise investment, indeed.