Why succumb to four-bedroom suburbia when you can bunker down in a missile silo or reign over your own personal castle? From telescope-topped properties to stunning architectural constructs and luxury relics of the Cold War, these homes drew your attention and earned the title of craziest places to live in 2013.
10. Mermaid’s Chair Mansion
The mermaid has always been one of the more beguiling creatures found in the pantheon of oceanic mythology, but this mansion perched above the banks of Mermaid’s Chair in St. Thomas proved to be the ultimate enchantress.
The alluring $35 million listing in the Virgin Islands countered a January cold snap with pristine Caribbean views and left us wanderlusting for the blissful feel of warm sand between our toes.
9. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gerald B. Tonkens House
Though the Gerald B. Tonkens House in Cincinnati was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it was actually built by his grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, in 1955. The cinder Usonian design has had but one owner, who put it on the market in February for $1.788 million.
Said to be built to Wright’s exacting standards, the home features 11 different concrete patterns with 400 inset windows to fashion a dramatic marriage between the dwelling and the outside world.
8. Sugar & Rum Factory Villa
Butler’s Bay Sugar and Rum Factory hasn’t produced a drop of pirate’s elixir in over 200 years, but this towering structure on St. Croix has survived as a 6,000-square-foot luxury vacation home.
Despite a few modern updates, the $2.75 million home in the Virgin Islands town of Frederiksted holds true to its historical roots by incorporating the old mill itself — a jutting volcano-like tower made of stone — as the structure’s centerpiece.
7. Ai Weiwei’s Only U.S. Design
This ultra-sleek, ultra-modern luxury box was the talk of the architectural community when it listed in March. Not so much because of its $4.25 million price tag, but because it represents the only U.S. home designed by renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei of 2008 Olympics’ Beijing National Stadium fame. The aluminum-clad beauty takes full advantage of the scenic bliss of the Catskill and Berkshire Mountains with towering windows, and employs Weiwei’s eye for minimalism throughout its 2,800 square feet.
6. Harry Gesner’s Raven’s Eye
When it hit the Malibu, Calif., rental market in March, this striking, Gothic-inspired affair known as the “Raven’s Eye” presented itself as the perfect interim hideaway for a modern-day Don Juan, a super-villain, or perhaps an Ian Fleming-inspired emissary.
Fittingly, the daring domicile was designed by lauded architect Harry Gesner, whose life story reads like a script for a dashing, playboy spy. With its striking, arched-frame windows and prime vantage point overlooking the sea, you deemed this luxury rental more than worthy of its $40,000-a-month cost.
5. Game of Homes
HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones continued to dominate all walks of life in 2013, including real estate. Proving this point was a roundup of hot, medieval properties designed to have you living in your own version of George R.R. Martin’s vast realm. From feudal fortresses to mountaintop castles, these strongholds were deemed worthy of bearing the Iron Throne.
4. Dansk Lake House by Jens Quistgaard
Late Danish designer Jens Quistgaard’s eye for attractive wooden bowls, elegant flatware and enameled dishware delivered Scandinavian style to postwar America. However, Quistgaard’s design prowess wasn’t limited to dinnerware, as evidenced by this modern residence he created in 1961.
Hidden away on a forested site in upstate New York, the Dansk Lake House’s locale — 20 acres complete with a private lake, waterfall and manicured gardens — is only outdone by its dramatic outward appearance: a piercing folding-plate roof that bears a resemblance to scales on a dragon’s back.
3. Saucer-Shaped Architecture
Bucking conventional wisdom and the architectural trends of Texas in June was this contemporary design by Lionel Morrison of Morrison Dilworth + Walls.
Call it an extraterrestrial corral or an ultramodern sports arena,this stunning $9.995 million architectural property in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas was meticulously planned from the bottom up to create an organic environment in a groovy modern shell.
2. Telescope-Topped Luxury Home
Many multimillion-dollar listings in California tout ocean views, but few can say they offer a window into the ether. Among a sea of trophy homes in Laguna Niguel, one property dared to ditch coastal scenery for a more cosmic state of living with an out-of-this-world private observatory and telescope installation.
The $3.188 million luxury home was certainly one for the (space) ages, and one of your favorites of 2013.
1. Cold War Missile Silo Home
Tucked away in the rolling foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, deep beneath the earth’s crust, and only accessible via a set of steel blast doors, was this converted Atlas missile silo — your choice for the craziest place to live in 2013.
Complete with “all tools and toys included,” this truly awesome Cold War-era throwback had you craving a bunkered-down lifestyle thanks to its Strangelovian clocks, gun-metal gray consoles and analog switches. Adding further intrigue to the unworldly home were the living quarters, located in the 185-foot-deep structure’s former Launch Control Center.
This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.