It’s been the talk of the neighborhood since the ’70s and now it’s for sale.
For the first time, the famous Mushroom House of Bethesda, MD has hit the market for $1.2 million. It’s not a new construction, but it could be.
When Edward and Frances Garfinkle bought the place 47 years ago, it wasn’t a mushroom at all. A traditional 2-story stucco, 4949 Allan Rd blended in with the rest of the block.
But like any growing family, the Garfinkles’ needs and tastes changed over time. They added kids to the mix and eventually needed an apartment for Edward’s mom.
“They wanted something unique — something absolutely one-of-a-kind,” said listing agent Donna Wartofsky of Long and Foster Real Estate.
So in 1974, they went for it. They doubled the size of their home and covered it in free-flowing, polyurethane foam.
The process, the Garfinkles explained, was much like an artist forming a sculpture out of clay. Each day, they’d stand back and tell the builders to bring it in here or stretch it a little more there. They never intended for it to look like a mushroom but over time, the name stuck.
Today, Bethesda’s Mushroom House is the talk of the town, but it isn’t the only home of its kind. The building material is used widely for insulation and roofs because of its flexibility and thermal quality. The Garfinkles call the house their “giant thermos bottle” because even with a 30-foot high ceiling, the house stays well insulated.
The unconventional shape also allows for creativity with how the interior space is used. Measuring 3,700 square feet, the inside is open yet filled with nooks and crannies. There’s a vast great room but also a lounging cave with a fireplace and a cozy cut-out in one of the bedroom walls.
With their kids grown up, the owners are now parting with the place. They’re hoping to attract an artistic buyer like themselves, someone who’s hoping to break out of the traditional, single-family box.