13 Extreme Homes That Take Balls To Live In
It's fun to daydream about abandoning your day-to-day routine for a more adventurous life away from it all. File away these 13 off-the-grid houses around the world for the next time you feel that urge coming on. Just remember, out here, there's no such thing as a quick trip to the store.
1. Crystal Mill
This now-defunct compressor station above the Crystal River was used to produce compressed air to power tools and machinery back in the day. Today, it's allegedly unoccupied, but privately owned and only accessible with their explicit permission.
2. House On Ellidaey Island
Originally built by a group of hunters out for a puffin (oh, Iceland), this lodge-like home sits in the palm of a dramatically contoured island constantly bombarded by unforgiving winds. It's also often confused for the island home Bjork owns, which shares a similar name but sits much further west.
3. Wordie House
Winter Island, Antarctica
This early British scientific base off the southernmost continent's west coast initially accommodated between four to five explorers, and was fashioned using materials from an abandoned whaling station in the late 1940s. Inside, it offers a kitchen and living room, office, dog room, generator hut, and toilet.
4. Eremo di San Colombano
While this eigth Century monastery may not quite be the party house you're looking for, the fact that it's perched inside a cliff earns it some serious badass points. To reach it, you must climb a staircase of 102 steps carved into the rock. Sit this one out, acrophobes.
5. The Faerose Houses
These grass-roofed Hobbiton-esque dwellings sit on the autonomous Faroe slands, situated halfway between Norway and Iceland. They are built quite literally into the ground and surrounded with stone walls, not unlike the homes built by the vikings there between 400 and 600 AD.
6. Long Studio
Fogo Island, Canada
This long and narrow secluded getaway is set on stilts above the wave-breaking cliffs, with unparalleled views of the North Atlantic. For now, it serves as an artist's studio, and frankly, it would be difficult to not find some sort creative inspiration while posted up in there.
7. Katskhi Pillar
This now-defunct monastery is hoisted up into the sky on a natural limestone monolith, and is accessible via an iron ladder that extends from the ground up to the top. Besides the obligatory church and hermit cells you'd expect up there, there's also evidence of an ancient wine cellar, suggesting those stodgy old priests back in the day knew such crazy views were best enjoyed with a goblet of vino.
Amazingly never the site of a Bond lair (...yet!), the area beneath this naturally forming rock arch was transformed into a remote private ex-pat compound of open-air homes in the 1960s, anchored by the main residence in the foreground. Using whale bones, local wood, and objects salvaged from the sea it was fashioned into a quirky estate that looks as though it grew right out of the rock.
9. Cliff House
This gravity-defying four-story home is still only in the conceptual stages, but deserves a place on this list for its sheer audacity. The design calls for it to be (very securely) mounted to the rock face, with a layout inverse to traditional homes, with a living room up top, bedrooms further down, and instead of an open rooftop, an enclosed glass patio at the bottom with sweeping views of the crashing ways down below. [Read more...]
10. House of Stone
Built within the confines of four giant boulders, this isolated retreat was built in 1974 high up in the Fafe Mountains. It still isn't hooked up to electricity, so candles are your lighting of choice, not that you'll care to do much when it's dark other than stare up at the stars.
11. Rock House
Perched on a boulder in the middle of the Drina River, this tiny lodge was first constructed back in the late '60s by a group of boys, who used it as their summertime clubhouse. It's since been destroyed a few times due to flooding, but is rebuilt each time.
12. Solvay Hut
This mountain hut is one of the tallest in the region at over 13,000 feet, and was built back in 1915. If you bravely ascend the northeastern ridge of the Matterhorn to its front door, there are 10 beds inside to greet you.
13. Villa Belza
Built by a French knight-cum-businessman as a gift to his wife in the 1800s, this castle-like cliffside residence has lived many lives since, functioning as everything from Russian cabaret to gala venue in the early 20th Century. It has also survived several fires, and countless epic storms.