The dome-shaped house sits on top of a 150-foot conical hill of volcanic fragments. It was built in 1968.
The 1,800 square foot home, plus 60 adjoining acres was last up for sale in 2010 for $750,000. Currently, the home belongs to Huell Howser, host of “California’s Gold,” a travel documentary show that highlights places of interest throughout California state. Howser was actually featured in two episodes of The Simpsons as Howell Huser.
Originally, Vard Wallace, the inventor of the first patented skateboard and a businessman who sold drafting machines and airplane parts during WWII, commissioned the house. After Wallace, the original owner, there was only one other owner before Huell Howser – a British developer by the name of Richard Baily.
Much of the beams for the “Cinder Cone” house were constructed off-site, “and once erected, were connected with horizontal one-by-three-feet Douglas fir strips set on edge and toe nailed.”
The beehive-shaped home was lathered in a “solution of elastomeric sealer embedded with perlite to form a well-insulated monolithic waterproof shell.”
Built on a circular foundation, the structure is anchored by a concrete fireplace that fills the centre of the home.
In total, the volcano home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, designed to have a loft-like effect. The surrounding walls are only partial, and open space overhead creates a roomy feel. The fireplace acts as the natural centerpiece, and is surrounded by a sunken conversation pit “with Austin Powers-like commands.” Adjacent to the conversation pit is a spacious kitchen complete with wooden cabinetry.
The entire structure is surrounded by glass, leaving most of the house open to the relentless direct sun (and therefore, heat) of the desert. Literally in the middle of nowhere, the volcano home is nowhere close to civilization and is secluded and large enough to land a private helicopter. But while living in the middle of nowhere would be nice, the desert, I would think, would be a little much. Luckily, “volcano house” is surrounded by some quirky attractions, including the Buffalo Ranch, Big Al’s Pistachio Ranch, the Ostrich Farm and the Bagdad Café, from the 1987 film of the same name.
This and more photos: digsdigs.com