When most of us think about building or adding extensions onto our homes, we think about standard boxes and rectangles, with roofs that are either pitched or flat. The colours of the bricks, plaster and trim can vary and add a unique touch, but generally we have a pretty fixed idea about what houses look like.
Of course, not everyone subscribes to that idea, as these 25 awesome houses demonstrate.
Designed by Terry Brown, the Mushroom House in Cincinnati, Ohio, almost looks like it was built by really talented Wombles.
This house in Bispingen, Germany, literally turns the idea of a normal house on its head.
Sometimes all a house needs to stand out from its neighbours is a unique paint job, like clashing tartan patterns.
Some of the modernist houses in Ho Chi Minh City look a bit like a drawing of a house – all simple, straight lines and bold colours.
If Wombles live in the Mushroom House, charming woodland gnomes inhabit this round house in Little Thetford in Cambridgeshire.
In Thurloe Square, Kensington, the tube station and the park meet in a residential area. That didn’t stop people from building a house that can only be about one room deep.
New Orleans is known for its riotous Mardi Gras celebrations, but the houses often maintain that spirit all year round.
Marie Antoinette loved pretending to be a shepherdess, so between 1785 and 1792, the Hameau de la Reine, also known as the Queen’s Hamlet, was built at Versailles. It is exactly what a story book cottage should be.
In Russia, many modernist homes are round. This one calls to mind a futuristic Faberge egg, with its honeycomb texture and gold colour.
This home in Staplehurst was one of the UK’s first ‘Zero Carbon’ homes. It was built to show how far eco-conscious architecture has come and how it may fit into our lives in the near future.
In Galveston Island, Texas, sits The Kettle House. Unsurprisingly, it is used as a famous landmark. It has weathered many assaults by the hurricanes that pass in the area, thanks to its unique shape.
Unlike other lighthouses-turned-homes, the Woody Point Light House in Nova Scotia, Canada, was moved from Barnes Point, New Brunswick, to its current location before becoming a home.
In 1882, James V. Lafferty built “Lucy the Elephant”, a six-storey building meant to draw tourism and sell real estate in Margate City, New Jersey. It certainly has drawn some tourists.
The Giovannitti House in Pittsburgh is an important work in architect Richard Meier’s career. However influential the design may be, it still looks a bit like a game of Tetris.
Sanzhi District, Taiwan, is famous throughout the architectural world for its abandoned UFO houses. They were odd enough when they were built, but the streaks of moss make them look even more otherworldly.
The Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, South Africa, is known for its neon and candy-coloured homes. It is arguably the brightest area on the planet and one of the most cheerful looking.
This house was scheduled to be torn down, so Dan Havel and Dean Ruck, two Houston artists, decided to create this art piece that looks like a vortex devouring a home.
In the mountains of Fafe, Portugal, sits this stone house. It’s not built out of stone bricks; it’s built to look like it is wedged between two gigantic boulders.
This moss-covered cabin near Clackamas County, Oregon, has been abandoned for so long that the forest is starting to take it back.
This round house in Ardnaglass, Northern Ireland, is more of an octagon than a circle, but that just makes it more eye-catching.
This house in Cambridge was apparently once an ice cream factory, but it looks like a modernist home that was just designed that way.
Sometimes homes can be kind of ordinary but still be unbelievably gorgeous. In Kerry, Ireland, this thatched-roof house is in a stunning setting, which makes it an ideal little home.
Taos, New Mexico, is known for its artistic, creative residents. This experimental house near the city has a lawn on the roof, making it one of the few homes you have to water regularly.
The House in the Clouds is in Thorpeness, Suffolk, was originally a water tower that was clad in boards to match the village’s architectural style. When the village was connected to the mains water supply, it no longer needed the tower to store water, so it was converted to a living space – that you can actually hire out.
This 18th century house, called A La Ronde, is unique because of its round shape and bold interior and exterior decorations. It is cared for by the National Trust and found in Exmouth.
It’s great to know that wherever in the world you go, there are people willing to shake up the definition of what a house can be.
So which one of these homes would you like to live in?