Money can’t buy you happiness, it’s true, but it can buy you a pretty awesome house. What about hidden homes? Of course, if you’ve got billions at your disposal, why settle for a mansion or a castle somewhere? For one thing, mansions and castles are easy to find. They appear on maps. Boring!
We all love secrets so why not make your house the ultimate hideaway and disguise it from the world? Here are 10 hidden homes you literally won’t believe exist…
10) Norwegian Mountain Cabin
Architects like to talk about their buildings “functioning in harmony with nature” but this remote cabin on the side of Norwegian mountain Åkrafjorden takes things a step further – it functions in harmony with nature so well you’ll struggle to separate it from the hill!
It’s curved design, grass roof and use of wood and rock as building materials embeds it into the natural surroundings and gives it a beguiling aura of secrecy.
Apparently the cabin can house 21 guests, though you’ll have to be fit to get there – or own a horse. Let’s hope you’ve got a good sense of direction, though – the house is so well hidden you’ll ride straight past it if you’re not careful!
9) Barn Conversion
Barn conversions are all the rage these days. Designers love to retain original features like rotten roof beams and rusty doors, claiming that they “add character.”
The designers of this Texas barn had something very different in mind. From the outside, the building has as much character as the protagonists of an airport novel. It looks like a large corrugated iron shed.
Therein, though, lies the genius of the design. If you want something to be truly secret you disguise it and when you open the door of this barn you enter another world. The lavish interior has wood-paneled walls, leather sofas and even chandeliers – a level of luxury you might expect in a Manhattan penthouse.
If you think about it, it’s the best kind of home security imaginable, too. The rich have a lot to lose but who’s going to break into a bland shed in rural Texas in search of riches?
8) Underground Town
It’s one thing creating a secret hideaway that can house a family or two but surely that pales in comparison to a hideaway for a whole town! Coober Pedy in the Australian outback houses no less than 3,000 people underground and out of sight, with only bland, featureless mine entrances to indicate there may be anything beneath the scrubland.
Coober Pedy dates back to 1915 when it was mined for the stone Opal. The father and son duo who discovered the site quickly realized that it was too hot to live above the ground so found sanctuary in the natural cool of the mine caverns. The town continued to grow and now contains a bar, a hotel and a swimming pool amidst labyrinthine corridors and caves. A truly unique place.
7) Desert Living
The desert isn’t traditionally seen as an attractive place to live. Water is the stuff of life and there isn’t much of it in the wind-blasted and dust-caked canyons of Utah. There is, however, spectacular natural beauty. Unique rock formations carved by centuries of erosion; orange canyon walls that display the stratum layers of centuries past.
© PX Here
Built into one of these canyons in Utah is a unique house called Cliff Haven, which more or less does what its name suggests but in some style. Built inside a natural gulley in a canyon wall, the house appears as part of the scenery rather than an add on and is a unique secret hideaway for those inclined to enjoy the beauty of the desert in comfort.
6) Fallout Shelters
When we discuss luxury retreats it seems safe to say that underground bunkers created for use in the case of a nuclear holocaust wouldn’t usually come to mind. When you think about it, though, what better place for a hidden retreat?
The bunkers were designed to be lived in for long periods, have all amenities built-in and have extremely cool period features like control rooms, blast doors, and spiral staircases. Glam them up a bit like Silohome builders have done to some Atlas F-series missile bases and they make a very cool, James Bond villain type of retreat.
The Vivos Europa One Elite Shelter in Germany is an even bigger example. Built into an old Soviet Union Cold War bunker, the complex has over 227,904 feet of floor space beneath ground and houses apartments, pools, gyms and restaurants. There’s even a helicopter service for your convenience!
5) The Narrowest House in the World
Blink and you’ll miss it. In fact, stare at it and you still might miss it. Keret House in Warsaw, Poland has a width of between 92 and 152 centimeters and is jammed between two far bigger buildings, like an alleyway that felt left out and wanted to become a house.
Designed by architect JakubSzczęsny, Keret House is technically classed as an art installation and has been described by the artist as a memorial to members of his family who died when the Nazis invaded Poland. Those on the margins won’t be forgotten, appears to be the message of the house.
The house won’t be forgotten either.
4) Ground houses
Sometimes the obvious hiding places are the best, so why overcomplicate things when you can simply dig your house into the ground? From the outside, this luxury Swiss ski retreat looks like a giant satellite dish or a bizarre military installation. Then you think: wait a minute, why would a satellite dish have curtains?
The house is angled so as to offer the best view of the surrounding mountains and at the best part of $4,000 dollars for a night’s hire you’d hope the view is worth it!
Greece has some pretty nice views, too, and these low-level seaside villas are blended into the landscape so well one of them is called Mirage House. Even when you see it you won’t believe it.
3) Crazy Cliff Houses!
If you suffer from vertigo look away now. These cliff houses are certainly not for the faint of heart.
Casa Brutale in Greece is literally built into a clifftop. No part of the house extends above the ground and the front of it only juts out slightly from the cliff face. The giant glass front of the house offers visitors the kind of views that will have them clutching at the back wall, while the swimming pool laps up against the glass at the very top of the cliff. Reinforced glass, apparently. I should hope so.
If you thought Casa Brutale was, well, brutal, check out two amazing houses that hang from cliffs with grips that look as tenuous as the nightmare scenes from movies where only the chief protagonist’s fingertips keep him from disaster.
Not exactly a relaxing weekend getaway home!
2) Jungle House
The jungle is the ultimate hiding place. Dense vegetation means that you can barely see a foot in front of you and with snakes, spiders and all sorts lurking in the foliage you wouldn’t want to be wandering about on the off chance you might encounter something interesting.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, making this special jungle house built into it one of the best hideaways around. The house is raised from the ground to enjoy natural sunlight and ocean views as well as the lush vegetation harboring some of the most remarkable plant, animal and insect life on the planet.
1) Rooftop Houses
Rooftops might be the biggest waste of space in the world. Our cities are crowded, jammed with flat-roofed buildings and skyscrapers, so why not make use of that extra bit of space on top?
David Puchkoff and Eileen Stukane, residents in Manhattan’s West Village obviously agree. Helicopter shots show a rustic cabin and a lush garden atop their top level flat in NYC. While their wealthy friends talk about getting out of the city the couple must smile to themselves. Their country retreat is on their own roof, hidden from the city below!
© NY Post
China has the biggest population in the world so perhaps it’s natural that some of its wealthier citizens would also seek to explore rooftop living. Unfortunately, they keep forgetting to ask permission! The residents of luxury villas built on top of a shopping mall were evicted because they didn’t have the correct license, but their story pales in comparison to the Beijing rooftop mansion discovered from outer space.
It was September 2010 when a satellite captured images of a suspiciously green area in Beijing. A drone was sent up to investigate and discovered something truly remarkable: a mansion shaped like a mountain replete with an enormous rockery and even a vineyard on top of a skyscraper. No wonder residents had been complaining about cracked walls and long waits for the elevator!
So there you have it. Which of the hidden homes would you live in if you had the choice? Let us know in the comments section. It’s a crazy world out there but we’ve got our eye on it!