Unique Dwellings:
Labors of Love (and Hate)

Yahoo! Homes

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Two unique homes recently featured on Yahoo! prove that there are many reasons to build a home, and they can range widely from love to hate. Artists Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz recently built a glass-walled cabin for $500, proving that anything is possible if it's a labor of love. In contrast, the "Montlake Spite House," a small triangle-shaped dwelling in Seattle that recently went on the market, was allegedly built out of ire.

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Photographer Nick Olson and designer Lilah Horwitz took a walk on Olson's family property in West Virginia and fell in love with the way the light looked in the hills. Inspired, they quit their jobs and began the full-time task of constructing their dream space out of scavenged materials. The home, which stands about 20 feet tall, has a 16 foot wall made entirely of windows.

For more details on their artistic vision and the finished home, visit Yahoo! Homes.

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The "Montlake Spite House" is an 830-square-foot dwelling built in the shape of a triangle. At its narrowest point, it's 55" wide, and after two weeks on the market, the home (listed at $379,500) has generated immense interest.

While no one knows the true story of how the "Montlake Spite House" came into being, all possible versions of the story insist that the small wedge-shaped home was built to aggravate a neighbor. The three possibilities documented by Yahoo! Homes are that it was built by

  • A woman who won only a bit of yard in a divorce settlement, while her ex got the rest of the property, including the (normal-shaped) house they'd shared. Or...


  • A landowner who was furious when the neighbor who owned the adjacent (normal-sized) lot made him a lowball offer on the sliver. Or...

  • A traveler who, while visiting Germany, gave permission for someone to build on the lot — with the provision that enough land be left for a second house. When the traveler returned, he discovered that the new house took a lot more space than he'd expected, so, “out of spite, he [the landowner] built that funny little pie-shaped home" as an obstacle, the current homeowner told KPLU-FM's Martha Kang. “I also heard that back when it was first built, the side that was facing the neighbor had been painted black.”

For more details on the Spite House, including a link to the real estate listing and pictures, visit Yahoo! Homes.

(Image credits: Left to right: Yahoo! Homes and Yahoo! Homes; Yahoo! Homes; Yahoo! Homes)

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Main, Style, Architecture, Real Estate

Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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