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9 Alternative Homes For Sale Right Now

unique homes taos
Alternative housing materials are front and center with these off-the-beaten-track homes.

Who says a home has to be made from standard building materials or built in a conventional architectural style? Not the designers and architects behind these unique homes — from Cle Elum, WA, to Austin, TX — all designed to be mindful of the environment and conscious of interior space. From a futuristic spaceship-style home to a lighthouse on a private island and even a train car high in the sky, these properties embrace the thrill of reinvention through the use of alternative building materials.

1. Train car vistas

$108,900, 2XX Hammer Road, Hovland, MN 55606

Every space in this “Little Lost Caboose” home is thoughtfully used, from foldout couch and drawers under the stairs to the drop-down table with storage. The home, which is just a 20-minute drive from Grand Marais, sits on five acres atop a hill so you can catch sight of Chimney Rock and Lake Superior. Climb the water-pipe ladder to the roof deck for panoramic views. Little Lost Caboose has a portable toilet and a shed with a rain barrel to collect water to further minimize your environmental footprint.

2. Outside (and inside) the box

$174,995, 1709 Dan St., Houston, TX 77020

This shipping container prototype home sits in Houston’s North Fifth Ward. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is only three minutes from downtown and features granite countertops, decorative stone, and laminate flooring throughout its 1,228 square feet, plus front and back decks leading into the foliage-filled lot.

3. Off the grid

$200,000, Tbd Countyroad 20a #20A, Silverton, CO 81433

Leave the wired world behind for off-the-grid living in this one-bedroom home overlooking Silverton, CO. The hand-built cabin with a 500-square-foot deck sits next to Blair Creek on 10 pristine acres and includes a septic system and a second building site. The cabin runs on propane and has a wood stove, composting toilet, gas-fired generator, and even a wood-fired sauna for some posthike relaxation. The new owners can opt to hook the fully wired cabin into the grid or to a solar system. Access the Blair Gulch house by snowmobile during the winter.

4. Solar power

$338,000, 12375 Road 38.7, Mancos, CO 81328

This custom home built with environmentally friendly materials is powered by a solar energy system that provides electricity, hot water, and in-floor heat. Bonus: beautiful views of Mancos Valley, La Plata Mountains, Sleep Ute, and Mesa Verde, plus 50 wooded acres. Designed by Durango, CO, architect Rick Feeney, the 785-square-foot home boasts stained concrete floors with radiant heat, soapstone counters, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Bundle up and take in the star-filled sky from one of the home’s roof decks.

5. Wide open spaces

$350,000, 2346 County Road 1214, Blanchard, OK 73010

Go big (and private) with this three-bedroom, three-full-bath home set on 10 glorious acres. The 2,822-square-foot earth-sheltered home with a stone-fronted hexagonal facade is the perfect spot for weathering a storm or enjoying time with family and friends. Relax in the two large living areas or the spacious kitchen before retiring to the master suite with a walk-in closet and bathroom with double vanities. The indoor pool is solar-heated, and the attached three-car garage and separate workshop create the ideal tinkering space.

6. Luxury under the dome

$399,900, 8419 134th St. NE, Arlington, WA 98223

Become one with nature at this special five-acre property, where you can see deer, hawks, and bald eagles from your front door. The 47-foot-diameter geodesic dome has a renovated kitchen with granite countertops, an upstairs master suite, and two additional bedrooms. An additional room can be turned into a workspace or living area. The home is also close to the park-and-ride and less than a mile to Centennial Trail.

7. Shipshape design

$499,900, 2203 E. 51st St. #A, Austin, TX 78723

This three-bedroom, three-full-bathroom home artfully fashioned from converted shipping containers includes design elements such as a floating steel staircase, quartz countertops, and walls of windows that bring in nature. The 1,484-square-foot Mueller-award winning home has sleek cabinetry with gold pulls, brick flooring in the master bath, and hickory floorboards upstairs.

8. Home sweet earthship

$515,000, 17 Earthship Way, Taos, NM 87571

Futuristic design and nature go hand in hand in this Taos, NM earthship home designed by architect Mike Reynolds. The two-bedroom home has a kitchen with copper countertops and a greenhouse with a new aqua-botanical system. A fishpond feeds the vegetable garden with nutrient-rich water. The 1,900-square-foot home sits on 1.77 acres in the Greater World Community, a neighborhood of similarly designed and built homes.

9. Come to the light(house)

$1,549,000, 14055 E. Raber Dock Road, Goetzville, MI 49736

Be the master of your own domain in this castlelike lighthouse on its own private island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The three-bedroom beachfront property boasts 2,000 square feet of living space and 2,600 square feet of water frontage. Enjoy your morning coffee or evening cocktail on the multitiered back deck overlooking the water.

Which of these unique homes is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments!