all year round

October 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

This pretty circular house in Båstad, Sweden, was on the market earlier this year –

bastad, sweden

Beautifully located just off the beach, it was apparently build decades ago as some sort of outbuilding for the neighboring Hotel Riviera. Later it was converted into a vacation home, and later still into a permanent residence. Simple, elegant, and very cool.

round as an igloo

October 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

spokane daily chronicle - 7-29-52

Somehow in putting together my list of round houses for sale I overlooked the most fabulous of them all: Seymour Harris’ Tukal, in Hampshire, England. At an asking price of £12 million (over $18 million), it is easily the world’s most expensive circular home, but unlike some of round McMansions currently on the market, it’s more than just an ostentatious display of wealth — it actually has style and daring.

Yes, it’s monstrously large — and yes, it has its own lake, 10-acre garden and private dock — but beyond the glitz are some appealing ideas about structure, transparency and the flow of space.

tukal, beaulieu, UK 7

tukal, beaulieu 6

tukal, beaulieu 5

Designed by architect Seymour Harris in 1962 as home for himself and his wife, the house in its current iteration might be best understood as an asynchronous collaboration between Harris and architect Nic Bailey. Harris moved to the Bahamas in 1968; the house suffered through a series of bad owners and unhappy renovations, and Bailey was brought in to salvage it several years ago, when the house was bought by its current owner, Mike Browne.

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on the market

October 12, 2013 — 7 Comments

You can find round and circular-form houses for sale right now in the US, UK, Australia and Canada for prices ranging from $87,500 to $10 million.  On the lavish — and arguably garish — end of the spectrum, there’s this 1980s luxury villa on Hamilton Island, in Australia, and the “Corbetta Estate” in Los Altos Hills, California (which was the cooler and much more fun Corbetta Party House in a former incarnation).

george keck house

Bringing up the low end of the market, at a modest 696 square feet in size, is one of the many small post-war round houses in Des Moines, Iowa.

A few other houses stand out –

You can also find two round houses for sale in the UK, one in Portland, Dorset, selling for £925,000, and the other in Sidmouth, Devon, selling for £849,950.

peace on earth

October 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

Congratulations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. Its semi-circular headquarters, in The Hague, was designed by the late Gerhard Kallmann.

round house hallwayTake a tour of a fabulous Gilbert Spindel-designed round house in Louisiana.

round living rm

tanzania round houses

be different

October 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

“Be ‘different’ in a round house,” urged the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1964, advertising a small, two-bedroom circular house with a flat roof, clerestory windows, and adjoining carport –

be different in a round house

For a fee of ten guineas (equivalent to ten-and-a-half pounds), the paper offered readers the building plans for the small round house below –

sydney mh - 4-19-64

By the early ’60s, circular homes had gained a modicum of acceptance in Australia. Noted architects Roy Grounds and Alex Jelinek had already designed round houses on the outskirts of Melbourne and Canberra, and the Sydney Morning Herald had run articles on round houses in the US. How many circular house plans were sold — and whether any were built — is not known.

exuberantly round

September 29, 2013 — 3 Comments

A novelty style round house in Eads, Colorado, was recently entered on the National Register of Historic Places. Named the Crow-Hightower House after two of its early owners, the house has a conical entrance, a crenellated cornice, walls of contrasting brick, and an “exuberant” circular form. Here is the house in 1955, a few years after it was built –

eads round house

The NRHP registration form includes historical information about round houses in the US, noting that they are relatively rare both in Colorado and nationally. Apparently the builder of the Crow-Hightower House, Warren A. Portrey, had previously built another round house just outside of Eads, and went on to build two more circular structures in Oregon.

Portrey’s son Ron recalled that Portrey, who was “always interested in new things,” was eager to build more round houses. Unfortunately, he “couldn’t get people interested in them” because they were “not conventional” and “not the same style everybody else was building.” Portrey built the two Oregon structures — a house and a workshop — for himself.

The floor plan of the original space age round house — the home of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro Jetson –

jetsons floor plan