5 Homes With Big Surprises Inside
East Village Slide Home
Location: New York City
Price: $3.9 million
Sq. ft.: 2,400
It’s hard to miss a pivotal element of this East Village penthouse duplex, made from two apartments: a slide between floors.
See AOL Real Estate's video tour of the slide home.
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com says it belonged to Phil Galfond, a 27-year-old pro poker player who had the slide installed so he could fly back to his seat at the computer after a break. Following the U.S. crackdown on Internet gambling, Galfond moved to Canada, which is how his customized penthouse reached the market.
Peek inside the slide home
Features include top of the line appliances, Celador Oyster Stone countertops, white maple hardwood floors and an Italian-crafted Rintal staircase to bring the occupant up for a return trip on the slide. Outdoor space includes two glass-walled terraces, a private roof deck and a common roof deck. That area contains a pool, cabanas, BBQ area and a courtyard.
Automated Beach House
Location: San Diego
Price: $6.499 million
Sq. ft.: 2,550
This beachfront house has a 30-foot-tall fully retractable glass atrium with floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls, allowing for unlimited stargazing and sea breezes.
Take a peek inside the automated beach house.
The home also has features to block out Peeping Toms, in addition to automated window coverings and an indoor/outdoor surveillance system. Also on hand are fireplace, lighting and audio visual elements. This unique home also has a glass-walled Jacuzzi, an opulent glass-topped bar and a beachfront master suite with a steam shower and spa tub.
The Phoenix Earthship
Location: Greater World, N.M.
Price: $1.5 million
Sq. ft.: 5,400
Expensive homes are the architectural equivalents of gas-guzzlers — the opposite of eco-friendly. That has changed — homes are increasingly built with renewable and repurposed materials, and more than ever are being designed to use alternative energy. But passive solar homes made by Earthship Biotecture are way ahead of this curve — they’ve been built green and off-grid for many years.
Take a peek inside the Phoenix Earthship.
This particular Earthship structure boasts a waterfall and something you don’t see in any other home: “a jungle in which you can catch fresh fish for dinner.”
Mike Reynolds, architect of the Phoenix Earthship, says it best. "There's nothing coming into this house: no power lines, no gas lines, no sewage lines coming out, no water lines coming in, no energy being used. ... We're sitting on 6,000 gallons of water, growing food, sewage internalized, 70 degrees [or 21 degrees Celsius] year-round. ... What these kind of houses are doing is taking every aspect of your life and putting it into your own hands. ... A family of four could totally survive here without having to go to the store."
If this unusual house looks or sounds familiar, a humbler and drastically cheaper Earthship home appeared previously on CNBC in the “Weird but Wonderful Homes” slideshow.
AOL Real Estate also has written about earthships in New Mexico.
Price: $4.75 million
Sq. ft.: 11,000
This stone Norman-style mansion on more than 5 acres boasts a hidden speakeasy. It was built in 1932, a year before the end of Prohibition.
See AOL Real Estate's video tour of the speakeasy house.
As TopTenRealEstateDeals.com points out, building a speakeasy into a home was as common as having a home theater today — if you had the money.
Peek inside the speakeasy home
A major part of the mansion’s interior is more than 350 years old — the wood paneling in the Great Room is from the circa 1650 hunting lodge of England’s King James II.
It also has a bowling alley, master suite with a fireplace, his and her offices, a conference room and a three-bedroom guest cottage. Adding to the elegance of this property is a porte-cochere leading to the garage in a second walled-in courtyard.
Price: $10.9 million
Sq. ft.: 10,124
It’s been said that luxury homes are America’s castles, but this one in Miami comes with a massive moat.
Peek inside the Chateau Artisan
This mansion, built in 2007, takes the royalty theme further, beginning with a dramatic wrought iron gate entrance, and the home’s towers have pointy vaulted ceiling bedrooms. Modern conveniences include elevator, median room, and something rather forward-thinking: a full house generator. The 14-acre grounds also have formal gardens, koi pond, fountain, guest house and gazebos.