When it comes to design, it's great to see stuff that you could actually incorporate into your life, but it's also enthralling to see grandiose works that spark your imagination. These absolutely amazing homes are far out of reach for the average person, but that doesn't make looking at them any less exciting.
Perhaps one of the most famous residences in the world, Hearst Castle features a whopping 56 bedrooms and 61 bathrooms (as well as some of the most gorgeous swimming pools on earth). But it's not the size of the mansion that lands it a spot on this list, it's the stunning style of the home. Hearst took inspiration from the Spanish Revival style that was gaining popularity at the time, opting to focus his creation on Renaissance and Baroque period buildings of the Iberian Peninsula.
The interior was largely built around Hearst's antiquities collection, with many rooms' dimensions based on the size of antique ceilings Hearst purchased from across Europe.
Often touted as the most luxurious eco-mansion, Frank McKinney's 7 bedroom, 11 bathroom masterpiece features a fire spa, an arched aquarium bar and a glass double-helix staircase. Perhaps most impressive though is the fact that the 15,000 square-foot mansion is completely self-sufficient thanks to the ample solar panels and run-off water collection system.
One of the lesser-known works of famed architect John Lautner, this Malibu home features unparalleled views of the beach through its incredible irregularly-shaped windows that frame the walls like works of art. Of course, the spiral staircase that looks like a delicate strip of paper dangling from a string only adds to the dreaminess of the picture-perfect living room.
It's worth noting that this particular property has recently hit the market as a summer vacation rental and can be yours for the price of $70,000 a month.
Images by Simon Berlyn
If the idea of living in a home carved into the rocks makes you feel claustrophobic, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see the light and airy Transformation House of Switzerland. With recessed lighting, breathtaking views and wood inlays that dramatically contrast with the concrete and stone building materials, this Wespi de Meuron Romeo creation shows that cave-dwelling is anything but primitive.
With more facets than a well-cut gem, Formwerkz Architects' Diamond House was built with an angular shape not only to make the property visually interesting, but also to maximize the home's square footage while still allowing for ample space for the garden outside. The tinted facade gives the residents ample privacy while still providing plenty of natural light and peaceful views on the inside.
Few houses reflect the interests of their owners as much as Studio 15b's Golf House in Brisbane, Australia and if you love golf as well, you'll wish it was yours. Built for a retired couple, the home not only is single level with no stairs, but also offers a golf course, swimming pool and fireplace to ensure the residents and their guests are entertained and comfortable at all times.
Rock Ockert Design was commissioned to build a beach house that would make the owners feel like they were on vacation every day despite the fact that the property is tightly wedged between the neighboring homes. The Bronte House delivers with massive skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows facing the beach and massive side walls that provide both privacy and a cooling effect on the home's temperature. Thin slot windows along the top of the home tease the ocean view from the front and allow natural light, while the view from the infinity pool makes swimmers feel like they could swim right through the Atlantic. The effect is a property that is totally set apart from the neighboring homes while appearing seamlessly connected to the ocean and sky outside.
Sky Garden House
Like the designers of the Bronte House, Guz Architects were challenged to build a private, luxurious house on a small plot with close neighbors on each side. Their solution was to separate the property from neighboring houses with large walls while still leaving the front and back of the home open to allow light and air in. A central stairwell allows the sea breeze to travel through the heart of the home, while the grass-top roof allows the home to feel like it has a much larger yard as each floor of the home has its own garden.
Not enough architecture porn to satisfy your craving? Then be sure to visit our Dream Homes category for cool designs of every size and shape.