This Ordinary-Looking House Is Actually a Renaissance Palace in Disguise

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From the outside, this house in Newport, Oregon, looks pretty ordinary, with yellowed brick walls, white cladding, and a two-car garage. But you’ll be surprised to learn that inside it’s actually an opulent Renaissance-era palace complete with hand-carved doors, stained-glass windows, and centuries-old antique decor.

The unique house belongs to a member of the British nobility – the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almine Barton – apparently has excellent reason for maintaining the striking contrast between the spectacular interior and rather drab exterior – taxes.

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Neft Dashları – A Once Bustling City Built on Oil Platforms in the Caspian Sea

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People have been temporarily living on oil platforms ever since they were created, in the early 20th century, but Neft Dashlari, a giant oil platform complex in the Caspian Sea, roughly 40 miles east of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, serves as a permanent residence to around 1,000 souls. Known as the largest and oldest offshore city in the world, the Soviet-era structure was built in 1949, after engineers found vast resources of oil in the region, thousands of feet beneath the sea floor.

The original foundation consisted of pillars mounted on seven sunken ships, including Zoraster, the world’s first oil tanker. The poles were erected around a central hub, a 17,300-acre artificial island where the main oil wells were located. Between 1952 and 1958, the city grew in size to include 2,000 drilling platforms, joined by a 300-kilometer network of bridge viaducts, spread in a 30-kilometer circle.

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Family Builds Glass Greenhouse around Their Home to Warm It Naturally

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Even though the average temperature in Stockholm, Sweden, is at a frigid 27 degrees Fahrenheit, Marie Granmar, Charles Sacilotto and their young son enjoy a cozy atmosphre all year round. The young couple have managed to harness the power of the sun by encasing their home in a giant glass greenhouse.

Aptly named ‘Naturhus’ (Nature House), the unique abode is located on the Stockholm archipelago and consists of an old summer house encased in glass. Marie and Charles were originally looking for an empty lot to build a house from scratch, but they eventually settled on repurposing this old summer house for year-round living, by building a greenhouse around it.

“This is a summer house,” Marie explained. “It was not really made for year-round living, but that was part of the idea, that you could actually put the greenhouse around the summer house and actually live in it with nice comfort all year round.” Charles, an engineer by profession, designed and made the necessary modifications himself, drawing inspiration from the work of Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, who just happens to be his mentor.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse Costs a Lot More Than a Real House

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Priced at an eye-watering $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is easily the most expensive dollhouse in the world. The 800 pound, 9 foot tall museum-quality miniature house, with its 29 rooms and a wizard’s tower to boot, was inspired by the fantasy castle ‘Astolat’ that features in Alfred Tennyson’s poem Lady of the Shalott, and built over a period of 13 years, between 1974 and 1987.

Miniature artist Elaine Diehl was primarily in charge of building the Astolat Dollhouse, but she collaborated with many artists all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the “interiors and adjoining areas were each constructed to the highest standards of that time,” while “the exterior took a year to sculpt to the final finish.”

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Architect Turns Old Grain Silo into Amazing-Looking Home

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It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but this cylindrical structure is an architectural marvel. It actually used to be an old grain silo from the 1950s, but it’s been transformed a cozy, well-equipped one-bedroom by architect Christoph Kaiser. He now lives in the silo-house – located in Phoenix, Arizona – with his wife.

The quirky 340-square-foot home has a very small carbon footprint, but not at the cost of modern comforts. Kaiser, who purchased the silo from a Kansas farmer and transported it to Arizona on a pickup truck, made all sorts of modifications to make it habitable. He added a ten-inch spray foam insulation between the silo walls and the interior walls, and painted the corrugated shell sheet white to reflect the heat of the desert sun.

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Russia Begins Construction of World’s First Underwater Church

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A group of Russians are trying to construct the world’s first underwater church at Cape Fiolent, about 200 meters off the Crimean coast. Divers recently planted a large cross styled like a ship’s anchor at a depth of about 20 meters below sea level, marking the beginning of the ambitious project.

The church is partly sponsored by a Russian motorcycle club called Night Wolves, believed to have close ties with President Putin. Co-funding the project is the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Both groups hope that the church will attract more tourists to the newly annexed Crimean peninsula.

“The underwater church will look like a church,” said Archimandrite Tikhon, who is also a diving enthusiast. “There will be icons inside – just like in a real church. Most probably they will be bas-reliefs of icons in stainless steel or stone.” He added that architects are working on the design and details of the structure.

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Chinese Company Unveils Fully-Functional 3D-Printed Villas That Can Be Assembled in Three Hours

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3D-printed homes aren’t exactly new, but the rapid progress made in this new industry never cease to amaze us here at Oddity Central. Earlier this year we wrote about a Chinese company that used a specially designed 3D printer to create large ec0-friendly housing in record time. Another construction company has now perfected the process, making it possible to assemble a fully functional home in just three hours!

The revolutionary new technology was developed by Zhuoda Group, in Xi’an, central China. On July 17, they put up a two-storey sample villa built from pre-constructed components that were printed in a factory and later lifted into place using a crane. The instant villas cost only about 3,500 yuan ($564) per square meter, which is far lower than the current industry standard.

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Architecture Graduate Builds His Office Out of 8,500 Beer Bottles

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Li Rongjun, an aspiring architect from China, has built himself an spectacular office. In a bid to showcase his mad construction skills, he’s used 8,500 beer bottles to make the entire upper floor of a two-storey building!

The 300-square foot office, located in Chongqing city, consists of 40 layers of bottles that Li and his father laid out over four months. Pictures show how he cleverly stacked the bottles in rows with the bottoms facing inward sand filling the gaps with stones and cement.

“I wanted to build an artistic and usable office,” said Li, who graduated from the Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology this year. “This building is also my calling card for my future business plans. It will allow investors to see my products in real life and see my talent.”

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9-Year-Old Girl Spends Her Free Time Building Tiny Shelters for the Homeless

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Hailey Ford may look like an ordinary nine-year-old girl, but her magnanimity is rather uncommon and awe-inspiring. The little saint has made it her mission to help the homeless in her community by giving them a place to sleep.

While most other kids her age are content playing with toys, Hailey picks up power tools to build tiny shelters for people living on the streets. “It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people,” she told KING 5 News. “I think everyone should have a place to live.”

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Man Spends Six Years Carving Cave Home in the Side of a Hill

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After his divorce, Chinese farmer Xu Wenyi longed for a means to escape reality. So he set out on an epic challenge – to dig his own cave dwelling in the side of a hill. It was back-breaking work, but he kept at it for six long years, until his cave home was finally ready.

Xu, now 57, has been living in his cave for over a decade. Located in a mountain in Xiangtan County, in China’s Hunan Province, it measures 100 ft deep and 13 ft wide. In fact, it’s more like a tiny apartment, complete with concrete-reinforced walls and a front door. The interiors are pretty neat too, with an 85-square foot living room and a stone kitchen. Xu has even dug out alcoves in the walls, to use as shelves for his belongings. He has a chicken coop inside, and he’s made himself a garden of pine and cypress trees outside.

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Chinese Millionaire Builds Company Headquarters to Look Like the Starship Enterprise

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The headquarters of NetDragon Websoft – China’s most popular internet provider – looks quite conventional from the ground, but aerial footage shows that the building is actually a replica of the iconic Starship Enterprise!

NetDragon chairman Liu Dejian, a huge Star Trek fan and self-described ‘Uber Trekkie’, reportedly spent $150 million over a span of six years to construct the USS Enterprise-shaped office. When it was finally ready in 2014, he chose to remain rather low-key about it. But when a fan spotted a satellite image of the badass building – about the size of three football pitches – it eventually stirred up a social media frenzy. Drone footage was soon released online, making Star Trek fans all over the world drool with delight.

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Russian Man Builds House with 12,000 Bottles of Champagne

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Located in the city of Chelyabinsk, in Russia, is a unique house built almost entirely of champagne bottles. The architectural oddity is the handiwork of a local resident, 52-year-old Hamidullah Ilchibaev. Fondly referred to as ‘Palace Oz’, the place is now a popular landmark in the region.

The idea for the house was not a random one – Hamidullah has always been interested in constructing things out of beer and vodka bottles. His children had always admired his work, and encouraged him to build a house someday. But he always thought it was impossible to do.

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There’s a Truly Unique Island Home For Sale in Hungary

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If you’re looking for a truly unique island home, you might want to check out this newly listed property in Hungary. It’s no a tropical paradise and the water is actually a small pond in the middle of an agricultural area, but at least it’s quiet.

The small house is located straight in the middle of a 120-square-meter man-made pond and apparently includes all modern amenities, including running water, electricity and sewage system. Whoever built it must have been a real fishing enthusiast as the pond is stocked full of different kinds of fish, from carp to bream and even sturgeon. Overall, there is a total of over 10,000 kilograms of fish living in the pond and they come with the house.

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Chinese Company Builds 57-Storey Skyscraper in Record 19 Days

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Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building recently released an online video showing how they managed to build a 57-storey building in a record time of 19 days. ‘Sky City’, located in Changsha city, comprises 800 homes and office space to accommodate a total of 4,000 people.

The company’s original proposal for the site was actually a 97-storey building that would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. But just after 20 stories were completed, construction work was stopped for one year because local officials wanted to review the plans. Ultimately, they had to reduce the plan to 57 stories due to the building’s close proximity to the airport.

In spite of the major delay, the entire construction from start to finish was completed in less than three weeks of work. The 4-minute clip shows employees building each storey offsite and delivering it to the location. A timelapse sequence shows the assembling of the mammoth building which require a total of 19 days to complete – that’s exactly three floors per day!

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French Botanist’s Paris Home Is a Regular Urban Jungle

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French Botanist Patrick Blanc, is known as a master of vertical gardens. During his long career, he has designed hundreds of lush “green walls” that cover both the inside and outside of buildings all around the globe, but none are as impressive as the small urban jungle he calls home, on the outskirts of Paris

61-year-old Blanc makes vertical gardens by attaching metal frames to walls, covering them with PVC and rot-proof felts, and then setting up an irrigation system that dampens the felt and keeps the plants well hydrated. Since 1988, he has created hundreds of these botanical tapestries in public and private spaces around the world – including the Marithé & François Girbaud boutique in Manhattan, the Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.

Expanding on his unique method, Blanc worked on his dream home in the outskirts of Paris, in collaboration with architect Gilles Ebersolt. But while most of his professional projects present nature through a formally elegant design, the plants in his home are a tangle of leaves with a mold-smudged ceiling. From the outside, the house doesn’t look too impressive. But once you step inside, it’s like entering a whole new world.

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