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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Man Spends 1,000 Hours and $200,000 Turning a Cave into His Dream Home

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In search of a simpler life, a corporate honcho from Australia decided to give up his career and become a caveman. But not before spending an eye-watering £160,000 ($230,848) to renovate a 250-million-year-old cave in England to suit his tastes!

Angelo Mastropietro, 38, was inspired to make the change after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. The condition led him to become temporarily paralyzed, and he spent that time reflecting on the things that really mattered to him.

“My life before I became a caveman was really quite different,” the former recruitment boss said. “Like most people I had aspirations to work in the corporate world. I had a lapse that left me essentially paralysed, which was a catalyst to review where I was, where I was going with my lifestyle. I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.”

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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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The Sea Organ of Zadar – A Musical Instrument Powered by Wave Movement

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The Sea Organ is an incredible musical instrument made up of a system of pipes and whistles that plays actual music as the waves of the Adriatic Sea push air through it.

At the end of World War 2, the shoreline of Zadar, a beautiful Croatian city with a history dating back to prehistoric times, had been almost completely destroyed. In the years that followed, many of its lost landmarks were rebuilt as plain blocks of concrete, and the coastline was no exception. Seeking to restore it back to its former glory, local authorities brought in award-winning architect Nikola Bašić, who, inspired by the hydraulis, an instrument built by the ancient Greeks that used water to push air through tuned pipes, designed and overlooked the construction of the Sea Organ, or Morske orgulje.

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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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World’s First Sand Castle Hotels Open in Holland

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If you love building sandcastles then here’s your chance to actually live in one. ‘Zand Hotels’ – the world’s first hotels constructed out of sand have opened in two Dutch towns – Oss and Sneek – to commemorate sand sculpture festivals held there each year.

The two pop-up hotels have fully furnished one-room suites, hidden inside eight-meter sculptures. One is modeled after the iconic Bedrock homes from the Flintstones, and the other has a Chinese theme, with dragons, the Great Wall of China, and the Terracotta Army as decorations. Believe it or not, these sand hotels have all the modern amenities, like electricity, running water, glass windows, king size beds, soft carpets, luxurious bathrooms and Wi-Fi!

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Eccentric Man Builds Giant “Chicken Church” in the Middle of Indonesian Jungle

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Buried deep inside the Indonesian jungle is a very odd structure, shaped like a giant chicken. The long abandoned construction, locally known as Gereja Ayam (Chicken Church), is a popular tourist attraction in the hills of Magelang, Central Java.

Word on the internet is this strange construction was designed to be a church, but according to its creator, the building is neither a chicken nor a church. Daniel Alamsjah, 67, revealed that he was working in Jakarta when he suddenly received a divine message from God to build a prayer room in the form of a dove. “Perhaps because of my Christian faith, people thought I was building a church,” he said. “But it’s not a church. I was building a prayer house, a place for people who believe in God.”

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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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This Transforming Castle Truck Is the Most Amazing Mobile Home Ever

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Justin and Jola Siezen are an unconventional family.  They have adopted a traveling lifestyle and are constantly on the move with their baby son Piko, in a mobile home. But that’s no ordinary mobile home – it’s a magical truck that transforms into a fantasy castle, complete with a kitchen, bedroom, turret bathrooms, and a rooftop bathtub!

The couple used to spend a lot of their time on the road, because of Jola’s job as an acrobat. “We were traveling around overseas and thought about coming back to New Zealand and where we were going to live,” Justin said. “I remembered living in a bus and I was thinking ‘that’s actually not a bad idea, that would be a good start when we get back until we decide on something else.”

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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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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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Canadian Couple Live on Amazing Man-Made Floating Complex Miles Away from Civilization

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Canadian couple Wayne Adams and Catherine King are the proud owners of ‘Freedom Cove’, a colorful floating home off the coast of Tofino in British Columbia. The unique structure consists of 12 platforms, supporting wooden buildings, greenhouses, a lighthouse, and living spaces that are all interconnected through wooden pathways. Freedom Cove is special because it is a ‘getaway’ in the true sense – completely off the grid and self-sustaining in every possible way.

Adams and King, along with their two children, have lived at Freedom Cove ever since it was built in 1992. And they’ve managed to live a full life without the help of mainstream civilisation. They grow fruits and vegetables all year round in several greenhouses, and generate electricity through solar panels and photovoltaic energy generators.

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