Extreme Homes

Biggest, oldest, most expensive, oddest, most modern and more



(page 2 of 8)

Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Oddest House

The Mushroom House | 4949 Allan Road, Bethesda

Some call it the “mushroom” house. It’s also been known as the Smurf House, the Hobbit House, the Flintstones House. It’s even made it into a book, Weird Maryland (Sterling, 2006), by Matt Lake, and onto numerous websites featuring architectural oddities.

But to Edward and Frances Garfinkle, it’s home sweet home. More than that, the 1923 house, designed by futuristic architect Roy Mason, is an expression of their whimsical nature. With a polyurethane foam coating hiding the original stucco exterior, it’s a bloated fantasy of a house.

The Garfinkles bought it in 1967, and a few years later decided on a do-over. “We were kind of misled into thinking it was an inexpensive way to build. It didn’t turn out that way,” says Ed Garfinkle, 77. In fact, it almost ruined them financially. “We did this when we were young. Looking back on it, it was probably kind of dumb,” he says.

Nonetheless, it made their 2,672-square-foot dwelling a quirky landmark, an unconventional outlier amid the monotonous streets of traditional suburban homes off Western Avenue. “It’s all curves and arches and 30-foot ceilings,” Garfinkle says. “Most people looking at it from the outside think it’s a very dark house, but it’s anything but. There’s a pond inside the house and skylights. It’s very bright and cheerful.”

By the front door there’s a bathtub filled with firewood and a “One Way” sign with arrows pointing in opposite directions, along with a sign from the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park that instructs visitors not to “Annoy, Torment, Plague, Badger, Harass, Heckle…or Ruffle the Animals.”

Garfinkle says he has suffered none of those things from curiosity-seekers who gawk at the house or ask him questions when he’s in the front yard.

“One good thing is that it probably slows the traffic down on our street,” he says. “The cars don’t go flying by as much as in the rest of the neighborhood. It’s better than a speed bump.”

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Kensington Cancer Survivor Drives Medicine With Big Data

Meet the man leading a new technology-based initiative at the National Institutes of Health

Four New Books from Local Authors

History, fiction and more from Montgomery County writers

Bethesda Interview: Jack Conger

The Olympic swimmer talks about growing up in Rockville, the advice he got from Michael Phelps, and that night at the gas station in Rio

Things to See and Do in the Bethesda Area in July and August

Our picks for festivals, music, shows and other entertainment
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored Content

Wireless Telecommunication Community Meeting

Join Montgomery County on Monday, October 23, in Rockville to discuss proposed zoning changes to address deployment of microtowers and small cell antennas.

Interested in Learning More About the Democratic Candidates for County Executive?

Join The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and Bethesda Beat as we host a debate featuring the Democratic Candidates for County Executive on November 15. Click to get your free tickets.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

New Construction

Potomac, $1,999,999

Remodeled Colonial

Potomac, $1,075,000

Classic Chevy Chase Colonial

Chevy Chase, $1,319,000

Stunning Updated Tudor

Bethesda, $1,529,000

Transformed Colonial

North Bethesda, $1,295,000
Edit Module

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module

Talk With Us

On Social Media

     

Edit Module
Edit ModuleEdit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags