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Cincinnati's fairytale Mushroom House

Posted by 
Anita Durairaj
Anita Durairaj
 2021-05-12

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MushroomsPhoto by Harshal S. Hirve, Unsplash

Have you seen the Mushroom House in Cincinnati? I have. Only from the outside when I was driving by to a hair appointment in Hyde Park.

My initial impression was that it was a rather strange house but it can't be denied that it does resemble a mushroom and would be quite suitable as a Smurf house in fantasy land.

Background

The Mushroom House (also called the TreeHouse) was designed by architecture professor, Terry Brown. It took him more than 10 years to finish the house. He started the construction in 1992 and only finished in 2006.

To understand the design behind the Mushroom House, one has to study the works of Terry Brown. Brown was a professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas but he practiced part of the time in Cincinnati and he was a Cincinnati resident for more than 2 decades. He also taught at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University in Oxford.

His signature style was to use a variety of metals and he was influenced by the shapes that he saw in the natural world. He used wood, glass, shell, and ceramics in his designs. His designs were very unique and considered to be unusual.

The Mushroom House was his own home and studio. It is a small house - only one bedroom but he built it in the shape of a mushroom because he was inspired by nature and brought in his own interpretation of what a house should look like.

Sadly, Brown died in a road accident in Texas in 2008. The Mushroom House remains a lasting legacy of one man's unique vision of his idea of a fantasy home. The house also served as Brown's secondary residence and architecture studio. In addition, he used it as a teaching tool for his students.

A Cincinnati Landmark

The Mushroom House is located at 3331 Erie Avenue in Cincinnati. It is a very prominent landmark and you will not fail to see it because it stands on the corner of busy streets.

The outside of the house resembles tree bark which is why it is sometimes called the Treehouse.

In 2012, the house was placed on the market for $349,000. It was quite expensive for a 1200 square feet one bedroom home but one cannot put a price on creativity and uniqueness.

The Mushroom House is located in a great location of Cincinnati. Even Zillow highlighted the house and posted a video showing the interior of the house with its library, living room, and dining room

Prominent features of the house include copper ceilings, a spiral staircase entry, and porthole windows. The side of the house is constructed to resemble the underside of a mushroom and roof is bulbous in appearance.

The hype for the Mushroom House has not died down. It is now a permanent Cincinnati landmark that attracts visitors from all over the United States.

While you may not be allowed inside the house, don't forget to slow down and admire this architectural marvel if you are in the Cincinnati area.

Sources: The Vale Magazine, Architectural Record, Atlas Obscura

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