From a distance, you might think your eyes are deceiving you. But look closely and you’ll discover one of architecture’s greatest optical illusions: the hidden house.
Now located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the famous Joshua Tree residence earned its name because of its mirrored glass exterior that reflects the rocky landscape. Depending on the angle, time of day, or even the weather, the simple structure seems to fade amid the rugged surroundings of the national park. Over the years, the Invisible House has made several television films, served as a filming location for advertising campaigns and attracted the attention of listeners. Modernist House’s biggest claim to fame, though, is that its owners are independent film producers Chris and Roberta Hanley, best known for their work on American Psycho. And now the mirror home can be yours — for $18 million, that is.
The couple who bought the land in the early 2000s had already built a vacation home on their 70-acre plot, but after a few years, they discovered that its size did not adhere to local regulations. This led Chris to begin drawing up plans for a new desert dwelling – inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey A movie reminiscent of a New York City skyscraper, reportedly the Wall Street Journal. “I just drew a rectangle on paper and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to build this,'” he told the newspaper. “I thought it could just be a monolithic, reflective, minuscule thing.”
Collaborating with legendary Los Angeles-based architect Thomas Osinski, Chris completed the home in 2019. However, it took him six years to finish the project. One portion of the property measures approximately 225 feet and is cantilevered off the ground using concrete pilings, preventing it from disturbing the area’s giant boulders. Due to the site’s harsh temperatures, the façade is wrapped in heat-reflecting Solarcool glass, which is also what gives the exterior a mirror-like appearance. Plus it also filters UV rays and infrared frequencies. Chris told Wall Street Journal It took a full year to deliver the glass and cost about $700,000. Sustainability was, of course, top of mind during the building process, so you’ll find the dwelling equipped with an eco-friendly foam roof. In addition, the Invisible House uses a solar thermal system to generate electricity and hot water.
The aesthetics here are minimal. Think concrete floors, some light-colored pieces of furniture, and little else, so as not to distract you from the stunning desert vistas. In total, the spread spans 5,500 square feet and has three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen and dining area. And if you’re looking to cool off from the region’s sweltering heat, the heart of the living room houses a 100-foot indoor pool that can also be heated when temperatures drop. In another notable element, the glass walls can actually open to the outside on three sides.
In the primary bedroom, meanwhile, you’ll find a bed that sits on a 2,500-pound glass frame. According to Chris, getting him inside was no easy feat – it took two days and five workers. Fortunately, all furnishings are included in the sale.
“Bringing the hidden house to market for the first time ever is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Aaron Kerman of AKG. Christie’s International Real Estate in a press release. “Bringed to life in the middle of the desert by a visionary film producer and collaborator with Frank Gehry, this architectural triumph located in the middle of the desert offers unique, intangible things that can only be experienced on the property itself.”
Since its inception, the Invisible House has welcomed celebrities like Demi Lovato and Diplo, who have rented the residence for an off-grid vacation. He also starred in the second season of The coolest vacation rentals in the world on Netflix and appeared on Bling Empire. Now, instead of just spending the weekend or swooning over this unique abode from afar, you can actually live there full time if you’re willing to commit to desert living.
Aaron Kerman and Matt Adamo from AKG | Christie’s International Estate is holding the list together.
Click here to see all photos of the Joshua Tree Hidden House.
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