Home Built on Top of Volcano


home on top of volcano

home on top of volcano

It’s not every day one stumbles across a UFO, never mind one you can live in, and certainly never mind one plopped firmly atop a volcano—er, volcanic cinder cone, to be precise. But lo’ and behold this curious desert dwelling located between Vegas and Los Angeles in Newberry Springs, Calif. popped up on our radar screen.

Originally commissioned by aircraft-mechanics genius Vard Wallace as a personal retreat, the home was designed by prolific and versatile Southern California architect Harold Bissner, Jr. and completed in 1968. The inspiration? San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a nuclear plant in northwestern San Diego county.

The property now belongs to local semi-celebrity Huell Howser, who has hosted California’s Gold, a travel show on the Los Angeles radio station KCET, for the past 20 years. Howser listed the property in September 2009, at which point Curbed LA described it as a “secret hideout where you watch your dastardly plans unfold on flat screens and cackle at your minions.”

Still lingering on the market for its initial ask of $750K, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom main house features a dome formed from concrete and bent-fir beams and grounded by glass walls; inside, a conversation pit keeps things centered around a fireplace.

There’s also a one-bedroom guest house, a lake, 60 acres of untarnished land, a three-car carport, a rooftop observation deck on top of that dome (360-degree views of the desert, anyone?) and, of course, the best part: brokerbabble that references a “stark, strong almost lunar landscape.”

Fun times! Anyway, despite the fact that it’s had zero luck selling—with nary a price chop, either—over the last two years, Howser’s clearly holding out for that one special architecture geek who wants a serious story to tell. Or perhaps just some rich kid who wants to live in a spaceship.

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