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Buy a House at the Very Top of a Volcano For Less Than $1M

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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. 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 TV 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.

· The Volcano House [Deasy Penner via AOL Real Estate]
· New to Market: Secret Desert Volcano Lair [Curbed LA]