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All photos via Estately
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Some homes have good bones, and some have walls made of billion-year-old granite. In 1974, a curious real estate ad — "must sell my beautiful pile of boulders near Carefree" — caught the eye of Sunnie and Bill Empie, Arizonans living in Puget Sound seeking an out from the rainy weather. During their initial site visit, they felt drawn to the nine-acre property in the Sonoran desert and commissioned architect Charles Johnson to fashion a home from the natural materials at hand. After years of work, Johnson's vision was finally realized in 1982, a camouflaged, 4,380-square-foot living sculpture using the ancient boulders as raw material, with nary a right angle in sight.
The aptly titled Boulder House, an Architectural Digest cover star now listed on the National Historic Register, has been praised for its dedication to amplifying the landscape, with staircases hewn from stone. A majority of the walls are untouched granite, and the natural lighting that slips through crevices in the boulders cast blades of light across the tiled floor. The portions of the interior of the 3-bed, 2.5-bath property that did end up painted have a red clay color meant to replicate broken bits of ancient pottery discovered on site. With a moon terrace and garden, there's plenty of outdoor space to spot cacti and commune with the howling coyotes, but that's not the only mystical energy flowing through the property. Located on an ancient archeological site where Hohokam Indians celebrated the spring equinox, the home also boasts a series of petroglyphs, as if it needed another unique selling point.