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Breaking the mold 

Three houses you won't find in a tract

Anyone who has shopped for a house knows the process can be fraught with anxiety. The commitment. The responsibility. The mortgage payments. With worries like these, no wonder we become timid, risk-averse. We flock like lemmings to tract neighborhoods, where boxy houses stretch in rows to the horizon.

            The bravest among us march to the beat of a different realtor. They don't want the square, little lawn. They roundly reject the ubiquitous Colonial. They seek out the unusual, the creative, the houses that truly express who they are.

            Here's a look at the unique homes of three local families who weren't afraid to go where no developer has gone before.

In This Guide...

  • Home Sweet Dome

    Buckminster Fuller first envisioned geodesic domes as sturdy, easy-to-construct, low-cost housing for the masses in the late 1940s. His idea took hold in the decades following, and today the geodesic dome --- part engineering triumph, part philosophy-in-action --- is a symbol of an era when world peace was a goal, not just a logo.

  • The straw-bale house

    If you tell Sharon Kissack her house smells like a barn, she won't be insulted. She's in the final stages of installing straw-bale walls inside, and the scent of sweet, dry hay is just one of the advantages of her unusual choice of materials.

  • The Floating House

     "This is not a 'Hi honey, I'm home!' house," artist Annie Dunsky-Kälnitz says of her Pittsford residence. Pod-shaped and perched on 100-foot pylons on the side of a hill --- like a long-legged bug --- the house was dubbed the Floating House by its first owners.

  • Right under your nose

    Art furniture made here
    Art furniture made here

  • DIY: children's bedrooms

    I was cruising right along, hitting all the mile markers of adulthood --- finished school, landed a real job, bought a used car, got hitched, knocked up, the works. But no one makes it out of childhood without facing something that makes them say, "Whoa!


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