Take a look inside one of Austin's 'weirdest' homes, a $2 million lake house that resembles a sand dollar from above

Melissa Wiley
·4 min read
The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
The Sand Dollar House is located on the shores of Lake Travis outside of Austin, Texas. JPM Real Estate Photography
  • An iconic lakefront home in Austin, Texas, that looks like a sand dollar from above has hit the market for $2 million.

  • Travel company Weird Homes Tour identifies the property as one of Austin's weirdest homes.

  • Called the Sand Dollar House, the home was designed in 1979 by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Insider spoke with real-estate agent Michelle Jones about the home. Jones shares the listing with Todd Grossman.

  • Take a look inside the home, which boasts sweeping views of Lake Travis and decks galore.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A lakefront home dubbed an "Austin icon" by travel company Weird Homes Tour has hit the market for $2 million.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Sand Dollar House aerial view. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Weird Homes Tour

Perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Travis, the home is located about 20 miles from downtown Austin, Texas.

The Sand Dollar House Austin Location Skitch
An arrow shows the location of the Sand Dollar House. Google Maps

Source: Grossman & Jones Group 

From above, it resembles a sand dollar, or a flat sea urchin.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Sand Dollar House aerial view. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group 

Designed in 1979 by architect John Covert Watson, an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, the home is well known to boaters on Lake Travis, according to Weird Homes Tour.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Aerial view of the Sand Dollar House and Lake Travis. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Weird Homes Tour

Liz Bradford, the home's current owner who purchased the property in 2018, had dreamed about owning it since seeing it from a boat in college, local news outlet Austin 360 reported.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of the Sand Dollar House from Lake Travis. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Austin 360

Officially called the Sand Dollar House, the structure is also known locally as the Mushroom House, the Nautilus House, and the UFO House based on different interpretations of its shape, listing agent Michelle Jones told Insider.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Sand Dollar House exterior view. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Built from steel and gunite, the home is an example of 1970s organic architecture, which sought to promote harmony between architecture and nature, according to Weird Homes Tour.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Sand Dollar House front entrance. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Weird Homes Tour

Inside, custom sliding windows open up to multiple decks ...

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of the Sand Dollar House main living area. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

... and tear-drop-shaped skylights flood the white-washed living area with natural light.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of the Sand Dollar house foyer. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

The home has "stood the test of time" and changed little since 1979 beyond system and energy efficiency upgrades, Jones told Insider.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of the Sand Dollar House living area. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

A curved kitchen with a blue-tiled countertop protrudes out over a lower deck ...

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of the Sand Dollar House kitchen. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

... and two of the bathrooms feature mosaic tile designs.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House bathroom. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

"They are so incredible and retro, even more stunning in person," Jones said of the bathrooms.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House bathroom. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

A spiral staircase connects the main level to the sleeping quarters below.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Bird's-eye view of the Sand Dollar House spiral staircase. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Like the upstairs, the three downstairs bedrooms have sliding glass doors that open up to the outside.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House bedroom. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Lake views abound. Residents could watch the sun rise from bedside patio chaises ...

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House bedroom patio. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

... then watch sailboats pass by from one of the upstairs decks over coffee.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House upstairs deck. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Later in the day, they could follow stairs from the house down to the lake ...

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of stairs leading from the Sand Dollar House to Lake Travis. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

... then settle around an outdoor fireplace to watch the sun set.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
View of a Sand Dollar House outdoor deck. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Between the views and the home's unusual shape, Jones feels that the home is "truly unique," she told Insider.

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Exterior view of the Sand Dollar House at night. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Grossman & Jones Group

Bradford echoed the sentiment in conversation with Austin 360. "I feel like it's a privilege to live here," she said. "This house is very special."

The Sand Dollar House - 819 Mariner, Lakeway, Texas
Exterior view of the Sand Dollar House at night. JPM Real Estate Photography

Source: Austin 360

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