Some people, while swirling a shaken-not-stirred Martini, dream of being James Bond. Others, perhaps those without a taste for such dry drinks, would have more fun being a Bond villain – they definitely have cooler houses.
This circular home, on top of a volcano, in the middle of the desert, is the perfect place to indulge supervillain fantasies, and it’s on the market for $650,000 (a price you won’t have to hold the world hostage to afford).
Dubbed the Volcano House, the home sits on an inactive 150-foot cinder cone in the Mojave Desert. The property includes 60 acres of isolated desert near San Bernardino, California.
“You have unparalleled views of the Mojave Desert,” says Brady Sandahl of Desert Area Real Estate, who, along with Annette Short of Barstow Real Estate Group, represents the property. “When you are in such a unique location at such a unique elevation, you have the ability to not just watch a sunrise and a sunset, but [see] the stars. There’s a lot to see when you’re in and on top of the Volcano House.”
The house, built in 1970, used to be owned by a man who was the exact opposite of a cold, scheming villain: locally beloved television personality Huell Howser, who hosted the public television show “California’s Gold.” He died of cancer in 2013 at age 67.
In 2009, Howser gave the house to Chapman University, which intended to use the house for desert, astronomy and geology studies, the Orange County Register reported, but the house turned out to be too isolated to be of use.
The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,206-square-foot house has an open floor plan with curved ceilings more than 9 feet high. You get complete desert views from all the main rooms, including the living room – which looks just large enough to install a laser beam to deal with nosy British agents.
"All core areas of the house directly outline the perimeter of the circle,” says Sandahl. “Your kitchen, dining and living areas are on one half of the circle, and your two bedrooms are on the opposing side of the circle. So the only rooms that are really privatized would be the bathrooms.”
On top of the Volcano House is an observation deck. “You open it and climb up to the very top and then you can look over all curved sides of the Volcano House,” Sandahl says.
The view’s pretty good when you step outside onto the multiple viewing and observation decks that surround the house.
“The panels of glass that you see [outside the house] are in fact sliding glass doors,” Sandahl says. “So you have multiple opportunities to depart the entertainment areas or the bedrooms and walk outside onto the viewing deck, which is really very unique.”
The property also includes a separate two-story structure that contains an oversize garage and an upstairs apartment. The listing says it’s a caretaker’s residence, but it’d be perfect for henchmen – they have to live somewhere.
If you want to make this house your secret desert lair, you’d better act fast; Sandahl says there have been dozens of inquiries and at least one offer.
Sandahl says this home appeals to a special kind of buyer: “people who really admire brilliant architecture and appreciate nature.”
But it might, just might, also appeal to those who are plotting world domination.
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(Photos: Lance Gerber)