Mushroom House of Rochester
Eclectic architecture in the woods of New York.
An organic architectural gem in an unexpected place exists right outside of Pittsford.
Newcomers to Powder Mills Park in Perinton, which is part of Pittsford, which is a suburb of Rochester, New York (are you confused yet?) may be startled as they happen upon what appears to be a series of giant, extraterrestrial fungi looming up from the lush forest floor. Originally based on stems of Queen Anne’s Lace, this unique private residence has always been known by Rochesterians as The Mushroom House.
The structure was designed by architect James H. Johnson for Robert and Marguerite Antell. Ground was broken in 1970 and after several failed attempts the original structures were completed in 1972. The 4½ pods are constructed of concrete and polyurethane and stand on fourteen 20-foot stems of steel-reinforced concrete. Mrs. Antell, a potter, was very much involved with the construction and among other things personally hand crafted and fired over 9,000 ceramic tiles which are found throughout.
The house was owned by the Antells until 1996 when it was sold to another couple. In 1999 it changed hands again, this time returning to the family when it was purchased by Steven Whitman, the son of Marguerite’s cousin, and his wife Christine. In 2001-2002 the Whitmans undertook major renovations and additions including a subterranean glass mosaic and fiber optics “Time Tunnel” inspired by Antoni Gaudi leading to a “cave” which is used as an entertainment room complete with pool table, bar, mosaic fireplace, laminated mahogany tree sculpture and media center. In 2012 it was sold to another family and at the time of this entry it is on the market again due to the newest owners’ need to relocate for work. This incredible 4,000-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 3-bath home can be yours for a cool 1.5 million dollars.
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