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Cincinnati, Ohio

The Cincinnati Mushroom House

What is it about mushrooms that makes people wish they lived inside of them? 

Located in Cincinnati’s otherwise architecturally chaste Hyde Park neighborhood, the so-called Mushroom House is another in a long line of homes that share a resemblance to fungus, from real homes in Canada and Colorado, to the Smurfs.

Admittedly, soft round fungus does look like it would make a pretty comfortable building material, and maybe that was what architecture professor Terry Brown was thinking when he decided to transform his Cincinnati bungalow into a chaotic fairytale creation. Between 1992 and 2006, the late Brown used warped shingles and oddly wrapping staircases to give his one bedroom home on the corner of Erie and Tarpis Ave. a look like no other.

The shingles covering the sides of the home are meant to resemble the delicate sheets on the underside of a mushroom, while the bulbous decorative roofing complete the fungal look. We also added a glass-walled sun room protruding from one end of the building which certainly makes it look a bit less organic, but nonetheless magical.

Unfortunately Brown passed away in 2008, but the Mushroom House remains a beloved landmark in the neighborhood, and doesn’t look to be wilting any time soon. Maybe the new owners can let the world know why the appeal to live in a mushroom is so damn strong.