Full exposure: Ultracool glass houses
People who live in glass houses …
A modernist statement — the use of industrial materials such as glass and steel for domestic home construction — was made by such visionary architects as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, with his 1929 Barcelona Pavilion. Later he did the same in the United States with his Farnsworth House, and Phillip Johnson followed suit with his Glass House in New Canaan, Conn.
These homes blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces and are studies in transparency and reflection.
The saying that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones predates the building of the first glass home, but it certainly is good advice for anyone looking to live in one.
Glass homes continue to make statements in residential design, though it does take a certain kind of person to feel comfortable with all that exposure. Life in a modernist fishbowl requires either a lot of chutzpah or plenty of private acreage — not to mention some tight security to keep those gawkers away.
For now, take a look at the best see-through homes on the market.
The Glass Pavilion
This Montecito, Calif., home was designed by Phillip Steve Hermann, who also designed homes for singer Christina Aguilera and comedian Lenny Bruce. It's going for a cool $35 million.
The Glass Pavilion is set within a 3.5-acre estate of oak groves in one of the wealthiest communities in the U.S. Inside – if you can call it that – is more than 14,000 square feet of living space.
The home is almost entirely constructed of glass, with massive structural steel beams, and took six years to build. The large glass panels are Star Fire glass, an incredibly clear glass often used for jewelry displays. The multiple fireplaces are made of statuary marble.
The home has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a grand hallway and a large wine room. It also includes an art gallery where the architect, who designed the home for himself, displays his vintage car collection. The space accommodates more than 30 cars within its walnut-lined walls.
Bathe within full view of the outdoors in an Antonio Lupi free-standing tub. Fortunately, there is plenty of security to keep the peeping toms at bay. The home is in a gated estate at the end of a long driveway and comes equipped with a high-tech security system.
Built in 2007, this rounded pod house in Quepos, Costa Rica, was designed by Andres Morales. The home has a main house and a guest house, with the added perks of horse stables and a helipad.
The home is near Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most biodiverse in Costa Rica. On display are exotic monkeys, sloths, iguanas and a whopping 184 bird species. Along the beach, you'll find dolphins and even migrating whales.
But the real beach party starts at home with the Austin Powers-esque bar. Groovy!
The main house
The main house has 360-degree views of the surrounding ocean and mountains, not to mention the glamorous pool that wraps around half the home.
A marble staircase leads to a master bedroom suite with a jetted tub directly behind the king-size bed. Can you say posh?
Remember the Highland Park, Ill., house of Ferris Bueller's uptight buddy, Cameron Frye, in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? Well, the iconic house is on the market for $1.65 million — crashed Ferrari not included.
The Ben Rose Home
Cameron's house is known as the Ben Rose Home, after the noted photographer who owned it. It was designed by A. James Speyer and David Haid and built in 1953.
Into the woods
The ultraswank house is dramatically cantilevered over a ravine. It's also set on more than an acre of gorgeous wooded property.
Here, you'll find 5,400 square feet of living space, thanks to the enormous dining room, bedrooms and living rooms. Surrounded by glass, this exquisite home has Hollywood style to spare.
This London house overlooks the Victorian-era Highgate Cemetery. Philosopher and economist Karl MarxMalcolm McLaren are just two of the famous figures buried in the backyard. and punk impresario
The windows are almost entirely frameless on the cemetery side, while the street side is a curtain wall of honed black granite, steel panels and opaque glass, for privacy. The house is listed for $7.97 million.
Inside, you'll be dazzled by 4,225 square feet of living space with four bedrooms and bathrooms. The kitchen has a retractable skylight that transforms the space into an open-air courtyard.
Designed by architect Eldridge Smerin, the house replaced a 1970s structure by John Winter. The idea was to design a building with significantly lower energy consumption than the original but with a greater floor area. The home has a green sedum roof, and its temperature is moderated by its stone and glass construction.
For $13.73 million, a glass and steel home in Son Vida on Mallorca, the Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain, offers much to admire, thanks to its windowlike walls.
Secured in a gated community overlooking the city of Palma, the Bay of Palma and surrounding mountains, this home offers security and unrivaled natural beauty.
Take the plunge
The home has six bedrooms and a separate apartment, but even more droolworthy is the large, teak-decked pool with its own sauna.
Martha's old crash pad
Private homes aren't the only way to get full exposure. Renowned architect Richard Meier designed a number of glass-walled apartment buildings that have attracted celebrity interest. A penthouse duplex in his iconic Perry Street Towers in New York is for sale for $13.9 million. It also happens to be Martha Stewart's old crash pad.