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Curious Cribs: Mushroom House Bursts on Rental Market

Mushroom House New York James Johnson
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  • Location: Pittsford, N.Y.
  • Price: $5,500 per month
  • Size: 4,168 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

A rare opportunity has arisen for those wishing to live among the truffles — or at least in eye-catching circumstances. The regionally famous James Johnson-designed Mushroom House, in Perinton, N.Y., near Rochester, is seeking a fancifully minded tenant willing to pony up $5,500 a month.

Though the by-any-standard idiosyncratic home was modeled after a sprig of Queen Anne’s lace, its unusual pale brown color and unexpected shape makes it more evocative of a small cluster of mushrooms. Said to be the most driven-by home in western New York and established as a town landmark in 1989, the charmingly unusual home has three bedrooms and three full bathrooms within almost 4,200 square feet. Built between 1970-72 and tucked away on a woodsy 1.2-acre lot, the property is scenically located next to Powder Mills Park, featuring a stream and a waterfall.

The gravity-defying structure is composed of a number of molded polyurethane and concrete pods that sit on thick stems that burst from the hillside like tree trunks. Each pod weighs about 80 tons and contains different living spaces, one holds the living room, another the kitchen and another the principal bedroom.

The ultra-organic abode, which spills out to a variety of terraces hovering amid the surrounding treetops, was built for artist Marguerite Antell, whose hand-painted ceramic tiles adorn the walls of the house. Indeed, the entire home was kind of a collaborative project between Johnson, Antell and some 20 creative friends. Wendell Castle created the property’s eye-catching mahogany front door and Adam Chesis designed the root-like wooden sculpture in the sitting room; other artists contributed custom wood furniture, metal workings and tile decorations.

The listing is held by Richard Testa of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.