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11 votes

The Mushroom House

3331 Erie Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208 USA

Free to Visit

“admire me from the sidewalk!”

It's pretty gutsy of an architecture and interior design professor to let his students help design his own house, but sometimes, it works out to create something extraordinary-- like in the case of the late Professor Terry Brown. The Cincinnati-based architect allowed 35 of his students from the Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning to help him re-fashion one of his homes, and in the process, created the city's most loved and most whimsical house, affectionately known to locals as The Mushroom House. All of the detail didn't come easy, though. The one-bedroom home was a work in constant progress between 1992 and 2006. Brown, who reportedly bought the house in 1989 for a cheap $36,000, used it as an office while it was being built, and kept it as a second residence from 2006 until his death in 2008. It's hard to believe that it started as a simple bungalow-style home from 1913, given the insane detail on it now. The distinctive look was inspired by nature, with its organic textures, and you'll find elements like colored glass, various twisting metals, wood, even seashells and ceramics incorporated into the building.  Currently, it's not on the market, but the property is valued at around $204,000-- which is incredible for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath home that's only 1,260 feet square, especially in Cincinnati's Hyde Park neighborhood,known more for its large, antique-y mansions. It just goes to show the power of creating something individual and unique that makes you happy. You might not be able to go inside, but grab a drink from Coffee Emporium and wander across the street to inspect the incredible detail up close! -Roadtrippers Over 10 years, nationally recognized architect Terry Brown, spent creating this amazing house/sculpture. Using more than 35 former students from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, where Mr. Brown was an adjunct assistant professor, they helped build circular steel steps, deck rails of wood shingles, stained glass windows, tiled ceilings... Using a variety of materials, wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics, and various metals, Mr. Brown crafted them into irregular shapes, color, volume and texture. This is a private residence so just one to admire from the sidewalk!

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Reviewed by
Chris Spinney Long

  • Tour Guide
  • 173 Reviews
  • 198 Helpful
April 14, 2014

As a kid I always wanted someone to lobby MTV to make this a real world house. As an adult I'm glad my wish never came true. I'm actually surprised at how well it's held up over the years. Well maintained and interesting but not worth a special trip if you're not an architecture buff.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Austin Coop

  • 487 Reviews
  • 415 Helpful
September 18, 2014
Rated 3.0

Not worth driving out of your way for, but there are some great bars like Dutch's and Keystone as well as Coffee Emporium nearby so if it fits in with your dinner, coffee, or drinking plans it's worth pulling up the road for a closer look.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Mitch Oliver

  • 221 Reviews
  • 94 Helpful
July 03, 2014
Rated 3.0

This is definitely an interesting structure to view. I flipped through pictures when it went up for sale a few years ago, and the interior is as distinct as the exterior. It is still completely impractical, and crazy expensive. I guess living in art doesn't come cheap.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Ken Valuska

  • Expert
  • 580 Reviews
  • 159 Helpful
June 06, 2014
Rated 4.0

Really interesting spot, but you can't go inside or anything, but it's right across the street from the Coffee Emporium so it provides something interesting to look at while you drink your coffee

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
September 11, 2016
Rated 5.0

Just had the opportunity to visit this marvel...it is beautiful and worth the stop. Loved it!

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Reviewed by
Anna Hider

  • Blogger
  • 1,280 Reviews
  • 420 Helpful
May 18, 2016
Rated 3.0

You can't go inside, but park across the street, get a drink from Coffee Emporium, and walk past it.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
December 22, 2014
Rated 5.0

This would be a fun house to live in.

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The Mushroom House

3331 Erie Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio
45208 USA

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