Homes come in all shapes and sizes. Traditional homes are still the norm throughout North America, but as technologies get better, and more and more buyers look for alternative options and more sustainable materials, unconventional homes grow in popularity with new and seasoned buyers alike. Check out some popular unconventional homes below!

Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container homes have become more and more popular within the last decade. Made up of shipping containers that no longer meet the standards needed for shipping, these homes are an excellent option for those individuals looking for an eye-catching and innovative dwelling. From the number of benefits they afford – space saving, thoroughly customizable, eco-friendly – to their actual affordable price tags, these unconventional homes are not to be missed. The home featured in the image above is a design by Relevant Buildings in Oregon.

3D Printed Homes

3D printing has captivated the eyes of millions of people throughout North America in recent years, and it’s no surprise that the technology has found its way into the housing sector. ICON, based in Austin, TX and owner of the building pictured above, led the way for 3D printed homes as the first company in the US to secure a building permit and construct a 3D printed house in 2018.

More companies across the US have jumped onto this growing movement; even Habitat for Humanity has utilized the technology. With endless customizations available, these unconventional homes fit the bill for buyers looking for an affordable, eco-friendly, and unique home.

Earth Berm

For the vast majority of us living in North America, our homes are traditionally built above ground. But that’s not a rule! There is a building option that utilizes the space below ground: earth berms or earth-sheltered homes. These homes get their name from the fact that all or most of the walls of the structure are encompassed by the earth around them. These homes feature a number of benefits, including energy efficiency, low maintenance, and even possible lower home insurance costs due to their extra protection against the outside elements and natural disasters.

These homes are definitely not for everyone, but they are wholly unconventional and extraordinary in their uniqueness.

Geodesic Dome

Geodesic dome homes are not new: the homes, based on geodesic polyhedrons, became popular back in the early 1950s for their shape and extensive benefits, even attracting the attention of the military, banks, and universities. The buildings were easy to assemble and resistant to wind and weather, but the shape proved a hard sell to buyers in North America.

These dome homes are certainly unconventional, but they offer energy efficiency and are generally way more affordable to build than a conventional home. The shape has also become very popular with pop-up glamping (glamorous camping) establishments throughout the US and Canada.

Earthship

For those looking to stray off the beaten path when it comes to a home, an earthship is your top option. Earthships are dwellings that are designed to behave as passive solar earth shelters and are defined by six basic design principles (Passive solar heating & cooling; Solar & wind electricity; On-site sewage treatment; Natural & recycled materials; Water harvesting; Food production). They take advantage of the “existing natural phenomena of the earth.”

These homes are generally constructed from recycled materials (like earth-rammed tires, bottles or cans, and cement or stucco), and many owners prefer to build them off-grid. They may not be for everyone, but they offer an incredibly unique living experience and can be extremely eco-friendly in construction and maintenance.

As it is said, a home is where the heart is. Whether your home is traditional or unconventional, what matters most is how you make it your own!

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