Unconventional Kinds of Homes

So, you are going to build a new home in Boise? It is an exciting new experience if you haven’t done it before. However, before you celebrate too much, have you thought about what kind of home you want to build? Are you going to build a ranch style home, a craftsman, or something else? If you are thinking about doing something a little more exotic for your custom Boise home, maybe you should consider some of the following unconventional homes.

Subterranean Dwellings Now, when you hear about underground homes, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it miner’s hats, hard rock walls, and so forth? If so, then you are in for a treat. They look and feel like a normal home on the inside-- sheetrock, doors, the works; they are nowhere near anything dark or dingy that you may imagine. In fact, there are evens some underground homes that are only barely underground. The three main types of underground homes are completely submerged homes, halfway submerged homes, and homes that are built into a hill.

There are many reasons why people like building underground homes, the most prolific of which would have to be their increased energy efficiency. When it comes to cooling down a home, the home that is surrounded by dirt will be the easiest and least time consuming. Since the dirt acts as a very good insulator, heat does not penetrate it as easily. This makes spending money on a massive cooling system a thing of the past.

Another great part about having an underground house is the potential for more space. If you are permitted to dig deeper or wider, you can easily add to your home without fear of running out of room. Not to mention, underground homes can be quite large already without having to invest in a large lot to begin with.

One of the things that people think will be a large problem when they decide do to live in an underground house is lighting. In a normal, above-ground home, you can always open the windows and let the light in . . . there are no windows in an underground home, which makes lighting a logistical problem. However, thanks to modern technology, there is a way to remedy the situation. This solution? Sky lights and solar tubes. These apparatuses allow natural light to pour in from the ceiling and, in the case of the solar tubes is able to bounce the light around corners and tunnel it down to lower levels. This gives the solar tubes an advantage over skylights as a skylight is simply a whole in the ceiling. It is made possible thanks to the solar tube’s system of mirrors that reflects the light into whatever direction you want. Another thing that the solar tubes have over skylights is their ability to absorb light from any different direction. They have dome shaped caps that protrude from the roof of the home that gives the mirror system the ability to collect light in a 360 degree area.

Cave Houses

A kin to the underground home, the cave house is, as the name suggests, built out of a cave. Now, these can be either normal homes that are built inside a cave, or homes that are built out of caves. These aren’t going to be like mining shafts or anything like that, but rather something more like the Flintstone’s home. Whatever the type, however, cave homes are not anywhere close to being primitive. Usually, a cave home will have power, running water, and so on.

Themed Houses

A themed house can be anything from an antique home from the historic district, or a medieval castle for that matter. The sky is the limit for themed homes so it just matters what you want to get out of it. There are many people that choose to build a standard home and then use themes on the inside, however, you can also incorporate the theme into the actual architecture. These homes will tend to cost more though. You can find a number of builders here in the Treasure Valley that are willing to do customized homes, but they may need to be searched for as not all will be so inclined.


The lighthouse is a masterful piece of art that just happens to double as a home. While there are still lighthouses that are in use and you can’t live in the, there is a number of retired lighthouses that are fun to live in. However, if you live in a suburban neighborhood, you will definitely need to find a custom home builder to take on the challenge as there will most likely be any conveniently located nearby. They can be very fun though when they are outfitted with working lights. This is hard to do in a suburban neighborhood as you might aggravate your neighbors. However, if they like it too, then you can feel free to enjoy the bright light of your lighthouse.


I’m sure we all have known someone who has built a tree house and have, at one point or another, wanted to build one ourselves. Well, just like those dreams of yesteryear, there are people who have taken treehouses to the max and are now, living in them. Now, this idea isn’t just ‘for the birds’ it actually has some amazing benefits economically and environmentally. But before we go into the benefits, how does it work?

A treehouse house is a house that is made either in the tree or out of the tree. These two versions are obviously constructed in different ways, but they are both fun and amazing to live in. A treehouse will have all the same amenities as a normal house— electricity, air conditioning, heating, etc.— but the only difference is that they are in a tree. They can be both ground level homes and elevated homes with any number of sizes. It all depends on the need of the owner and the capacity of the tree.

The benefits of having a treehouse are as follows: economic and environmental. The economic benefits to using a tree is that it cut down on your energy costs. This is because the tree itself will shade your home and it will also cut down on the amount of wind that buffets you home. Environmental benefits are that, instead of killing a lot of trees to build your home, you build in the trees.

Homes Made of Shipping Containers

Probably the most radical option on this list after the treehouse, the shipping container house not only strange, but it is also fairly inexpensive and very strong. These types of homes have been made popular by doomsday preppers as they make for very quick bomb and bullet proof shelters (not a guarantee). However, they have become very popular on the market for those who are less prepared for the end of the world.

These homes are made by attaching several large shipping containers together to form the shell of your home. Once they are connected, they have wholes cut inside of them to connect the space from one container to another. Next, the walls will be done up with sheetrock and insulation as well as wall studs, electrics and so forth. This will ensure that all the comforts of home will be included in your new home. Windows, plumbing, and so forth will be added next, completing the amenities. Foundations for homes like these can be a little hard to manage so a contractor should be consulted.

The Tiny House Movement

While the average size of the American home has been growing, there are plenty of people that have been resisting this growth as a part of the anti-expansion movement. They build their homes as small as they can, instead of big like the rest of the country. They specialize in making homes that are under 1000 square feet while still keeping all the amenities that a normal home would have like bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and so on. Most of these homes, thanks to their small size, are built on flatbed trailers for easy moving.

What About a Fortress?

Akin to the themed home, the fortress home is not all show, but also completely functional. A fortress home is built to be a fortress. This is another style that is popular amongst the doomsday preppers, but is also popular for people who just like added protection. There are several fortress homes that are made out of concrete and steel and can sometimes simply resemble a concrete cube. This is great if you don’t care about aesthetics. However, a normal ranch or craftsman style home can also be converted into a fortress. It will take some work and may require specific permits from the city.

Anyhow, these are just a few of the unconventional homes that you can choose from, so the next time you are searching to build a home in the Treasure Valley, consider these unusual ideas.

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