...recently sold for $920,000. Absolutely Breathtaking .
Mushroom House, Bethesda's Weirdest Home, Sells for $920K
After six months on the Bethesda market, the infamous Mushroom House was sold to an anonymous buyer for $920,000. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home was first listed last October for $1.2 million. The listing is known by several monikers, including "Flinstone House" and "Smurf House." It was transformed from an everyday, non-Hobbit-like abode into a polyurethane foam-covered fantasy after former owners Edward and Frances Garfinkle bought the home in 1967. The renovation, headed by Roy Mason, lasted three years. Since then, the Bethesda abode has been featured in Bethesda Magazine and the book,Weird Maryland by Matt Lake.
This house was originally listed for $1.2 Million:
House of the Week | Mushroom House in Bethesda for $1.2M
The house looks as if it has been plucked from a whimsical fairy tale and set down among a forest of Cape Cods and Colonials in Bethesda.
Often referred to as the Mushroom House, the home began as an ordinary dwelling in 1923. It wasn’t until Edward and Frances Garfinkle decided they needed more room that it was transformed into something in which Bilbo Baggins might live.
The Garfinkles bought the home in 1967. In the early ’70s, they renovated it, nearly doubling the size of the original house.
When asked how it ended up turning into the house they have today, Edward said, “I guess I think of it as one step at a time. You go one step at a time and then you stop and look back and say, ‘How did I get here?’ We got involved with an architect that had some wild ideas, a lot of which we liked the thinking behind them.
“You could say the main thing was we were young,” he said. “A lot of times when you are young, you don’t put a lot of thought into what you’re doing. You say, ‘Oh, this is fun. Let’s do this.’ And that’s kind of how it went.”
Contrary to what the end result may suggest, the Garfinkles didn’t enter into the process with outlandish ideas.
“Our wants were pretty simple,” Edward said. “We knew that we didn’t want to live in a box. We didn’t want straight walls and low ceilings.”
The architect, inspired by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, created an undulating design with rolling curves and curls. Because of the home’s cavelike exterior, created by a polyurethane foam coating, many people are surprised to find it light and airy inside, not dark and gloomy.
“It is very, very private,” Frances said. “It is open and free but very private.”
Wood beams radiate from the 30-foot ceiling in the great room. Skylights and windows of all shapes and sizes flood the space with natural light. An indoor fish pond abuts the fireplace. Edward described the interior as “an explosion of space.”
Growing up in such an unusual home left its mark on the Garfinkles’ children. When their son was house hunting in California, he called his parents to complain. “He says, ‘Boy, you guys ruined me,’ ” Edward said. “ ‘I’m having a hard time being happy with just a conventional house.’ ”
Now that their children are grown, the Garfinkles are looking to downsize.
“It’s been a magical space,” Edward said. “We’ve loved it. We’re not sorry we did it. We wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’ll miss it.”
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is listed at $1.2 million.