AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you find yourself with some free time on Saturday, you might want to check out some of the residences that uphold Austin’s eccentric reputation.
The Quirky Homes Tour allows people to observe the abodes of local artists and collectors decorated to reflect their own unique sensibilities. There are seven homes on the tour this year on October 29 and tickets are available for $40.
Event organizers allowed KXAN to check out three of the seven homes before the day of the tour.
The colorful oasis of a mermaid
Filled with vibrant colors and murals featuring a mystical underwater landscape, this Zilker home can make you forget that Austin is hundreds of miles from the ocean.
The artist behind the house is Lois Goodman. She has been slowly decorating her home for the past 30 years.
“It started with white walls,” she said with a laugh. “And then everything changed.”
Goodman hasn’t limited her creative pursuits to the confines of her property—there are also mermaid-themed cars parked in her driveway.
Throughout the home are collections of salt and pepper shakers, goofy hats, comically oversized sunglasses and matches.
There’s also a disco-like flashing light sink that can make you dance while you wash your hands.
Walking up to Carl McQuarrie’s home in North Austin, you might not think there’s anything strange about it at first glance. That is until you see the doll heads on pillars outside his side gate.
He named his place “Morningwood” after the light that shines through his trees in the morning, he said.
His home has large amounts of artwork that McQuarrie has collected over the years. And there are a lot of them – one would be hard-pressed to find a place in one’s home left bare.
Not surprisingly, McQuarrie once collected art professionally as a curator.
“(My home) features art from the University of Texas – University of Texas faculty and students. So there is quite a bit of art to be seen,” he said.
“All the artists I collect are dead… except one,” McQuarrie continued.
The spectacle doesn’t stop inside. In his backyard, McQueary has what he calls his “Human Shack,” a structure filled with collectibles and art he’s collected over the years. The lodge’s collection includes a piece of the Berlin Wall and many porcelain dolls.
McQuarrie did take offense at the fact that his home could be considered strange. Conversely, he thinks homes with austere walls are the odd ones out, he said.
The earthbag house
The Guadalupe neighborhood is home to Bill Stone’s Earth Bag.
Stone said it took two years to build this interconnected 8-domed structure.
“The structure itself is just dirt and cement in a sandbag,” Stone said. “So I thought it would be fun to build.”
These structures are designed to keep warm inside when it’s cold outside and vice versa. Stone purchased the design plan from an Iranian designer in Southern California.
The walls are two feet thick and have a skylight at the top.