Artist Constructs Victorian House of Legos

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If only some home builders were this dedicated.

Mike Doyle, a New York-based artist whose fascination with texture and decay might only be rivaled by his patience for mind-numbing minutia, has just constructed a 5½-foot-tall model of a run-down Victorian mansion made entirely of Lego blocks. (A tip of the hat to Curbed for leading us down the rabbit hole.)

Entitled "Victorian on Mud Heap," this meticulously designed fantasy home is the third in his series of Victorians, and took Doyle nearly 600 hours to create and approximately 130,000 Legos to build.

(See the gallery below for more photos.)

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Call him the ultimate weekend warrior. When he's not wearing the hat of design director at a high-powered New York marketing firm, he's devising new ways to up the ante in Lego sculpture.

"It's simply the embellishment and the ability [of the Victorian style] to show off the decay best, which is what I'm most interested in," Doyle told AOL Real Estate.

Mike Doyle From start to finish, the process took him just under eight months of late nights and busy weekends to complete.

"It can sort of get out of control," he says with a laugh.

While he has always been interested in graphic design and the fine arts, it wasn't until he took his son and nephews to a Legoland convention a year and a half ago that he discovered the "My Own Creation" (or MOC) community of adult Lego sculptors.

Now it's become a family affair. His favorite detail in his latest decrepit masterwork, he says, is a tiny lamp near the doorway that his 9-year-old son built. Even the 5-year-old gets involved, but most of his contributions aren't quite ready for primetime, the father of two says.

For his next project, Doyle says that he wants to explore his fascination with slum buildings, particularly in developing nations. "You can't quite tell if they're old or new," he says, which gives them a timeless quality.

Readers can check out Doyle's other works on his personal blog or Flickr page. There's even a 3D image of the spooky Victorian pictured above. Eat your heart out, Tim Burton.

CORRECTION: Doyle's model of the Victorian house was previously described as 3½ feet tall. It's actually 5½ feet tall.

Also see:
Artist Makes Luxury Home in a Dumpster Tangled?
Hair Castle Raises Wonder and Disgust
Tour the 258-Square-Foot Transformer Apartment

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Surreal Estate: Weird Homes to Weather the Storm
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Artist Constructs Victorian House of Legos

With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, homeowners are battening down the hatches from North Carolina to New York this weekend. But if you lived in one of the uniquely sturdy homes on our list, Irene might pack a less powerful punch. From semi-subterranean shelters to conch-shaped fortresses, hippie dirt mounds to high-art domes, we explore some of the coolest places to weather a storm. 

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Advertised as "off-the-grid," this 3,140-square-foot home just outside of Taos, N.M is listed for $495,000. It has a spacious living room, fireplace and half-bath, kitchen dining area, patio and deck, and is powered by solar panels and a wind turbine.

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Powered exclusively through natural sources, solar panels on the home soak up the hot New Mexico rays, while a turbine harvests desert winds.

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The bedroom, encased in concrete and wood is surrounded by "mature" trees -- you know, like the kind you can have deep conversations with. Also on the patio awaits an appliance which may come as a surprise: a barbecue. Who's up for some grilled arugula!? 

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The center of the home hosts its green nuts and bolts: There, a giant cistern stores the home's H20 next to an interior waterfall and the solar battery apparatus. 

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This earth-sheltered dome home in Fountain Hills, Ariz., is mostly underground and offers protection from harsh weather conditions, along with the reduced energy costs that come with earth-cooling. 

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The unconventional abode boasts a balcony and several outdoor patios with mountain views.

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While the prospect of living underground might call to mind a mole-like existence, the place's cream interior and skylights add buoyancy to its insides. 

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The home isn't as cramped as you might think: It offers 1,788 square feet of space that includes three bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms. Outside, there's a two-car garage

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These renderings sketch the designs of "eco-cottages," green homes that nestle into hills that will dot the perimeter of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous waterfall-straddling home known as "Fallingwater."  The innovative homes were selected through a design competition, according to inhabitat.com.


The partially subterranean homes will use the cooling properties of the earth to maintain room temperature in the cottages' minimalist interiors, reports inhabitat.com. 

All the cottages will include a bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and bathroom. 

The jury that selected the home reportedly stated: "In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move." Construction of the cottages is still in the fund-raising phase. 

Tardigrade House is modeled after "the world's most indestructible living creature -- the Tardigrade," according to the designer's website. Don't know what a Tardigrade is? Neither did we. According to Webster's, it's a category of microscopic animal that comprises the water bears. The partially buried home constructed of styrofoam and cement is internationally "touted as the world's safest house," the designer's website proclaims. 

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The concrete foundation sits over a series of perforated drainpipes that carry away floods. While it may have the hardiness of something microscopic, the place actually turns out to be quite spacious: The three-story home contains three bedrooms and bathrooms. 

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Rock-solid homes don't always come cheap. This dome complex in Brainerd, Minn. costs $1.5 million. Financed by the Water Foundation. Polystyrene insulation under the concrete creates a "thermal envelope" that wraps around the structure. 

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An elaborate stairway slicing through vegetative landscaping ushers you into the eco-conscious four-story home.

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Nifty windows flood the wood interior with natural light. The home includes the "Biological Composting Toilet System" that the home's designer, Natural Spaces Domes, estimates has saved Minnesotans 900,000 gallons of water. 

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Located in the sleepy Swiss village of Vals, this high-concept vacation home is literally built into the pastoral scenery. The brainchild of architectural firms SeARCH and Christian Muller Architects, the home was designed to "strengthen the surrounding landscape" -- not dominate it.

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As this aerial shot illustrates, however, you don't have to give up civilization to enjoy a quiet weekend. The unassuming property is smack-dab in the middle of a populated village.

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Just because the home is built partly underground doesn't mean visitors can't still enjoy the mountain air from the home's many intimate rooms.

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The Villa Vals booking site, which offers the home to visitors for 3,500 euros ($5,061) per week during peak season, notes that the interior is filled with furnishings by some of the most cutting-edge Dutch designers.

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The rural setting makes the glowing windows of the home all the more stunning at night. Meditate by day, throw Swiss ragers by night.

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OK, we can't in good faith suggest that people seek shelter from hurricane force winds in this glass and steel cube -- but what a way to spend a rainy night in! From ground level, only the sleek cubic shell is visible. But for those invited in, the basement level pool is sure to please. Located in a wooded area in Long Island, N.Y., the 4,500 square-foot Sagaponic House is perfect for outdoorsy revelers.

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High ceilings and glass walls make the boundaries between artifice and nature all the more transparent in this ultra-modern abode.

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The contemporary interior puts a chic new spin on storm-watching. Just put a tarp over that pool!

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A closer look at the home's most interesting feature, the sub-level pool.

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