Benito Hernandez Has Lived Under a Rock in Mexico for More Than 30 Years

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Mexican Family Turns Rock Formation Into Home



We've all heard the expression, "Have you been living under a rock?!" But there are very few people who can genuinely respond: "I have." Benito Hernandez, of Coahulla, Mexico, is one of them. For more than 30 years, he, his wife and their seven children have been living under a 130-foot-diameter rock. The rock acts as the roof of their sun-dried-brick home, located in the remote desert town of San Jose de Piedras, about 50 miles from the Texas border.

From the outside, the home itself is barely discernible. The rock hovers, mushroom-like, over the tiny home. Inside, the dwelling is humble: a low rock ceiling, dirt floors, simple wood furnishings. The family supports itself by harvesting a variety of local desert plants, cooking on a wood-burning stove and drawing water from a nearby spring.

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Benito Hernandez Has Lived Under a Rock in Mexico for More Than 30 Years

We've brought you weird, quirky and even animated homes before -- and this weekend is no different. Since it's a long holiday weekend, we thought we'd have a little fun and round up our favorites among the world's strangest homes that we've featured on AOL Real Estate. The way we figure it, if you've knocked back enough beers in the hot summer sun, these totally weird homes might look completely normal to you. Click through the gallery and see what we mean!

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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Though you'd literally be living in the ground, 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 that 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 $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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Are you a Trekkie with a few mil to burn? Well, here's the opportunity of a lifetime: For $10.5 million, you can own this Australian home designed by a lifelong "Star Trek" fan -- using the Starship Enterprise as his inspiration.

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Though the house doesn't travel at warp speed, the modern design's layout does create a feeling of "endless open space," owner Peter Chedid told The Wall Street Journal.

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The home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and an underground five-car garage.

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And in true Trekkie fashion, the home features an entertainment room with a 120-inch projector screen and custom-made, feather-filled seating for up to 10 people. The walls of the room are airbrushed with a mural of an image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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China's Piano House -- yes, it's a house -- is built in the shape of a grand piano, which you access via a staircase and escalators inside of a giant glass violin. The building in Huainan City was reportedly designed in 2007 by architectural students at Hefei University of Technology. It acts as a showroom for city planners to show off their designs for the Shannan district in Huainan City.

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You might assume that this meticulously landscaped home was the brainchild of a not-so-creative rockstar, but you'd be wrong. Zillow reports that the home was built for $26 million by the CEO of a physician-management company. Amazingly, the home sold at auction for only $4 million in 2003, according to The New York Times.

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The chateau-style residence sits on 27 acres. Its limestone, marble and maple floors sprawl across 50,000 square feet.

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Gilded, paneled ceilings, gold chandeliers and gold-colored curtains and bed designs -- it's all very understated here, in the master bedroom of the chateau with a guitar-shaped driveway. When you're not bed-bound and reveling in your success, step outside and grab a stallion from the six-stall barn to ride in the outdoor arena.

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Muscular staircases reach up to a second floor covered by a paneled ceiling.

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A lot of homes are out of this world -- but this one really looks it. Retired industrial arts teacher Roberto Sanchez Rivera built his home in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to look like a spaceship, complete with blinking strobes, technicolor lights and even audio effects. 

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The entire home was a huge DIY effort. The spaceship's dome was made from dollar-store ashtrays, the psychedelic light fixtures at its base were fashioned from salad bowls and the interior decor was made from old utensils, pots and pans!

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If the flying saucer-style design doesn't appeal to you so much, no worries. The home's interiors are a little less ... celestial.

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This Middle Earth dwelling nestles into a knoll in Wales, and has all the trappings of a genuine hobbit home. The designer, Simon Dale, sought to create an affordable house which blends into its rustic surroundings.

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Tucked into a hillside, the home uses oak framing, which bolsters a roof composed of mud and turf.

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All the woodwork of the humble abode has been harvested locally. It prizes sustainable living: Underground air cools the refrigerator, the water supply flows in from a nearby spring and solar panels power the appliances.

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One of the wildest treehouses we've seen, the Bird's Nest is a "tree room" where guests stay at the Treehotel in Sweden. With a network of branches making up its exterior, it literally looks like a bird's nest.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

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But on the inside, it's a sleek wood-paneled space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living area to accommodate a family.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se


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The accommodations are much more plush inside than it might seem from the outside.

Photo: Peter Lundstrom, WDO -- www.treehotel.se

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If Frodo Baggins inhabited our world instead of Middle Earth, he'd probably run as fast as his hairy feet could carry him to make an offer on this subterranean home. Burrowed into a sandy knoll in Atlantic Beach, Fla., the "Dune House" has the trappings of the dwelling commonly populated by Frodo's kinsmen. Well, at least on its grass-covered exterior.

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The entrance to the home -- which is behind the hill -- leads down a winding staircase into the kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Some of the rooms feature oval windows that stare out over the beachfront and onto the Atlantic -- and the home's furniture is built into the interior, making it resemble a space capsule.

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Designed by famed architect William Morgan in 1975, the beachfront dome -- more or a less a duplex -- provides 1,500 square feet of living space, including two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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We're tired of all the sharp-edged, glass-walled, run-of-the-mill vanilla contemporaries in Hollywood. If we had a choice (and a spare $2 million), we'd want to live in this ultra-colorful, Tudor-style home in West Hollywood, Calif.

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Its eclectic exteriors are painted every shade of the pastel rainbow, and it's anything but your average Hollywood manor, but we like it.

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Inside, the home's a little more classic and true to its historic, vintage aesthetic (it was built in 1912).

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Antique light fixtures, lots of glossy wood, and exquisite moldings are a pretty contrast to the home's endearingly outlandish facade.

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Or is it a UFO? Whatever you think it is, there's certainly something other-worldly about this remote desert property.

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This Olympian home is perched on a 60-acre lot in the vast desert between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. For the homeowner seeking supreme solitude, look no farther than this alien abode.

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The main house consists of two bedrooms, a living space and not much else -- but when you own the 60 acres surrounding the pod-shaped property, you probably won't spend a huge amount of time indoors. Good luck, though, walking past your "front yard." That first step is a doozy.

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Here's a look inside the dome-shaped domecile. According to some sources, the home was built in 1968 to resemble an information center in a California nuclear power plant. Home, sweet home.

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Sweet ceiling, eh?

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Despite the primitive conditions and harsh winters, the Hernandez family wouldn't have it any other way: They spent 20 years fighting to gain title to the land they live on. Many might wonder: Why? Hernandez says that it all started with a childhood dream. "I started coming here when I was 8 years old [to visit the candellila fields]," Hernandez told the BBC. "And I liked it. And I had to keep coming."

Living under a rock in the Mexican desert might be a little extreme, but it's hardly the strangest living situation we've heard of. There's the couple who turned a school bus into a home -- a totally rent- and mortgage-free one at that. Then there's the underground missile silo home we visited in upstate New York. Our favorites, though, might be the totally off-the-grid communities around the globe that we discovered in our "Off the Grid" series.

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