Folly Architecture: 10 Most Absurd Designs

Sometimes picket fences and cupolas just won't do when it comes to making a statement with your house. If you're in the market for an off-the-wall custom home, consider drawing inspiration from architecture's greatest follies. Derived from the French word for "foolish," folly-inspired buildings defy logic and convention in the pursuit of a purely decorative aesthetic -- in other words, monuments to crazy.

From upside-down churches (it keeps the demons at bay) to Scottish pineapples (can't explain that one), we run down The Huffington Post's list of the oddest "follies" in the world.

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Offbeat Beach Homes
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Folly Architecture: 10 Most Absurd Designs

Who said beach homes have to be dull? With all the natural beauty that coastal real estate commands, homeowners can stand to take some risks in the design department. With that in mind, compiled a list of the 10 most interesting beach homes this side of the equator. From cutting-edge art installations to a Parthenon-inspired monument to the gods, we run down the most stunning homes to hit the sand.

Location: Montauk, N.Y.
Price: $25 million
Beds/Baths: 4/6

How do you stand out in the ultra-luxe environs of Montauk? By out-building your Bermuda shorts-wearing neighbors. This 7,400 square-foot modern contemporary compound includes two striking properties on a 75-foot bluff over the Montauk shoreline.

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But modern doesn't have to mean cold or uncomfortable. Designed by architect James Biber, the 5,000-square-foot main house includes a gourmet kitchen, dining room and step-down living room.

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Even multimillionaires care about saving some bucks on energy bills. In addition to its other creature comforts, the home is equipped with radiant heating -- a highly energy-efficient system that heats floors and surfaces, not the air.

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Location: Carmel, Calif.
Price: $19.2 million
Beds/Baths: 3/5

The Butterfly House, perhaps named for its recent and extensive renovation, is seemingly perched right at the edge of the world. Wall-to-wall windows offer transformative views of the choppy waves below.

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Stare out at the sunset long enough and you might think you're floating on water. The living room's panoramic views span the coastline from Point Lobos to Pebble Beach.

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If saltwater isn't your thing, take a dip in the courtyard swimming pool. The home was designed with transparency in mind, allowing its inhabitants to move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor spaces.

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Location: Kamuela, Hawaii
Price: $12.9 million
Beds/Baths: 6/8

A patch of green painted onto granite seaside cliffs, this $12.9-million Hawaii mansion uses architecture to fuse indoor and outdoors into a cohesive living experience. Enclosed by tropical plants, the pool, spa and other flourishes of water blend into the Pacific.

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The courtyard has two covered outdoor sleeping areas and woodwork designed to evoke an Asian temple--a serene theme that extends to the peaceful koi pond.

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Thoughtfully installed lighting interacts with sunsets to blend the home into its environs. Inside, recessed lighting, custom glass fixtures, local art and mahogany steep residents in luxury.

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Location: Malibu, Calif.
Price: $15.95 million
Beds/Baths: 6/7.5

Overlooking the ocean, this Malibu beach home stands proudly on its 65-foot stretch of Malibu Road. Behind its glass and concrete exterior are six bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms along with a great room, dining room and gourmet kitchen -- all finished with exotic woods and stone.

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The house is wired for luxury: "smart house" technology renders the home eco-friendly --if you don't count the energy sucked by all the flat-panel TVs that dot the walls.

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The Pacific shimmers outside every window, while the patios offer stunning views of the beach.

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Location: Sarasota, Fla.
Price: $14.5 million
Beds/Baths: 5/5.5

Located in the posh Sanderling Club on Siesta Key, this abstract wonder seems to shift its shape, depending on where you view it. Each living space is contained within its own color-coded cube whose hue connotes a "privacy gradient."

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Residents can enjoy the sun beneath overhangs crafted to provide shade. Or they can suck in rays indoors through floor-to-ceiling glass.

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Its outdoor area is designed to accommodate family get-togethers, with a water slide-furnished pool large enough to host water polo games, plus a volleyball court and fire pit.

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Location: Laguna Beach, Calif.
Price: $9.995 million
Beds/Bath: 4/5

It's fine to let your freak flag fly, but for those eccentric homeowners who value modesty, consider this elaborate beachside mansion. To the naked eye, it might appear to be a lavish waterfront property -- but look below and you'll find a Batman-inspired subterranean passageway.

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If Bruce Wayne was into tanning, he might have holed up in this underground secret passageway. The home itself is hidden from street view by the rocky hill, but the owner has access to a secret passageway, complete with hydraulic elevator, that rises to the main floor. Pictured left is the showcase garage housed behind the stealthy facade. Maserati or Batmobile, the choice is yours.

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Back upstairs, it's more Hollywood than Gotham, but every masked crusader needs a yin to her yang. The listing describes the style as "soft contemporary architecture," but by the moon's light, there's something enticingly sinister about the home.

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Return to the surface in time to witness breathtaking views of the sunset. Because even superheroes need their daily dose of vitamin D.

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Location: Golden Beach, Fla.
Price: $13.5 million
Beds/Baths: 5/7

This sci-fi-looking home in Golden Beach features granite and wood floors with rolling walls and ceilings. Futuristic wonders of the $13.5 million home include a cantilevered floating staircase and glass-enclosed second-floor bridge.

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Skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass flood the premises with natural light. The home offers a media room, gym, gourmet kitchen and formal dining room.

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Outside awaits a stunning palm tree-framed vista. Guests can enjoy the view from the comfort of an infinity pool designed to stretch seamlessly into the white and blue of Golden Beach's waterfront.

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Location: Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
Price: $10 million
Beds/Baths: 6/8.5

This intriguing contemporary, priced at $10 million, commands 100 feet of shoreline on posh Dune Road of Westhampton Beach. Its cavernous 38-foot-tall foyer sounds a note of grandeur that trills into four guest suites and seven bathrooms along with a master suite, great room, chef's kitchen, dining room, elevator and theater.

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Cherry-stained hardwood floors sweep through the premises, contrasting with the white walls and ceilings.

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The home also has an infinity pool, pool-side dining area and dock.

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Location: Nokomis, Fla.
Price: $6.795 million
Beds/Baths: 4/4.5

Standing proud over prime Florida beachfront, "Oasis by the Sea" is a hulking 13,000-square-foot monolith overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

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Architect Guy Peterson designed the home, which took second place in SRQ Magazine's Annual Home of the Year award. The home offers a sweeping pavilion, laid out in front of floor-to-ceiling glass that buffers four bedrooms and four and a half baths from bright sunlight.

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The home also has a five-car garage and a pool that sits in the center of the pavilion.

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Price: $25 million
Location: Southampton, N.Y.
Beds/Baths: 7/7.5

This classic contemporary home, just removed from 200 feet of beachfront, resembles a Greek temple. Robust columns encircle the rectangular structure, which affords 360-degree panoramas of the ocean and bay.

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Designed by Norman Jaffe, the home has six bedrooms -- all with ocean views -- and six and a half bathrooms, along with expansive public and private rooms amenable to large-scale entertainment.

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The interior has a sunken living room with recessed lighting and skylights designed to lure visitors on meandering tours around the house. In addition, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the premises with natural light during the day.

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Outdoors offers a sunken tennis court with protective landscaping to shield rallies from interfering winds, plus a Gunite pool. When you want to switch from chlorine to salt, a deck path leads you toward the beach.

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