DUBLIN -- Giving new meaning to "money pit," an unemployed Irish artist has built a home from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros ($1.82 billion), a monument to the "madness" that he says has been wrought on Ireland by the single currency, from a spectacular construction boom to a wrenching bust.
Frank Buckley built the apartment in the lobby of a Dublin office building that has lain vacant since its completion four years ago at the peak of an ill-fated construction boom, using bricks of shredded euro notes he borrowed from Ireland's national mint.
"It's a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us," Buckley said of what he calls his "billion-euro home."
"People were pouring billions into buildings now worth nothing," he said. "I wanted to create something from nothing."
A wave of cheap credit flowed into Ireland in the early 2000s after Ireland joined the currency zone, fueling a huge property bubble that transformed the country.
The bubble's collapse since 2007 plunged Ireland into the deepest recession in the industrialized world, forcing the former "Celtic Tiger" to accept a humiliating bailout from the EU and the IMF.
Buckley was given a 100 percent mortgage at the peak of the boom to buy a 365,000 euro home on the far reaches of Dublin's commuter belt, despite the fact he had no steady income. (That's nearly $480,000 at today's exchange rate.)
He has separated from his wife who lives in the home, which has since lost at least one-third of its value.
Living in his "billion euro home" since the start of December, Buckley is working on adding a kitchen to the living room and hall.
The walls and floor are covered in euro shreddings and the house is so warm that Buckley says he sleeps without a blanket.
Pictures made from notes and coins decorate the walls, including one of a house that's made from Irish 5 pence pieces.
"There are houses in Ireland worth less than that," Buckley quips.
Buckley said that he wants Europe's politicians to solve the eurozone debt crisis without destroying its currency. But if the currency ultimately fails, he will happily use the euro zone's defunct notes as fodder for future projects.
"Whatever you say about the euro, it's a great insulator."
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Carmel Crimmins and Paul Casciato.)
Some just refuse to settle for everyday domiciles. They want more: trippy dimensions, riotous color or wacky themes.
While many might be reluctant to own one of these wildly alternative abodes, most of us can probably still appreciate their novelty and pizzaz. From a jaw-dropping UFO-shaped volcano house to an off-the-grid, refuse-constructed "earthship," we bring you the best of these bizarre but lovable homes.
Click through our gallery to see some fabulously funky homes might leave you dumbstruck -- and maybe even envious.
Overlooking L.A.'s shimmering expanse, this rectangular home is four stories high, and glows in the night with its floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor lights.
The home features a giant reception room with a gleaming, vaulted wood ceiling and skylights. Hydronic coils in the floor heat the interior during damp Seattle winters, while expansive windows passively cool it in summer.
"One-of-a-kind," proclaimed the listing when this home hit the market. Who could possibly disagree? The "Volcano House" sits on a mountaintop and offers 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding desert, located between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The two-bedroom, 60-acre property used to be listed for $750,000. With its dome-like structure, overlooking a desolate, unforgiving landscape, we agree with AOL Real Estate writer Ann Brenoff that the scene is downright lunar.
This "off-the-grid" 3,140-square-foot home is located just outside of Taos, N.M., which is close to the Greater World Earthship Community. This "earthship," on sale for $495,000, has a spacious living room, fireplace and half-bath, kitchen-dining area, patio and deck, and draws its power from solar panels and a wind turbine.
The bedroom is surrounded by "mature" trees -- you know, like the kind you can have deep conversations with. Also on the patio awaits an appliance traditionally associated with carnivores: a barbecue. Who's up for some grilled arugla?
At ground level, only the the sleek cubic shell of this home is viewable. But walk inside and you'll discover a basement-level pool. The 4,500 square-foot, Wainscott, N.Y., house nestles into a cocoon of woodsy surroundings.
This "Conhouse," designed by the eponymous Germany-based architecture firm, amounts to two containers stacked on top of each other perpendicularly. A polka-dot interior gives the home an even higher spot on the funky meter.
When homebuyers decide to put down roots in Galveston, Texas, they often bring stilts. That’s because Galveston, located smack in the middle of the Gulf Coast’s hurricane alley, is regularly assaulted by torrential downpours. But one eccentric homeowner decided to take a different approach. Known as the “Kettle House,” this steel bowl has withstood the Gulf Coast’s fury for the better part of 50 years, according to the authors of “Weird Texas,” a collection of Texas roadside oddities. Pretty hard to believe when you consider how Hurricane Ike devastated the town back in 2008.
Built in 1948, the "Shoe House's" use of stucco and wood gives standard architecture the boot.
The home offers an impressive five levels that contain three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room.