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.
Surreal Estate: Our Favorite Odd, Awesome Homes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."