This fixer-upper in the woods shows what can happen when a stone mason builds a house with a vision of using the energy of the earth. But doesn’t quite finish the job.
The current owner built the house on Miner Street in Warsaw, NY, from concrete and glass in 1980, and notched it into the hillside. It’s listed for only $99,900 and needs some serious work to bring it up to date.
There are a variety of ways a buyer could configure the earth-sheltered structure.
“One of the early blueprints that he had was that this would be built as an apartment complex,” explains the listing agent, Rodney Heale.
Instead, the owner wound up taking up residence in part of the structure and leaving the rest unfinished. Other projects competed for his attention, and he was never able to devote his full attention to the place.
“Being a mason by trade, he’d go out and have to finish everybody else’s projects, and then this was kind of his baby to do on his own,” Heale says. “As with other contractors, not all of them finish some of the projects that they’re doing for themselves. He’d be the classic example of that.”
One side of the structure is a wall of windows facing out to nature, but the back side backs right into the earth, which forms part of the roof.
Heale told us the rubber membrane between the concrete and the earth needs some repairs. Even so, the earth does help the structure to maintain a consistent temperature.
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“On a day like today, at the right time in the afternoon, you could open up those inside windows and just by letting in some of that natural heat that has been captured, the temperature would go up anywhere from 2 to 5 degrees,” he says.
As far as finished spaces go, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms on 2,336 square feet. Everything inside could use a refresh.
The rustic kitchen has custom brickwork and several living spaces outfitted with radiant heat, baseboard heat, and other technology. Another 600 square feet of unfinished space is ready for new owners to customize to their liking.
It’s not clear what the next steps should be, but the concrete home in the hillside is a livable space.
“Everybody’s subject to their own opinion as to what’s move-in ready,” Heale says. “There’s some that would look at it and say, ‘We can live in this part here, and we’ll slowly change some of the things around, and then eventually finish [it] off.’ Then there’s other people that come in and say, ‘Oh my, I would have to spend a ton of money on this property in order to make it the way that I want it to be.’”
The house sits on almost 1.5 acres of wooded land in the village of Warsaw, NY, about an hour southeast of Buffalo.
“It’s on a dead-end road, so there are only a couple other properties there,” Heale says. “There are really no other building opportunities there, so this is very secluded, but you’re inside the village, so you still get public water and sewer.”
He says the house is quiet because of the concrete and earth, yet bright, thanks to all the windows.
Because of the issue with the roof and the repairs required, obtaining traditional financing has been difficult. Heale and the owner are in search of a cash buyer.
It will also take a buyer with a vision and talent.
“In the description, I put unique as one of the first words, ‘unique contemporary,’” he says. “Somebody needs to come in and finish it off.”