Located 10 minutes from downtown Joshua Tree, California, the fully mirrored, box-like home known as “Invisible House” reflects the desert landscape. Now it’s for sale, for a whopping $18M.
The listing describes it as:
“Invisible House is a 5,500-square-foot smart property cantilevered 100 feet off the ground, featuring a prefab guest house, solar and thermal systems, a 222-square-foot projection wall, and an indoor solar pool. Its mirrored exterior was conceived to reflect the ever-changing landscape and create a dialogue between object and site. This project is a collaboration between famed architect Tomas Osinski and owner and designer Chris Hanley, an LA-based film producer. The house is located on 90 acres of land abutting Joshua Tree National Park.”
These words though, cannot tell the whole story.
It all started when in the early 2010s when the owners Chris and Roberta Hanley, were enjoying their off-the-grid vacation home in Joshua Tree, Calif., and they were informed that their 720-square-foot prefab house violated local regulations. At the time, Joshua Tree required that homes be at least 20 feet wide, and their modular house wasn’t. If they wanted to keep living on the land, they would have to build something bigger.
Mr. Hanley, a movie producer and artist, quickly got to work sketching an idea for a new home. He was inspired, he said, by the black cuboid monolith in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” as well as the work of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
“I just drew a rectangle on paper and said, ‘OK, we’ll build this,’” recalled Mr. Hanley, 69. “I thought it could just be a monolithic, reflective, ultra-minimal thing.” Little did he suspect what his little project would turn into.
The resulting house, completed in 2019 and now coming on the market for $18 million, has an entirely reflective glass exterior that mirrors the rocky landscape, making the property blend in with its surroundings. Designed with the help of architect Tomas Osinski, the so-called Invisible House is well known in the area and has been featured on Netflix’s “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals.” It has also drawn renters including musicians Diplo and Demi Lovato, the Hanleys said.
The house, Mr. Hanley said, looks completely different depending on the weather and the time of day. In creating the home’s mirror-like exterior, Mr. Hanley said he was inspired by the late artist Andy Warhol, a friend of the couple’s, who famously said, “land really is the best art.”
Sitting on nearly 70 acres abutting Joshua Tree National Park, the rectangular house is about 225 feet long and spans roughly 5,500 square feet. One end is cantilevered off the ground on caissons, so it appears to hover above Joshua Tree’s famed rock formations.
The house is intended to feel like one large, floating space, with as few partition walls as possible, Ms. Hanley said. On three sides of the home, the glass slides open to the outdoors.
Between the primary bedroom and the two other bedrooms sits a large, open-plan living area containing a 100-foot-long indoor pool. Ms. Hanley said they put the pool inside the house as a way to create their “own ecosystem” in the desert, and bring moisture into the house.
The cantilevered portion of the house contains the primary bedroom, where a bed sits on a 2,500-pound glass base that took five workers two full days to assemble and install, the Hanleys said. All the furniture is included in the $18 M sale price along with the prefab home, which is still on the property.
In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, Ms. Hanley said they avoided filling Invisible House with family photographs and personal knickknacks. It would detract from the simplicity of the setting.
“I like that it just sort of exists on its own, so I don’t like to throw my clothes all around,” she said. “I wanted it to be a place where your mind [could] drift and you could be inspired.”