The Invisible House, an iconic mirror-walled mansion in the California desert that has hosted celebrities like Lizzo, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd, has gone on the market for $18 million, or about €16.75 million.
The house, which was built in 2019 by the film producers Chris and Roberta Hanley, is in Joshua Tree, a tiny town set next to a stunning national park. A surreal, box-like structure, it has glinting glass walls that reflect the desert landscape, and a 30m indoor swimming pool that stretches nearly half the length of the house.
Its owners have touted the meditative aspects of the property, which has been featured in the Netflix series The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals. “I think Demi Lovato saw aliens there,” Roberta Hanley told the Wall Street Journal.
The house has previously been available to rent for $150,000, $6,000 per day or $1,000 per hour, Mansion Global reported last summer. A rental website touts the house’s “dramatic desert contrasts” and the “oversized” pool that “flaunts its abundance in a seemingly barren land”.
The residence, which offers a modest three bedrooms and four bathrooms, has a “fully mirrored exterior which ‘disappears’ into the surrounding desert”, as well as high-end kitchen appliances and charging stations for three Teslas.
Even if the Invisible House ends up selling for $9 million, half the current asking price, “it will be the most expensive home ever sold in Joshua Tree”, the local San Bernardino Sun reported.
Just a few years ago, Joshua Tree was a refuge for artists and oddballs, a place where locals said it was possible to rent an apartment for $500 a month. But during the pandemic, the town’s two-hour proximity to Los Angeles, and the social media-fuelled popularity of Joshua Tree National Park, led to one of the largest increases in housing prices in California. The result has been a worsening local housing crisis, with many longtime residents and local service industry employees saying that skyrocketing rental costs have forced them out of their homes.
In recent months, the booming desert housing market has started to slow. Average Joshua Tree housing sale prices were down 25 per cent in December 2022, compared with the year before, and the number of houses sold was down by more than 50 per cent, according to Redfin, a real estate company that publishes housing data.
The Invisible House, of course, is not even close to an average Joshua Tree home, the median price of which was $343,000 last month, according to Redfin.
AKG Christie’s International Real Estate has been “bombarded with calls” from journalists and others since the house was put on the market, according to Matt Adamo, one of its listing agents. Much of the interest so far has come from potential buyers interested in the house as an investment property, he says, adding that the house has previously brought in as much as $1.4 million in income in a single year in rental and production fees.
So far, there has been more interest from potential American buyers than from international customers, Adamo says, as Americans have a better understanding of the cultural appeal of Joshua Tree’s remote desert landscape, while international buyers are more interested in properties closer to the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Chris Hanley, known for producing films like The Virgin Suicides, American Psycho and Spring Breakers, has described the “Invisible House” as half art project, half residence inspired in part by a monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey and by his old friend Andy Warhol. Just buying the glass for the house’s construction cost nearly $700,000, he told the Wall Street Journal.
“It’s so close with nature and so integrated with the rock formations and everything in the desert. That’s probably the most exciting and appealing aspect,” Adamo says. One of his favourite aspects of the house is that “the sun literally goes from sunrise to sunset” in the master bedroom. “You could stay there all day and see the house light up in different ways from the angle of the sun and the stars.” – Guardian