Listing of the Week: Artful pods among the cacti

Unique Arizona house in 3 sections provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and desert. Says the architect, 'It's really an art piece.'

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Dec 6, 2012 1:53PM

Courtesy of Realtor.comIf you’re looking for quiet neighbors, you can’t do much better than cacti. The ones I have lived among have never made a sound.


The cacti are the only neighbors of the Desert Nomad House outside Tucson, Ariz., a modern dwelling constructed of three boxes connected by gravel paths. The home, finished in 2005, is a work of art, its interiors enhanced by the eye of its owner, an art dealer.


The unusual home is not for everyone. It has been on and off the market since February 2011 and is currently priced at $895,000, down from the original listing price of $975,000. The pictures are stunning.


Post continues below


"It’s my most conceptual project," architect Rick Joy told The Architectural Record. "It’s really an art piece."


The home is about 1,500 square feet, with a 780-square-foot pod containing the living room, dining area and kitchen, an additional 440-square-foot box for the bedroom and a third box, of 200 square feet, as a guest room/den. You don’t have to worry about running into a cactus while going to the bathroom in the middle of the night – each pod has either a full or half bath. There is also a separate carport.

The boxes are made of rusted steel with walls of windows, which bring the desert landscape inside. Each room is oriented toward a different view, including the surrounding Tucson Mountains, the Saguaro National Monument and the city lights of Tucson. Maple floors and paneling warm up the interiors.

The home was conceived for an owner who spent about $650,000 and then had to abandon the project. Current owner Walter Cecil bought it for $279,000, with eight acres of land, and spent an additional $370,000 to finish it. He is selling because he spends most of his time in San Francisco, where his business is.

"I've been an art dealer, but living in a piece of art is different," Cecil told The Wall Street Journal. "When you realize the intelligence in the design ... I would not change anything — not a single thing. It is absolutely perfect." 


The house is on 4.64 acres, with an adjoining three-plus acres that were offered for $250,000 last year. It’s about 15 minutes from the outskirts of Tucson and an additional 10 minutes into town.


If you want to try out the house before you buy, it’s occasionally available for rent.


Jan 5, 2013 7:41PM
I've got this shipping pallet I will sell them for $75,000.00 . It would be a great deck.
Jan 5, 2013 5:31PM
site won't open...and that much for a house in the cactus??!!!!  I don't think so.
Jan 5, 2013 3:11PM
There are plenty of houses for sale in this area and in this price range.  I checked out several of them at and this house wouldn't be my first choice for this price.
Jan 5, 2013 12:44PM

Ripe for Spiders, scorpions, and snakes.  And lots of them in the open desert like this place.  This isn't a developed land like the city of Tuscon or Phoenix.Thats why this place isn't selling or some artsy fartsy schmuck would have already bought it.


Jan 5, 2013 10:36AM
PT Barnum was right and nothing proves it better!
Jan 5, 2013 7:44AM
From the looks of things I'd say $10K would be overpriced.
Jan 5, 2013 7:41AM
Where the hell would anguana get thet kind of money.
Jan 5, 2013 6:25AM
Sorry, but that's HARDLY 'living art'. It's nothing but inconvenient, overpriced  pretentiousness.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?





Find local plumbers, electricians, contractors and more.

from our partners