Skip to Content
Zillowing Out

A $360,000 House To Zoom Away In

Chris Thompson/Defector

One of my least favorite questions that people love to ask is "Would you rather go to space or deep in the ocean?" I feel like this question has freshly surged in popularity with the crunching of the submersible, and the answer could not be clearer to me. I would rather die than go to either the ocean or space.

Why would I want to go to these places? I get seasick on a bus, so certainly I would vomit. And I do not like to vomit. The answer people usually have is: wouldn't it be cool to see the whole earth? Wouldn't it be cool to see the Titanic? To which I say, no. I have a television. I can watch a YouTube video of what the earth looks like. I do not need to go in some tiny terrible prison tube to see it through a window! My favorite sense is touch and you don't get to touch anything cool if you go to space or the ocean, only the cold metal of the terrible ship in which you are confined. Even if you did get to leave the ship, they make you wear a big, clunky, unflattering suit. No thanks!

Anyway, this week's house has reminded me of all these terrible conversations because it is shaped like a flying saucer. What a choice! The listing has the tone of a middle school teacher announcing a secret long-term project. It reads: "This Property is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Welcome to Light Landings where there is SPACE for all your needs for LIGHT YEARS to come!!" So that's something!

This house was sent in by Andrew. Of all the houses I have ever been sent, this one came in through the most convoluted manner yet. I will let Andrew tell you. Take it away Andrew:

I do not know what is going on with this house. I saw it on the 'Lansing Facts' facebook page because the meme facts page for my hometown is partnering with the local amateur soccer team (Lansing Common FC, they have a cool crest) for a match this Friday and I scrolled down and found this.

So just to reiterate: Andrew grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and bought a shirt from the local soccer team ("The soccer team's crest has the power plant smokestacks on it because it's the only notable thing about the city skyline."). Then he received an email about another t-shirt giveaway, this one based on a joke (?) about "the large giraffe statue that was(is?) on top of the Meijer (midwestern grocery/department store chain.)" This led him to the Lansing Facebook Meme group, where he encountered this house.

That is what we call devotion to the craft! This is art! We love hunting and gathering!

Okay let's begin, shall we? This week's house is listed at $359,900. It is three bedrooms, three baths, and a whopping 3,500 square feet. It is located in Lansing, Mich., was built in 1994, and is being sold AS IS, which is always a yellow flag.

Here is the outside of the house:

Screenshot: Zillow

Already I am feeling stressed. There is a pile of furniture in the driveway, which is concerning. The house also seems to be shaped more like the top of an ice cream cone than an actual flying saucer, which is strange. I assume this glass hallway from the garage to the main saucer is useful in the winter when it snows a bajillion feet, if the warming of the earth allows that to ever happen again. But I also imagine it must be blazing hot in the summer, which does not seem ideal. In my fantasy of Michigan, though, you wouldn't be here in the summer because you would be at some cabin on some lake I've never heard of, so maybe this is fine.

I do like that they've landscaped the area in front of the house with a lot of lush green things. That's very fun. But let's look a little closer:

Screenshot: Zillow

Listen, I'm not a roofing expert. I know nothing about roofs. But doesn't this roof... look like a tarp? Doesn't it look like someone has just stretched a giant cling wrap on top of the house and secured it with a rubber band. That is not instilling the kind of confidence in me that I would like to have during a Michigan winter.

But the terracotta tiles here in the entryway are lovely, and I do really like the round wooden door. That kind of detail work is what makes a house that's funky go from an annoying project to a really beautiful place. Unfortunately, this is the only beautiful thing we will see, so please enjoy it while you can.

This listing has very helpfully included a blueprint of the house. This is all I want from my dear friend and sworn enemy Zillow dot com. It is very hard to visualize a house from 60 photos taken by a realtor with a wide-angle lens from god-knows what position. But here we can absorb the layout a little bit before we venture inside:

Screenshot: Zillow

We've got a long hallway/living room upon entry, an open-plan (boooo) kitchen, three bedrooms, and two baths. The stairs, weirdly, seem to be through the kitchen, or separately accessible from the outside. I guess this could be nice if you wanted to have some kind of tenant situation living in the basement of your spaceship house. Who am I to stop you from setting up your own death?

Let's go in!

Screenshot: Zillow

Oh....... my god.

The first thing we must note is that there are SO MANY recessed lights. Swiss-cheese-ass lighting situation. This is a real shame because the number of sick pendant lights and weird string lights that exist from the atomic era is infinite. You could have some very cool and weird lighting situations in here with a little bit of creativity. Alternatively, you could get one big lava lamp. That would be fun and less ugly than this.

But instead we have this digusting carpet, and these infinite lights, and these windows that look like square airplane windows. They do not, however, have the cool push button technology the new planes have to dim the light, which would be extremely sick here.

Here's the view if we take a few steps inside:

Screenshot: Zillow

I did not realize from the outside that the border of the door was glass, but I still like it.

Here is something that I think is the "dining area."

Screenshot: Zillow

You can see how great these windows are from this angle better. Look at all that lush green! Look how there's a little secret patio out there.

I have reordered the photos so we can look at it!

Screenshot: Zillow

Cute! Lot of opportunity here! We could definitely build a killer garden out here.

Returning inside after the lush green of outside, though, it is astounding how white everything is. The thing about minimalism, is that it requires you to have really, really, really nice things, and also to know that there is more than one shade of white. The people in charge here did neither. We have gross carpet, and cheap appliances, and a white that looks like a hospital it's so yellow-y coupled with truly cream cabinets. Yuck!

Here's the kitchen:

Screenshot: Zillow

Everyone here knows how I feel about open plan kitchens (not good), but in this case, I could be brought around. I actually really like the curved bar height counter in this scenario, and I think in a round house, you don't really have a lot of options for how to make the kitchen (which requires a straight wall) fit.

This is a controversial take, but I do think the mirrors could be fun with a colorful counter. I know everyone is afraid of color because they are obsessed with resale value, but a house like this could triple in value if you really just went hard for the atomic era design, and used a lot of reds and yellows. Put me in charge. I'm available. I have a whole Etsy pin board of lamps that would look great in here!

Let's move on. Here's a bathroom:

Screenshot: Zillow

First off, I did not even know they MADE curved mirrors like the one on that wall. That's exciting! But also weird. I'm sorry, but when I am trying to have my calm time in the tub, I do not wish for this mirror to be there. And this tub is big and good for relaxing!

I also, unfortunately, do not like the round mirror above the sink either. Someone needs to talk to these people about buying normal things, like, I don't know ... a sink that is a normal size?

Here's another angle of the master bathroom:

Screenshot: Zillow

Andrew said this better than I can when he said, "Who the fuck has carpet in their bathroom, and upon deciding to have carpet in the bathroom, uses the same carpet as the rest of the house? So weird. Oh god I just looked through the photos again and there's carpet in both of the bathrooms."

Great point, Andrew. The carpet has to go. The separate bidet can stay.

Here's the other bathroom:

Screenshot: Zillow

Yuck! I hate it. This is not redeemable to me in anyway. It would have to be fully gutted. I do think we could use this mirror somewhere else in the house.

I guess let's look at a bedroom on principle even though, they too, are boring. Here's one:

Screenshot: Zillow

This is such a boring and also semi-useless room. I'm falling asleep just trying to think of something fun to say here. This house could have really thrived with a little staging. For example I think this weird satellite-shaped object is meant to be a headboard. But otherwise, this is just a room.

It does, however, feel noteworthy that there are four holes in the ceiling in this photo, but only two of them seem to be lights. What ... are the other two for?

Here's the little tunnel to the house from the garage:

Screenshot: Zillow

This is nice I guess. I could imagine it being very nice if those string lights were on and it were filled with plants.

After all this time, I guess we should go downstairs. Theoretically there must be a lot of square footage down there. So imagine yourself walking back inside and around the long curved island, through the kitchen, and down the stairs.

Here we are!

Screenshot: Zillow

Yikes! Yikes, yikes, yikes! I do not have a great reason for how visceral my reaction to this room was over the others, but it is here all the same.

The water mark on the ceiling, the very thin support pole, the nature wallpaper with low hung lights that makes it look like this is a hostage scenario, the drop ceiling. All of these things will haunt my dreams, and I do not wish to be here anymore!

Outside we go:

Screenshot: Zillow

Whew. At least there was a door down here to get out. This little area looks like the perfect place for people to pop out to smoke during a house party. Maybe if someone loves this house enough, one day, they will.

This week's house has been listed on Zillow for $360,000 for 23 days. It is currently under contract. If you bought this house, please call me—I have a lot of really terrible ideas for this.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter