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Bethesda mushroom house hits the market | News

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Bethesda mushroom house hits the market

One of the most unique houses in the D.C. area, a landmark of sorts, hit the market Saturday and is going for $1.2 million.

It's a home the owner says strangers try to get into all of the time.

If you haven't seen it, maybe you've heard of it? It's called the Bethesda mushroom house. The large, 3,700 sq. ft. structure sits on the 4900 block of Allan Rd.

The owner, Eddie Garfinkle, gave WUSA9 a tour that he said he wouldn't even give HGTV.

"A lot of people have wanted to see the interior. You know we've had, sometimes some would knock on the door and they'd say, 'Can I come in?' and we'd say, 'No' and they'd say, 'Why?' and we'd say, 'It's our home, we live here and you know, that type of thing but you know it's been fun," said Garfinkle.

Now, some 40 years later, Garfinkle said it is time to sell. The entire home is the family's work of art.


The funky designs came from an architect back in the early 1970s and includes Eddie Garfinkle's and his wife's touches as well. They built around a home that already existed on the property. Garfinkle showed WUSA9 the 30-foot tall ceilings, the indoor fish pond, exposed wood beams, cave-like nooks, recycled barn-wood floors and skylights galore.

"Kids love it. It's like fantasy land," said Garfinkle.

Drivers rarely go by without a double-take once they spot the property.

"It should be called the 'Hobbit House', said one of those drivers going by on Monday.

With his children now grown and out of the home, Garfinkle told WUSA9 that it's too much space for him and his wife, which is why they decided to sell.

"At the time we were looking for something different. We did not want to be in a box," said Garfinkle.

He said they worked with an architect that was into futuristic design at the time and used a spray-on material, polyurethane, that is also eco-friendly.

"This house is like a giant thermos bottle!"

But the price was not as friendly, costing them $100,000 to $150,000 back then. Garfinkle said they almost lost all of their money creating the mushroom house. Still they pushed on.

They were able to do so partly due to the success of their businesses. Garfinkle is an artist and said he and his wife once owned different stores like The Tiffany Tree located in Georgetown and the Montgomery Mall.

Like a white canvas to a painter, the home is what the Garfinkles wanted and liked.

"I think of it more as a playground."

Garfinkle laughed when we asked him how the house got the name the mushroom house. He said they always thought of it as a giant circus tent if anything.

Well the name sort of stuck and they're hoping it will also help the house sell. They decided not to do an open house to prevent crowds of people coming just to get a peek inside.

Garfinkle said he hopes someone will get to make it into their own inside the home. Outside, he has one request...

"Basically it would be nice if the design was retained and just went on being Bethesda's mushroom house," he said.