The Sculptured House, alternatively known to locals as the Clamshell House, the Star Trek House, the Jetson House, or Flying Saucer House, is most fondly remembered for its prominent “presence” in Woody Allen’s 1973 futuristic sci-fi comedy Sleeper. Located on Genesee Mountain, this curiously shaped house designed by architect Charles Deaton has often been compared to a taco, a mushroom, a clam shell, and of course, a flying saucer. However, in spite of criticism, Deaton does not apologize for the house’s unique design. “People aren’t angular. So why should they live in rectangles?” was his say on this matter.
After having enjoyed considerable popularity thanks to Woody Allen’s smash hit movie, it’s time for the Structured House to step into the spotlight of controversy yet again. This year when owner Michael Dunahay defaulted on his loan payments, the home went into foreclosure. It was bought by Colorado real estate investor, John Dilday, for about $1.5 million in November. He, in turn, has already lined up three potential buyers and hopes to re-sell the famous house for $2.5 million by sometime early next year.
However, weeks after the sale, Mr. Dunahay has shown absolutely no indication of vacating the house on time and was served an eviction notice by Dilday. “He indicated he was going to move, but he never did,” Mr. Dilday said. On the other hand, Mr. Dunahay has brushed aside the rumors of the dispute by saying that since both of them could not agree on the price of the custom furnishings in the mansion, it was causing a slight delay in his moving out. At any cost Dilday has issued an ultimatum to Dunahay to leave the premises as soon as possible.
While the house was rented by Woody Allen for exterior shots, the scenes were filmed elsewhere since the house was yet to be finished on the inside. Deaton did not have sufficient budget to finish the construction and the Structured House remained uninhabited for decades. John Higgins, a software magnate, bought it in 1999 and spent three years and several million dollars renovating it. “There was nobody living in it except for a fox,” Mr. Huggins reminisces. “The windows were all broken out.” It was sold for Dunahay for $3.45 million in 2006.
As Dunahays looks back at the time spent in the Sleeper House, he says “It was the five best years of my life.” At the same time, he’s taken the foreclosure and the following dispute in his stride. “As much as I’d like to spend the rest of my life here, I’m looking forward to the future.”