I’ll say it: Vacationing is rad, but exhausting. I’d rather hole up at a one-of-a-kind house with my favorite (vaccinated) friends, whose faces I haven’t squished in far too long, than schlep around hotels. Don’t get me wrong—definitely excited to traipse the best kitschy roadside motels—but given the touch-and-go nature of COVID-19 travel guidelines, it also feels a little safer to lay low and live high in a house with more personality than I could ever hope to have.
That’s where the home rental genies at Airbnb, Plum Guide (aka Airbnb’s highly aesthetic new competitor), and Vrbo come in with some heavy-hitter houses. We’re talking mid-century California estates worthy of Slim Aaron’s camera, and Brutalist masterpieces by Ricardo Bofill; upstate New York retreats that deserve their own Bond movie, and houses that could sub for Dakota Johnson’s legendary Architectural Digest home video tour.
From Texas to California, the East Coast, and Europe, we’ve whittled down our list of rentals that are a vacation in and of themselves—and you can bet your Breuer there’s more than one Frank Lloyd Wright…
A Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie School-style house
Wright designed this house in Halesburg, Michigan for Samuel and Dorothy Eppstein in the 1950s, and it’s one of the best preserved examples of the architect’s Prairie School-style houses. It’s part of the Wright home charm bracelet of the Midwest, which is home to a number of the Wisconsin boy’s designs. The house was fully restored in 2016, and is also outfitted with Wright-centric decor, Wright documentaries, and all new appliances.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Eppstein House; sleeps up to 5, $466/night at Airbnb
This Spanish postmodern icon
You know Brutalist architect Ricardo Bofill, even if you don’t think you do. His (inadvertently) dystopian architecture has been featured in countless editorial spreads and movies like The Hunger Games, and La Muralla Roja is one of his most iconic designs. Constructed as a series of postmodern apartments, the complex looks like something out of a sexy version of Minecraft, and is located in Spain’s Calpe. Easy to see why it has over 16,000 tags on Instagram—this baby has no bad angles.
Apartment in Muralla Roja; sleeps up to 4, $276/night at Airbnb
A classic Los Angeles hideaway
Development in the Hollywood Hills is so crazy competitive these days, and one of the biggest flexes you can pull is finding a historic Los Angeles home. “Named after its architect John Woolf, this home [dates] back to 1933,” explains Plum Guide, and “the setting [is] more akin to a museum than a rental home.”. The appliances are all period-appropriate, the pool has its own pergola, and there’s even a record player for nights by the fire. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, man.
The John Woolf; sleeps up to 2, $1,019/night at Plum Guide
Your own Neo-Brutalist treehouse
Tucked away in Warren, Vermont, is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to a Neo-Brutalist treehouse retreat. Known as the Tack House, this home was designed in the 1960s by architects Dave Sellers and William Reineke and is filled with all kinds of strange murals (peep the Atlantis wall), has access to a private community swimming pond and tennis court, and looks like it’s composed of stylish shards from outer space.
The Tack House; sleeps up to 8, $278/night at Airbnb
He was California’s own Gaudi
The Whale House blends in so well to the coastal oak forests of Santa Barbara, California, that it almost looks like its dark, shingled walls sprouted from earth. Designed in 1971 by architect Michael Carmichael, the home was heavily inspired by the arabesque forms and fantasy of Antonio Gaudi. There’s a lap pool that takes you straight inside the house, a balcony that’s just a giant clam, and one of the grooviest living rooms I’ve ever seen. Bring the commune here with a bunch of shrooms.
The Whale House in Mission Canyon; sleeps up to 6, $1,749/night at Airbnb
You can solve a Rubik’s Cube in a minute
Known as “The Cube,” this Netherlands apartment is in Rotterdam, just a few steps from the Old Harbour. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom in the 1970s, the interiors feel like something out of a Pixar movie with their jutting, oversized angels and pops of color, and it was one of the wildest innovations in high-density home design back in the day. Definitely gonna have some weird lucid dreams here.
Iconic Cube House Museum Stay; sleeps up to 6, $201/night at Airbnb
Nestled amongst prehistoric boulders
A 1981 case study home by architect Tom Pritchard, the Rubber House was initially designed for the famed choreographer Eugene Loring. It’s spread across seven acres of land in Accord, New York, and its design is a unique example of environmental innovation, with natural ventilation systems and paint-free neoprene. “A story unfolds told in dappled light and tactile surfaces as you immerse yourself in the space,” writes the host, “[you] feel the passage of time and season in an elemental cocoon.”
The Rubber House Co (Artist colony & retreat); sleeps up to 4, $571/night at Airbnb
James Bond in Joshua Tree
This is the sexiest house on our list, by far—just look at that shimmer. No wonder the “invisible” house has attracted celebs like Kim Kardashian; where else are you going to find a reclining 22-story skyscraper (that’s the idea) with a 100-foot indoor swimming pool? There are so many incredible properties in Joshua Tree, but there’s nothing like architect Tomas Osinski’s 2020 wunderkind.
The Mirrored House; sleeps up to 6, $5,221/night at Plum Guide
This is what we mean, when we say the coolest parts of Austin, Texas, remind us of some of our favorite California hippie canyons. Built in 1955 by local architect A.D. Stenger, the Zilker Retreat is a mid-century oasis situated close to Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake, and all the goods Austin has to offer.
The Zilker Retreat; sleeps up to 6, $674/night at Airbnb
Go poolside with Frank Lloyd Wright
Meanwhile, up in Sonoma, California, our boy Frank was busy designing a house that looks like it could host Diddy’s White Party. Dubbed “Iconia,” this 1960s house by the famous architect can welcome up to 16 guests to frolic amongst its 100 palm trees, putting green, and dive into that gorgeous (heated) saltwater pool. Definitely booking this for a blow-out birthday.
Luxury Historic Mansion; sleeps up to 16, $2,953/night at Airbnb
The one that deserves it own A24 movie
One of the wildest rental houses in upstate New York, this minimalist home was designed by architect Philip Johnson in the late 20th century and has some of the most beautiful, panoramic views of the Hudson. “You’ll enjoy mornings as the light streams into the house,” write Plum Guide about the sparkling, spartan interiors, “just as much as you’ll enjoy the golden evenings sipping drinks.” Leave the city for a brain break weekend with the crew—it can easily house eight people.
A New Perspective; sleeps up to 8, $1,245/night at Plum Guide
Under the Hollywood sign
First undertaken by architect Kazumi Adach in 1958, this is one of those Beachwood Canyon homes that culminated into a total 1970s fantasy. The layout is open and spacious, with views of the Hollywood sign from the pool, and a freestanding bathtub for you (or the seven other people this home can fit) to bathe like the star you were born to be.
A Sign in Born; sleeps up to 8, $2,022 at Plum Guide
This home by Frank Lloyd Wright’s protege
Architect Jim de Long was a student of Wright, and clearly took notes on achieving peak California vibes with this 1947 house. Classified as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the home is a toasty color palette of wood-paneled walls and exposed brick, and it’s encased by plenty of oak trees. It can welcome up to five people, so come with your buds for a staycation.
The Wolford House by Jim de Long; sleeps up to 5, $305/night at Airbnb
A cartoon cottage
They call this Austin, Texas hideway “The Hive,” because it looks like the kind of hidden place a kindly storybook character (and her 10,000 bees?) would call home. The contemporary building was designed by architect Nicole Blair of Studio 512, and is described by the host as a “gorgeous, peaceful space, [that is] close to the action but perfect for rest and recharging.”
East Side Beehive; sleeps up to 2, $226/night at Airbnb
This looks like Frank Lloyd Wright’s villain pad
..,Not a bad thing. The bad guy always has the sexiest house, and the angular windows and leather couches of this Frank Lloyd Wright home in Marion, Indiana, fit the bit perfectly. “I have lived in this house now for 20 years,” writes the host, who has completely renovated the home in a way they “believe Mr. Wright would have found in line with his way of design.” Please film a dramatic music video in the hallway. (The red color palette is just asking for it.)
Frank Lloyd Wright “Woodhouse” Residence; sleeps up to 6, $500/night at Vrbo
A manor in the Catskills
Designed by world renowned architect Peter Pennoyer, this Claryville, New York estate is spread over 131 private acres and boasts amazing mountain views, a fireplace, a bitchin’ sound system, and all the trappings of a home that would make Nancy Meyers go weak in the knees. “Bring your mountain bikes, helmets, sleds, cross country skis, fishing gear, and snow shoes,” writes the host.
Catskills Villa by Peter Pennoyer; sleeps up to 7, $1,396/night at Vrbo
Frank Lloyd Wright’s dream house
We’re rounding out our FLW picks with the architect’s “Dream House” design for LIFE magazine in 1938. The Schwartz House is located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and has some of the most sock-slide-worthy floors you could ever hope to lick; As the host explains, “Frank Lloyd Wright wrote about the plan, ‘American family life is unlike any other in the world and I think this plan recognizes it for pretty much what it is—a little private club—with special privacies, ultra conveniences, and style all the while.’”
Still Bend/Frank Lloyd Wright’s Schwartz House; sleeps up to 6, $568/night at Airbnb
For a West Coast Gatsby moment
Here’s the plan: You and a heaping dozen of your friends rent this sprawling, 1920s Southern California estate for a weekend of swimming under the stars, enjoying your own private movie theater, tennis courts, and a quick three-mile walk to the beach. Designed by the renowned architect George Washington Smith, the hosts say this home “has seduced moguls, magnates, and movie stars for over a hundred years.” You’re next, baby.
Ravenscroft Historic Gated Montecito Estate; sleeps up to 18, $10,000/night at Vrbo
HAGS, baby. Save a seat for us on the private plane.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.