Live in a cave or a tower: 6 cool homes

There are lots of ways for homes to be "cool." These six are all unusual in some respect -- and great places to live.

1 of 6
Cave house
Dallas, TX
1 2  
Price: $1.5 million

Beds: 3
Baths: 3.5
Square feet: 2,980

Description: You thought caves were dank? This Bisbee, Ariz., house might change your mind.

Interior walls are formed by natural rock that is augmented by stone and mortar constructions. Ceilings and walls are rough hewn and robust. Natural nooks were adapted to accept furniture and appliances. And there are lots of nice touches, like the checkerboard tile floors and the big walk-in shower of clear glass.

The dwelling is cool -- in the most literal sense of the word. Interior temperatures don't move very far above or below 68 degrees despite a sun room that commands views of the surrounding mountains and desert. The key is cross ventilation; a rear door pulls air in through the cave.

The property's 37 acres lie at an elevation of 5,300 feet in the extreme southeast corner of the state, which is hard on the Mexican border and far from the crowded urban centers of Phoenix and Tucson. The land is blessed with a natural creek that forms gorgeous stoned-walled swimming pools.

Arizona's Commerce department claims that Bisbee's 20,000 population in the early 1900s made it the largest and most culturally important city between St Louis and San Francisco. But after most of the 3 million ounces of gold were mined from the hills, the town shrunk to a shadow of its former self.

Bisbee's revival came as artists and retirees rediscovered the close-to-ideal light and climate of the one-time mining town. It's now a lively and attractive place filled with boutiques, restaurants and galleries.

For further information: The Cave House

NEXT: Boulder house
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Last updated May 28 2010: 4:12 PM ET
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