Courtney and Blake Bartosh with Taylor Reid Realty bought the home a few months ago from the builder’s daughter, and quickly put it back on the market for $1.75 million.
“We purchased it with every intention of turning it into an Airbnb or VRBO. We have it listed while we get all of our affairs in order. We’re getting a cash-out refi to finish the house, because the inside of it is not done,” says Courtney Bartosh. “If it sells for what we’re asking, great. If not, as soon as we get our refinancing done, we will take it off the market, and we will finish it.”
Whoever completes the structure, it’s a given that the finished product will be a true work of art.
“Who else can say they live inside a sculpture?” she asks. “We love the house. It’s an incredible home. Nobody else in the world can say they’ve owned something like it.”
Robert Bruno began building the structure just outside of Lubbock in 1974, but he never finished it. He passed away from cancer in 2008, and it has been empty ever since.
“Robert built an incredible house, and nobody has ever really been allowed in it,” Bartosh adds. “He built it for a reason, not to just sit there and have people drive by and look at it. He wanted people to see the inside of it. We don’t want someone to buy it and never open it up. Robert built this incredible thing. People drive by it constantly, and they should be able to go in and see it.”
The structure is a shell within a shell. Bruno built the steel exterior, insulated the inside, and then built another layer of steel. Bartosh says there is a slight echo inside.
Most of the windows are stained glass, and winding stairs connect the floors. Inside, it’s a well-rounded experience with archways and curves—nothing is square.
Bartosh says some of the walls are covered with a plasterlike substance that could allow for a coat of paint, but the steel still sometimes comes through.
“I don’t think that the house is meant to be a warm and cozy house. People are not going to go stay in it because it is warm and cozy,” she says. “They’re going to want to stay in it because it’s iconic. It’s different. There’s nothing like it.”
As currently configured, there are three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms inside the 2,200-square-foot steel structure. It’s also equipped with electricity as well as central heating and air.
That said, it needs work to become a functional house.
“There’s subfloor and tile in some places. Some areas need some flooring. Some of the windows need to be worked on. One of the bathrooms is not finished, and the kitchen needs to be finished out,” Bartosh says of the work ahead.
The house sits on four legs and looks as if it is teetering over the edge of a cliff.
“The house sits on three lots, and it overlooks the Ransom Canyon and the lake. The main window in the living room is incredible to look out of. It’s an incredible view,” Bartosh says.
She adds that during the holiday, you can see all the holiday lights below. Even though the house looks suspended, you enter it from a regular front door.
“Where you park in the street, you just walk straight into the house,” Bartosh explains. “When you walk in, you’re on the main level.”
That level has the living space, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a couple of bathrooms. Upstairs is what Bartosh says will be the master bedroom.
“In the legs of the house, there are rooms like a sitting area and an office,” she says.
The plan is to have the construction done in about six months, but Bartosh says she and her husband are experienced rehabbers and know they may encounter obstacles once work begins.
While the house is for sale, it’s perfectly OK with Bartosh if nobody buys it.
“We have it listed to see if anybody’s interested in it. If not, we are happy to keep it and happy to finish it out. It’s a stepping stone in the bigger process,” she says. “If it doesn’t sell, we’ll finish it.”