Whatever Happened to the Spaceship/Beach Pad House that Went Viral?
Three years after it caused a sensation online, the unusual property in Plum went back on the market.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of quirky moments (remember toilet paper rationing?) that made people laugh instead of cry as they adjusted to lockdown; Netflix’s “Tiger King” ruled the airwaves, goofy dances were just starting to go viral on TikTok — and, for a nanosecond, a little house in Plum was the talk of the country.
Located at 480 Rainer Drive, the brick, ranch-style house’s exterior appeared unassuming when it was listed for sale in May 2020. Inside, it was a different story.
The home, dreamed up by former owner John Cope as he dealt with a difficult divorce, was divided into three not-so-basic themes — spaceship, island paradise and gothic 15th-century castle.
“I was drunk and naked on the patio with a sketch pad,” Cope explained of how the house came to be. “And I vomited out of my alcohol-besodden brain the plans that led to what you see now.”
With details such as a talking alien doll at the entrance, a spaceship-themed great room, a dining area/command center that included working dials and knobs salvaged from an Apache helicopter and — for good measure — a bathroom festooned with plastic jungle leaves and dotted with fake animals, the house quickly amassed more than 2 million views on Zillow.
Cope, a one time electrical engineer, referred to people viewing the home for the first time as “pilgrims,” as if they were exploring a new and fantastical land.
Within two weeks, beleaguered real estate agent Sam Pace (“I’ve never experienced anything like this in 15 years,” he said at the time. “I wasn’t out there pushing it. It just blew up.”) found a buyer for the home.
Three years later, the property, which has changed surprisingly little, is for sale again.
Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent Chads Mullinary says when the current owners, who are moving back to Ohio for work, contacted him about listing the home, they warned him it was a little unusual.
“They said it was ‘unique’ when we spoke on the phone, but I was unaware of what it was,” he says. “When I looked at it … it was something different.”
Although the couple — who Mullinary says are sci-fi fans — jettisoned the sand from the tropical beach pad and removed part of the plastic jungle, they kept the planetary mural, the Hogwarts-esque castle theme and the dining area/space hatch.
“The space mural is pretty cool,” Mullinary says. “It’s a 20-foot mural someone painted on the wall.”
Mullinary also appreciates how astonishingly spacious the dwelling is. By ripping out the ceiling and floors and moving the main entrance to the rear of the building, Cope created a two-story great room that’s connected to the upper floor by a winding spiral staircase.
“The sunken living room is my favorite because you’re in a ranch but in this deep room. The windows on the back are great,” Mullinary says. “The spiral staircase is not great for everybody, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Priced at $186,000, the house, which is close to Boyce Park, also is a bargain for the area, Mullinary adds. He envisions the property as a remarkable AirBnb or as the perfect investment for a homeowner interested in the unusual floor plan.
It appears the right buyer has already come along. Earlier this week, after four months on the market, the house went under contract. Mullinary says he is unsure of the new owner’s plan for the property — but we can only hope the house remains an offbeat delight.