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This house laughs at wildfires thanks to a clever coating called Sarnafil

“As you drive up to it, you can’t quite tell what’s going on,” Toni Hubenette tells Zillow of her unusual home. It’s partly the three cantilevered protrusions extending out from one end of the house, but it’s also the terra-cotta-colored outside that makes the residence unusual.

Designed by architect Sarah Graham, the two-bedroom house is located on 10 acres in Topanga, (Come on, Topanga!) California. An area prone to fires, Graham wanted to find a way to make the building waterproof and fire-resistant. She chose to paste on a Sarnafil membrane. “It’s used a lot in Europe as roofing material, and we thought it would be fun to experiment with,” says Hubenette.

Sika, which makes thermoplastic PVC Sarnafil membranes for roofs, says its material was put to a real-world test when a medical helicopter crashed into the University of New Mexico Hospital’s roof and fuel ignited, starting a fire. The membrane suppressed the fire, and only about 2 percent of its surface area needed to be replaced. To help clean away the spilled fuel, crews dumped gallons of water on the roof, which also resisted leaking. Sika says its membranes resist dirt and pollutants. They are also weather- and UV-resistant.

The membranes are often used as a waterproof layer on green roofs, like the one atop Nashville’s Music City Center.

The Topanga house was also built with sustainability in mind; it has solar panels and the landscaping features drought-resistant and native plants.  In addition to the views from the master bedroom, the house also comes with stables. There are three stalls, a tack room, and a feed room, plus riding trails nearby.

If you’re in the market for a reddish-orange house in California for yourself and your horses, this 3,600-square-foot one will cost you $2.7 million. Pretty insane in the membrane.

Jenny McGrath
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jenny McGrath is a senior writer at Digital Trends covering the intersection of tech and the arts and the environment. Before…
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