The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this website is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro House and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.


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         Previously located at 3601 5th Ave San Diego, CA 92103, USA - Moved 2003
Idyllwild, CA, USA [Exact Location Withheld For Privacy Reasons] | Panoramic Image Shot During A Visit To Idyllwild 022615 © 2015 TheFuturoHouse.com

Futuro, Idyllwild, CA, USA - Panoramic Shot Taken 022615
Featured Image By Purple Fashion | Image Date Unknown
Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 043017
Futuro, Idyllwild, California, USA   Futuro, Idyllwild, California, USA - Google Maps Screenshot
Additional Images & Videos
Notes, History & Resources
Update 021118

Photographer Tom Blachford's ongoing photographic series "Midnight Modern" is described as being "an ongoing series and exploration into the interplay between Architecture, Moonlight, Mountains and the tension of an unspoken narrative". I do not pretend to "get" art and I have no clue how to interpret the phrase "tension of an unspoken narrative" in the context of the photos but I will say this - the photo of this Futuro shown below, one of those in Series IV of "Midnight Modern" is absolutely one of my favorite all time Futuro photos.

At the time of writing through 030318 "Midnight Modern Series IV" is on display in Sydney, Australia at the Michael Reid gallery. The Futuro photo is available for purchase at $3500 unframed and $4700 framed, a little "rich for my blood" despite the fact that I do love the photo.

Midnight Modern Series IV - Futuro I By Tom Blachford

Update 120416

I recently added this drawing of the Idyllwild Futuro by Danny Heller to the "Drawings" section of the "Bits & Pieces" page after I saw it on Instagram. Then I decided I needed to add it to my collection and so this past week I purchased the drawing. It will look great once it is framed and hung.

Danny Heller Drawing Of Idyllwild Futuro

Update 032016

The video below, Karleen by Mora Mora, includes both exterior and interior footage of this Futuro. The Futuro first appears 2:03 into the video.

Update 031515

On 022615 my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Idyllwild Futuro. My thanks go to owner Wayne & Laurie for kindly inviting us to visit. The photographs below are actually just a sample of the way too many we shot during the visit. Thank goodness for the digital camera!

Most of the time there are protective covers on the inside of the windows. Of course I knew this and the plan was on first arriving to remove them. That said with my both ailing and aging memory I completely forgot and shot a large number of photographs without even noticing the "white" windows. It was my wife who finally reminded me to remove them.

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Having removed the window coverings it was time for another photography session. Of course I had missed one window in the bedroom and again failed to notice.

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As always I felt the irresistible urge for the one "tourist" photo of yours truly and the Futuro. I also captured my lovely wife and the iconic "selfie".

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Finally having removed all of the window coverings I had to go back and reshoot many of the photographs I had already taken. This series shows the exterior from just about every viewpoint.

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These next few shots are not really "Futuro" shots; I just happen to like the focus on the trees in the foreground and the out of focus Futuro behind.

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And up the steps we go!

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This next series of photographs illustrates the interior of the Futuro.

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In keeping with both period and design the Futuro has been decked out with a number of rather appropriate "space themed" collectibles such as this Space Shuttle Salt & Pepper Set.

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Update 121313

The video below, "No Needs" by The Entrance Band features the Idyllwild Futuro as the backdrop staring around 2:38 and also again during the credits around 4:07.

The video is a collaboration between Argentine-American musician Paz Lenchantin and Amanda Charchian. Charchian in an interview on vmagazine.com tells us that they:

"... definitely wanted to get across the feeling that there was a unity, a synchronization coming out of six unique bodies. The film features a Futuro House designed by Matti Suuronen that acts as a spaceship the rainbow bodies descend from."

I am in no way one who could be considered artistic or creative; the esoteric tends to fly well above my head and yep - that goes right over the top of me but the video features a Futuro and so it definitely earns a place on these pages and, to be honest, while the I do not necessarily "get it" as far as the meaning is concerned the music is not too bad at all.

Original Images 101511

Images from BauNetz shot by owner Milford Wayne Donaldson FAIA.

Futuro, Idyllwild, California, USA - Alt 1  Futuro, Idyllwild, California, USA - Alt 2

Additional Images:
Update 031515

A couple of weeks ago I had to attend a conference related to the "day job" in California. Not that it is anything to do with the Futuro for some reason the conference organizer's saw fit to place an IT conference at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim and let me tell you you sure do, a my wife puts it, "pay for the mouse".

Anyway we added a couple of days out in California after the conference and on 022615 we were able to visit the Idyllwild Futuro. My thanks to owners Wayne & Laurie for inviting us to visit their Futuro.

The drive from Anaheim up into the San Jacinto Mountains was in and of itself an experience as we climbed to around 6,500 feet above sea level and came across many stunning views along the way. It was also interesting to think of the journey the Futuro took; having driven the route and experienced some of the steep slopes and tight bends on the two lane highway I had a much better understanding of how challenging that trip must have been for a flatbed carrying a fully assembled Futuro House.

The location of the Futuro itself is on a rocky "summit" in the town of Idyllwild. From the Futuro every direction leads down and, while there are houses and other structures around [some of which are actually quite close], it actually seems quite isolated.

Most of the time the Futuro has protective coverings on the inside of the windows which can be seen in the first photos at left which were shot when we first arrived and prior to entering the Futuro and removing the coverings. It is interesting how different the Futuro actually looks when the windows appear "white". It is a somewhat sad comment on how observant [or I guess unobservant] I am that despite knowing I needed to remove the window coverings I took a large number of photographs without noticing the "white" windows before my wife pointed out to me that the window coverings were still in place.

It is interesting, having been on site, to consider how challenging moving the Futuro from the flatbed to its current location must have been. Wayne tells me that this was accomplished at night, and a foggy night at that. In addition the boom of the crane enlisted for the job of hoisting the Futuro from the flatbed in the street below to the Futuros final location turned out to be five feet too short and Wayne recalls that the unit had to be "swung" into its final position.

Period documents [such as this one courtesy of the Hedberg Public Library] indicate that US Futuros were manufactured in eight sections with four quarters being joined mechanically and sealed to create two hemispheres, an upper and a lower. In addition there are several examples of Futuros being delivered in just this fashion; for such an example see historical information relating to the Frisco Futuro's original delivery from the factory.

Interestingly with this Futuro there are two evident vertically oriented "joins"; it seems to me that if the joins were sealed at the time of manufacture either they would still be evident in which case we would see four vertically oriented joins or they would not be visible in which case we would not see any evident joins and yet here we see two. Perhaps the unit was "sealed" into a right and left hemisphere rather than an upper and a lower?

When Wayne & Laurie restored their Futuro some ten or so years ago the exterior finish used was estimated to have a life of around eight years. Given the location of the Futuro, at 6,500 feet above sea level in an area that receives very strong sunlight, the finish chosen included a high content of UV inhibitors and it has performed very much to expectation.

Over the last year or so as the finish passed its expected life the upper surfaces of the Futuro have started to show some signs of fading and "flaking". It was expected that the exterior would require maintenance from time to time and Wayne & Laurie will be refinishing the Futuro this summer utilizing the same formula and paint manufacturer as was originally used; a testament to the quality of the finish chosen.

The interior of the Futuro is in excellent condition and, while it has not been restored to exact original Futuro specifications, it is absolutely appropriate to the "period" of the Futuro complete with popcorn ceiling and shag carpet. In addition there are a number of collectibles dotted around the interior that are "space themed" which seems highly appropriate to a Futuro.

Despite the extensive work done so far more remains and further work Wayne & Laurie have planned for the interior of the Futuro includes the installation of a "bubble skylight" and a George Nelson lamp at the same time as the exterior is painted. The iconic central fireplace will not be returned to the Futuro due to the fire codes in force in the Idyllwild area.

Once again I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Wayne & Laurie for allowing us to visit their Futuro and share the photographs we shot.

Original Information 101511

Futuro - On The Road
In December 2004 Futuro owner Milford Wayne Donaldson oversaw the move of his "baby" from San Diego to a rocky Idyllwild mountain top in the San Jacinto Mountains of California. Donaldson had purchased the Futuro that had been located in Hillcrest Canyon, San Diego since 1977 in 2002 and after, being at a temporary location for refurbishment, it was making the move to what Donaldson hoped would be its final home.

Considering the Futuro had ease of transportation as one of its primary design considerations the five hour journey was perhaps a little more complex than one might have imagined. Preparing for the trip involved months of extensive planning. A passable route had to be devised; not too difficult on the freeway portion of the journey maybe but once up in the mountains there were sections where clearance dropped to inches and trees had to be trimmed to allow the Futuro through. There was the flatbed to arrange, pilot cars to arrange, highway patrol escorts to arrange and permits to obtain.

Luckily for Donaldson a good friend of his was in the moving business. Larry Wood was the owner of San Diego Boat Movers and it was his company that, ever so carefully, transported the Futuro. Wood was quoted as saying:

"We've moved a lot of strange things, but that's the first flying saucer house we've ever moved."

All in all it was a seriously significant undertaking. A SignOnSanDiego.com article dated January 2nd 2005 perhaps sums up most aptly the kind of challenge the movers faced:

Futuro - Flatbed
"And in downtown Idyllwild, the entire crew held its breath while more measurements were taken before the Futuro, which measures 26 feet wide, headed for its tightest squeeze: Only 4 inches to spare, ideally 2 on each side, between hefty trees that hug the road. Driver Larry Wood cleared it on the first try."

An image of the Futuro on the road is top left [source: JoelInSouthernCA]. You can see clearly the Futuro overhanging both sides of the roadway and the vehicles that had to pull completely off the road to get out of the way. The image above right is from the moving company's website, San Diego Boat Movers, and shows the Futuro on the flatbed before being wrapped in its protective "blanket".

Donaldson is an architect and has restored his Futuro to mint condition following strict Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Restoration in the hope that one day he may be able to get the unit placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This Futuro and in particular it's move attracted a great deal of attention including an article in CA Modern Magazines Winter 2007 edition and you can read more about it in "Falling For A Futuro" on the Eichler Network and "Close Encounter" on SignOnSanDiego.com

Latest Confirmed Date

Idyllwild - Latest Confirmation - 041319 - z4zairaThis Instagram post by z4zaira dated 041319.

The original photo can be seen on Instagram here.

Sources & Reference

In Print - Books & Magazines

Got new, updated or corrected information or an image I could use?

I am always looking for additional information, history, details, images, videos; just about anything Futuro I guess - if you would like to contribute please use the Contact Form or email me directly.

As far as images go I am particularly interested in those that are either significantly better than the ones already on this page or show a different aspect or detail. If you own an image meeting one or both of those criteria I would love to be able to use it on this page but I will simply provide a link if that is your preference. Where permission is granted to use an image on the page appropriate attribution will be provided by means of a link to the original image, a link to a website of your choosing or both.
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