real estate

6 homes for sale that will astonish you

Beach observatory
Beach observatory © Photo courtesy of

Beach observatory

  • Location: Laguna Niguel, California
  • Price: $3.188 million

For sale: A mansion with a view -- of the universe.

Built in 2000, this home in Laguna Niguel has a built-in observatory. The original owner, who loved astronomy, incorporated the feature into the plans for the house, says Dana Wall, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

"It's like a mini Griffith Observatory," she says.

Located in an adjacent tower and accessed via a spiral staircase, the observatory has a retractable roof, a powerful stationary telescope and a motorized rotunda that rotates on its axis to focus the programmable telescope on features in the night sky, Wall says. It can accommodate up to six people and also has great views of the ocean, she says.

Nice by daylight, too

But this house is also designed to enjoy the California sunshine. The large backyard features a free-form, salt-water pool with waterfalls, surrounded by palm trees, says Wall. "It's very tropical, very lush."

Want a cool drink? There's a pass-through from the patio to the game room, which sports a full wet bar and a pool table. There's also a subterranean wine-tasting room with its own cooling system, Wall says. "It's a fun home for entertaining."


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