Martin Prekop started installing mirrors on the house 20 years ago as a way to reflect the backyard’s wooded area. When he looked out his windows he would see only more of his house, not nature. “I wanted to see something else, and it just kind of went from there. Now you see woods,” says the former dean of the School of Fine Art at Carnegie Mellon who still teaches classes there.
And now every brick on the outside of the house is fitted with a custom-cut mirror.
The O’Hara Township “Mirrored House” has been featured in a variety of media outlets and most recently it was the only U.S. location to land on Time Magazine’s “15 Truly Bizarre Vacation Rentals” list. Bizarre? Eccentric, maybe. And definitely cool.
For the past year, Prekop has been hosting guests from Airbnb.com for $165 per night with a two-night minimum. The money goes back into the house for new projects and maintenance on existing projects, of which there are plenty.
“We don’t get a lot of people staying,” Prekop says. “Most are here to visit Fallingwater and the Warhol Museum. The 20 or so guests that we’ve had have been a lot of fun.”
The house is well known by those who drive by since the reflective exterior surface is visible from the street–as are the colored bottles and glass panels that hang artfully in the trees.
A governor’s drive leads to the garage, where a workspace is filled with everything from woodworking machines to various art pieces. From here, Prekop has designed or prepared artwork for nearly every inch of the 5,000 square-foot house.
“When we bought it, it was a very ugly house with awful colors,” he says. “It’s been a constant art installation project for 20 years.”
Today each of the 15 rooms inside have a unique personality. Mirror sculptures hang above a custom-made black and white striped table in the dining room; black and white photography covers the walls of one of the house’s many bathrooms; a giant projection screen and acoustic treatment line walls of the film screening room; and a fully functioning dark room is in the basement.
The backyard has a full kitchen with an outdoor patio space and sculptures of eyeballs surround a beautiful pond at the edge of the property, where Prekop entertains large gatherings of friends.
The transformation of the 1960s split-level home began in 1994 when Prekop moved to Pittsburgh with his wife to take a position at CMU. He has since retired from the position but still teaches two classes. And of course he plans to continue to host guests at the Mirrored House and in the process will gain even more national recognition.