News & Politics

The Surprisingly Raunchy History of Bethesda’s Famous Mushroom House

"The top of the mushroom house was a giant penis."

Photo courtesy of HomeVisit and Compass.

The house at 4949 Allan Road in Bethesda has become something of a landmark, known for the curved canopies that earned it the name “the Mushroom House.” The bumpy edges and pointed tip give the house a shape slightly reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss doodle. As it turns out, though, the original design was not particularly child-friendly.

In a new Instagram video from Bethesda-based storytelling project Wickly, Fran and Eddie Garfinkle, the owners of the home when it became the mushroom house, discuss some particularly eye-catching details originally included by the futurist architect they hired to create the polyurethane foam design.

“The top of the Mushroom House was a giant penis,” Eddie explained. “And the powder room was a scrotum and penis.” He and Fran made several adjustments before they moved in. “We did a circumcision on the roof.”

The couple, white-haired and laughing throughout the interview, describe themselves as “soulmates.” Wickly founder and Bethesda resident Brent Hatherill—’who left his longtime job at the Investigation Discovery network to launch the project—said he spoke to the pair for about two hours to create the two-minute video, the sixth in a series to come out on Wickly’s Insta account.

“I want to create content that makes people want to engage with their next door neighbor,” Hatherill said.

Check out the video below.


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Kayla Benjamin
Assistant Editor