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This is truly amazing! No designer involved but it’s all about design, nevertheless!

Eliphante was created near Sedona, inover 28 years by Michael Kahn and his wife, Leda Livant. The Residence that drew my attention through its originality was built until a progressive brain disease killed Mr. Kahn this December (71years old).


Eliphante, The Handmade Home has a 25-foot ceilings and incorporates rocks and scraps from construction sites, stained glass, pottery and wood and it was turned into a nonprofit arts organization in the late 1980s.

Eliphante Exterior

And it’s not only the Eliphante with the fascinating history. The couple who built it also has one. Ms. Livant was 45years old, married with two children and living in Westport when she met Mr. Kahn.

Eliphante Interior

My husband and I went for a vacation on Cape Cod, and I met Michael, who was an artist there. He showed me one of his large canvases, a dark blue abstract painting with a small rectangle of light. What I saw in that particular painting was an image that invoked fear in me. I thought, there’s another world I have to explore. I knew I had to open my eyes to the rest of my life.

Eliphante Interior Ms Livant

Three months later, Ms. Livant left her family and went to live with Mr. Kahn.

Eliphante Ms Livant

People said, ‘Leda must have gone crazy,’. It wasn’t craziness, it was like a rebirth. Within three weeks of my moving to Cape Cod, I got pneumonia and almost died, I was in such mourning for my family and so vulnerable, and the sadness of having left my kids has never left me.

Ms Livant Exterior

Nine years later, the couple moved to Sedona, where two business people offered them three acres rent-free. The lack of money never disarmed the two artists who added Hippodome to Eliphante, as the residence of Ms. Livant.

Eliphante Fire Place

The main concern is the endangered Eliphante that’s being planed to deed by her landlords. Even if the original couple had a Smithsonian evaluation for conservation purposes, they never received the $28,000 calculation.

Eliphante Kitchen

I guess that makes Eliphante a uniquely styled mansion handmade by two lovers connected beyond ordinary understanding endangered by very ordinary reasons – money.

Eliphante Piano

Why does art in its pure form must disappear like that? Can’t we do something? At least have an opinion?

Piano Eliphante

If you want to read more about this story, you can try the nytimes.com and eliphante.org.

Eliphante Window


#1 Adriana Josina on 02.06.08 at 1:50 pm

Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. The beauty of this all the love, the art, the hard work, the passion, the beauty of it all it brings tears to my eyes. It is -at least to me- something that brings up real emotions.

#2 The Amazing Nautilus Shell House — StyleFrizz on 02.15.08 at 8:52 am

[…] who aren’t afraid to make every dream come true. And it’s the second example of what a great house love can build that I give […]

#3 jeremy kulmer on 02.19.08 at 7:35 am

i love your style. I am a starving artist for my ideas are much like your own. I can build anything out of concrete! holler at me if you know anyone that needs a builder.

#4 Arligoth on 02.28.08 at 9:51 pm

Very personal visions either work or don’t work when relating to the public at large. This one doesn’t work. And there is nothing romantic about abandoning your children. that is not love.

#5 kpriss on 03.02.08 at 1:19 am

@Adriana Indeed it’s beautiful and emotional. Unusual things always catch my attention so you can be sure I’ll share with all of you!
@jeremy kulmer marked down! ;)
@Arligoth Who are we to judge people’s passions or choices? When over half of the general population is living a dull, passion-less life either because they are frighten or they just don’t live up to that level of emotion, or just too conventional, these too have chose to embrace a controversial destiny implying sacrifices and solitude. Imho, this woman didn’t abandoned her children (or not only) but a way of life. Something that wasn’t her anymore (like choosing between life and death – how could she ever preferred death?).

#6 Eric Svenningson on 03.05.08 at 8:48 pm

that’s a pretty chill place ya got there

#7 Retail shop fitting on 03.19.09 at 3:26 am

This house is fitted brilliantly, hand made as well, this is very amazing i am shocked at how awesome it is

#8 wayne on 03.19.09 at 5:28 pm

So we have a woman who abandoned her family on a whim to commit adultery as she followed her muse, is that about right? And the two of them built a house by scrounging whatever they could find. It is obviously built with a lot of love and care, but it hardly ranks among the greats of design–this is a hodgepodge at best, a theme-less busy, ugly (with a a few random exceptions) mess. save words like awesome for something that actually inspires awe. You people are children.

#9 bernadette on 05.16.09 at 5:47 am

looks like a lot of garbage built at the expense of a family – i hope her children were able to build their lives with out her

#10 Anthony Thompson on 01.13.10 at 4:11 am

Michael and Leda transformed a dusty, desolate piece of land into one of the “magic places” on this Earth. It is it’s own universe, filled with color and sensual forms.

The moralists above who deride the place as garbage probably live in boxy suburban McMansions with vinyl siding and 3-car garages. Not to mention the deck with a grill. : D

#11 Adriana on 01.13.10 at 8:55 am

Aww, such a pleasure a reader bring this back to our attention. . I’ve still not a moral judgement. I don’t know about her family. I see her and the love of her life and their creation……

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