The Eliphante Art House

Artist Michael Kahn and his wife Leda Livant built their home Eliphante from found materials. Twenty eight years later, it's literally a sculpture that they live in:

ANY fool can hire an architect to draw up a plan for a house, but it takes a truly inspired fool — which is to say, an artist — to start building and see where the earth and driftwood and shards of broken pottery take him, and an equally impassioned fool — say, a woman in love — to go along and carry the rocks on her back.

This is how it was with the little-known sculptural home that is Eliphante, three acres of fantastical domes, shacks and follies created over 28 years by Michael Kahn and his wife, Leda Livant. Here there is the residence, which has 25-foot ceilings and incorporates rocks and scraps from construction sites; there, a studio, one wall of which is the Ford pickup that brought the couple west; and a labyrinthine art gallery called Pipedreams, in which every painting has its own environment.

The building that gave the compound its name has a long, trunklike entrance made of rock and an irregularly mounded roof. “Aaah, Ella-fahn-tay,” a friend joked soon after it was built, giving it a playful faux-French pronunciation.

A neat article at the New York Times by Joyce Wadler on this fascinating house: Link (Photo: David Kadlubowski) - Thanks Preston Pittman!


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