Leon Weisener—former art professor and set painter—isn’t sure why he decided to make a bottle house.
After retiring to a small Florida town, Weisener did construction projects as a way to relax. He began by restoring and adding onto his historic house. When that was finished, construction of the bottle house came next. Designed in a pentagon shape, it was built with over 6,000 glass bottles.
The house is small, but full-sized. Its walls are 12 feet long and 8 feet high, with a roof that peaks at 14 feet tall. Antique bottles found on the property are displayed along the tops of the walls. Wide mouth jars spaced out horizontally along the walls can be used for storing or holding items. Inserts of German handmade stained glass and colorful round lenses from school buses and fire trucks are used for added light and color. Mannequin hands, ostrich eggs, antique hay rake tines, copper pipes and wooden balls can be found decorating the outside of the house.
Weisener continues to build, so a visit to his yard involves much more than just the bottle house. There’s a 15-foot-tall lighthouse, with a working revolving light at the top. A giant static geodesic sphere, made of layers of spheres tethered together, is described by its designer as an abstract self-portrait of his life. A smaller, 8-foot-wide kinetic geodesic sphere has colored glass panels and mirrors that reflect light as it rotates on its stand. Inside the house are several pieces of wine cork-covered furniture.
Some projects haven’t gone according to plan: a large twisting bottle tower with a domed top of glass shards has begun to crumble from the bottom and a 16-foot-tall bottle arch fell over shortly after it was completed. Even so, Weisener continues to create and add to the displays, and to share his art with visitors.
Know Before You Go
Visitors are always welcome. If the gate is unlocked, feel free to explore the yard and take a look inside the bottle house. Just be sure to keep the gate closed so that the dogs don't get out.
If you're lucky, Leon will be home. He enjoys meeting visitors, talking about his background and projects, and answering questions. Also, don't discount a visit at night. That's when lights inside the house and on the other art pieces are turned on, and the myriad of colors are illuminated.