Buying a concrete home doesn't have to feel like a prison sentence.
Concrete properties are actually coming into vogue, making frequent use of natural light, geometric shapes and a contemporary design aesthetic. Concrete building has been on the rise in recent years, according to a report from the National Association of Homebuilders, in part because it's durable, faster to construct and has a more stable price.
Buildings made of concrete, which is a more readily renewable resource than materials like lumber, also require less energy for temperature control because it's harder for air to get in and out. Combine concrete with the large, low-UV-impact glass that many of these homes feature, and a concrete home could save buyers up to 30 percent on heating and cooling bills, according to the NAHB.
However, it's not all eco-friendly: The process of making concrete from cement is fossil-fuel-intensive.
Here are 10 concrete homes that don't resemble concrete boxes.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
This four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom contemporary property in the Las Olas Isles subdivision of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is currently on the market for about $3.5 million. The automated smart-home, which features a concrete and stucco exterior as well as eco-friendly features like low-impact e-glass, was built this year by local company Zahn Development.
The two-story waterfront house has 8,125 square feet of space, an elevator, fireplace, an all-glass great room, a dock and patio, floating staircase, two-car garage, balcony and porcelain and hardwood flooring.
This four-bedroom, four-bathroom home -- known as the "Rogue House," according to the listing -- is located in the Issaquah Highlands neighborhood of Issaquah, Washington, about 20 miles from Seattle. It was built in 2013 with a cement concrete, stucco and wooden exterior. The property was last listed for about $1.7 million in August 2013. After several price reductions, there was a pending sale at about $1.5 million in April 2014 that apparently never went through.
It has 4,259 square feet of space, a three-car garage, deck, outdoor waterfall and pond, patio, fireplace, spa-like master bath with dual vanities, walk-in closet and four-star Built Green certification for eco-friendliness.
This three-bedroom, three-bathroom contemporary home in the Saddle Rock Hills community of Phoenix is listed for $775,000. It was built in 2009 and is made of concrete, glass and steel with concrete flooring and wrought-iron fencing.
The property features energy-saving LED lighting, granite and quartz countertops, pivoting glass doors, a pool, two-car garage, walk-in closet, synthetic grass landscaping in the backyard and views of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
In Cullman, Alabama, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom contemporary, Mediterranean-style property is on the market for $980,000. It was built in 2012 on a one-acre lot at the Simpson Creek waterfront with a cement concrete exterior, metal roof and hardwood flooring.
The two-story house has an open sun deck, a three-car garage, access to a boat slip and boathouse, a fireplace, breakfast bar, granite countertops, a spa-like master bath with double vanities and a finished basement.
This four-bedroom, four-bathroom contemporary property in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle has a $3.25 million sale pending. The two-story smart-home was built in 2007 and is made of concrete, stucco, steel, wood and glass.
It features a wine cellar, pantry, underground two-car garage, fireplace, skylight, automated sprinkler system, wet bar, pond, double-pane storm windows, 20-foot vaulted ceilings and a security system.
Sherman Oaks, California
In August 2014, this five-bedroom, eight-bathroom, modern home about 17 miles from Los Angeles went on the market for about $2.2 million. It was built in 2006 with a concrete exterior, steel beams and large glass windows.
The two-story, 3,400-square foot house has a balcony, walk-in closet, fireplace, two-car parking garage, concrete patio, large kitchen and spa-like master bath with double vanities.
This four-bedroom, five-bathroom, 2,937-square-foot contemporary property in the Sabino Vista Heights subdivision of Tucson, Arizona, is currently on the market for about $570,000. It was built in 1977 using cement concrete with a tiled roof, hardwood flooring and stacked stone accents.
The single-story home has granite countertops, vaulted ceilings, several fireplaces, a sports court, deck, pool, security system, skylight, workshop room, small breakfast bar, an intercom and double-pane windows.
Studio City, California
This four-bedroom, six-bathroom modern home in Studio City, California, is currently listed for around $3.8 million. The property was first built in 1950 and has had "over a million dollars in improvements" since 2012, according to the listing.
The wired smart-home has 5,000 square feet of space, a rooftop lounge area, glass three-car garage, gym, under-counter wine storage area, pool, covered patio, fireplace, jetted bathtub, security system, skylight and concrete and hardwood flooring.
In Yakima, Washington, which is about 150 miles southeast of Seattle, this four-bedroom, six-bathroom, 6,769-square-foot contemporary home is on the market for around $1.2 million. It was built in 1990 with a cement concrete and stucco exterior and a tiled roof.
It has a pool with a small pool house, marble fireplace, 21-foot ceilings, black slate flooring in the kitchen, a four-car garage, some stained glass windows and a billiard room.
This three-bedroom, three-bathroom contemporary home may be boxy like a prison, but its floor-to-ceiling windows make it feel like anything but. It's currently on the market in Wellfleet, Massachusetts -- about 100 miles southeast of Boston -- for approximately $2.3 million. The property was built in 2004 primarily of wood, concrete and glass.
It features 3,050 square feet of space, a pantry, patio, private beach, eco-friendly insulated windows, built-in sound system, breakfast bar, modern light fixtures, concrete flooring, fireplace and dual-vanity master bath.