The Armour-Stiner Octagon House is one of the most visually unique homes in the world. It is the only known residence constructed in the eight-sided, domed colonnaded shape of a classic Roman temple. The Octagon House was originally built in the 1860s following the precepts of Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, sexologist, amateur architect and author of The Octagon House, a Home for All. Fowler advocated octagonal instead of rectangular houses on the supposition that the shape enclosed more space, created rooms which received more sunlight and had greater accessibility to each other.
In 1872, the house was purchased by Joseph Stiner, a prominent New York City tea merchant. His alterations created the present lyrical structure. The exterior embellishments are extraordinarily festive with floral detailing in the cast iron cresting and railings and elaborately carved wood scrollwork and capitals – all painted in shades of rose, blue, violet and red. The interiors are equally decorative with painted and stenciled ceilings, trim with gold, silver and bronze leaf and unique eight-sided motifs in the plasterwork, woodwork and etched glass.