I used to think I had a pretty sizable collection of coffee mugs. Though I never really sought them out, I would acquire various mugs, ceramics, tumblers, and all other manner of drinkware at coffee events and never really found any reason not to keep them. Thus my collection ballooned out of a single cupboard and now I just put them wherever I can find room. It really seemed like I had a lot coffee cups. But thanks to Avery and Doris Fisk, I no longer think that. The Collettsville, North Carolina retiree has over 30,000 coffee mugs that he has affixed to the outside of his house.
The existence of the Fisk’s cup cabin was brought to our attention by Boing Boing to unsurfaced a video from Exploring the Obscure, a YouTube channel devoted to seeking out the weird and wonderful places around the world. In it, host Tim Martini travels “deep into the foothills of North Carolina to a house with no address” known simply as The House of Mugs. Nestled somewhere along the Johns River, the husband and wife have spent the better part of two decades collecting coffee mugs that they have turned into their kitschy architectural masterpiece, a labor of love by a mixed couple; Doris is a coffee drinker while Avery rarely touches the stuff.
Per Atlas Obscura, the project began almost by accident. Both artists, the Sisks bought a box of 15 coffee mugs at a flea market that they hung up as decoration. Over time, they followed suit, until coffee mugs were adorning the house—both interior and exterior—gate, fencing, and just about any other upright structure on the property that could support the weight of all that porcelain.
Also known as the Collettsville Cup House, the House of Mugs has become something of a tourist attraction over the years, with write-ups on travel sites like the aforementioned Atlas Obscura, Roadside America, Trip Advisor, Narcity, and Trip.
In the Exploring the Obscure video, Avery states that the Mug House gets anywhere between 500 and 1,000 tourists a year. The Sisks also welcome any visitors to bring a mug of their own to add to the collection, assuming they can find an empty nail somewhere to hang it on.
So if you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in to the House of Mugs. Just bring your own mug, and don’t expect there to be much in the way of coffee to put in it.