Photo credit @gilykill

The water tower, one of Southern California’s oldest and unique landmarks, is easy to spot. Drive north up the Pacific Coast Highway from downtown Huntington Beach, and you can’t miss it. Set a soaring 87 feet in the air, the water tower is the second tallest residential home in the United States.

But did you know you can spend the night in this 2,800-square-foot, four-bedroom home with its eclectic interior and incredible 360-degree views of southern California?

The water tower is located at 1 Anderson St, along the PCH bordering Sunset Beach and Seal Beach, less than 50 yards from the beach. It was originally built in the late 1800s to service steam engines that traveled the California coast. In the 1940s, a 75,000-gallon tank that held more than 300 tons of water was erected which stood nearly 90 feet tall. It became a landmark for the community until it outlived its usefulness and was abandoned 35 years later.

In the 1980s the Douglas fir and redwood structure was in danger of being removed until a successful “Save Our Water Tower” movement was created by local residents. The structure was purchased independently and redesigned with the vision of transforming the tower into a house. To build the home, the wooden tank was removed, and a three-story house that replicated the look of the tank was built on the ground before being hoisted by crane into place in 1984.

In 2016, new owners purchased the residence and had it professionally restored and decorated over the past two years. Recently, the owners placed the home, billed as “the world’s ultimate beach house,” on vacation rental website

Sunset Water Tower

Photo credit @socalsnapz

Their vision was to pay tribute to the water tower’s history and also to provide modern touches that make this luxury accommodation stand out. In addition to the four bedrooms, the home features two garages, an elevator, three and one-half bathrooms, kitchen, bar, laundry room and an amazing “rotunda” living room. There is even a bedroom with a “secret” room located behind a bookshelf.

Its retro-styled ambiance is achieved by incorporating unique and authentic pieces. Miniature scale trains chug along on tracks near the ceilings. Plaques placed strategically throughout the tower celebrate its past. Modern amenities include HD televisions with Direct TV, fine linens, updated bathrooms and a fully-stocked kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and cookware.

Sunset Water Tower

The top floor “rotunda” living room has a breathtaking stained glass “copula,” a 7-foot diameter table, fire pit, curved 175-gallon fish tank, stain glass ceiling and vintage propellers. The propellers are part of the history of the tower and a tangible reminder of its unique role as a coastal landmark during World War II.  Windows on all sides open outward to the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, San Gabriel Mountains, Huntington Beach and surrounding communities.

Water Tower Sunset Beach

Outside on the elevated outdoor deck is everything anyone would need to enjoy the views and the beach without stepping off the property. The deck has all the creature comforts such as a Jacuzzi, barbecue and breakfast/sunset bars. Plus, looking out from the 50-foot high deck at an emblazoned California sunset is the perfect way to end any day at the water tower house.