7 Unconventional and Re-Purposed Homes

by Jess ViceDecember 20, 2018

We’ve seen the refurbished school buses and the homes-built-inside-airplanes and the adorable little train caboose homes. And we’ve also seen the house built in the shape of a shoe, or the carved mushroom homes, or the toilet-shaped house. Unconventional and re-purposed homes come in all shapes and sizes!

Today, we’re looking at an eco-friendly way to build the home of your dreams through re-purposing an existing structure. Below, you’ll find seven buildings, neglected and unused, that someone’s vision transformed into a unique and cozy home.

Gas Station

This 1918 Sinclair gas station outside New Orleans got a full renovation — the interior is open ceilings, steel-and-wood framing, old petrol station memorabilia, and masculine charm. (It was briefly available for rent on AirBnB, but that no longer appears to be the case.) We hear there’s a finished roof deck with gorgeous views of the French district.

Fire Tower

This airy palace above the trees could have served as a wildfire tower for the US Forest Service (instead, it mimics their designs exactly, but is a new construction). No longer looking for smoke, the new owners are soaking in the views. They’ve purposed the interior to hold large dinner parties and built the decks wide enough for after-dinner gatherings to watch the sunset and get a breath of fresh air.

Country Church

In rural Pennsylvania, this country church got a second lease on life as a modest estate. The church bell still resides in the steeple; the stained glass windows were repaired and feature in the main rooms; and the ceiling murals were carefully restored. It’s an interesting take on open floor plan living spaces, to be sure!

Industrial Crane

Rising above the Bristol Harbor, the main cabin of an industrial crane offers a treehouse-like escape from the urban jungle. It was a creative collaboration between a glamping company and a DIY firm, who donated all the proceeds of the rentals to the non-profit Friends of the Earth. The interior is full of raw and handmade touches (and plants!) to provide a soothing getaway. And the structure was completely carbon-neutral.

Water Cistern

Built into a hillside in Spain, this old stone water cistern was perfectly re-imagined into a mid-century modern home. The original well is preserved as an art piece in the new courtyard, with kitchen, living, and dining rooms all facing it through a curved wall of glass. The bedrooms and bathrooms are below the level of the hilltop, with their own private courtyard on the opposite side of the house.

Water Tower

On the theme of water storage, a designer in London converted this urban water tower into a modernist home. The views are incredible if you can make it up the 6 flights of stairs to get there. We’re wondering just how they plan to move in a couch…

Grain Silo

Along the banks of the Provo River in Utah, a modern grain silo acts as a cozy retreat. The home is corrugated metal, circular, and almost space-ship like. The bed nooks each have their own stereo sound and flatscreen TVs. The home is positioned facing south to enhance passive solar heat gain through the cold winters.

What’s your favorite reclaim/reuse home? What buildings have you seen abandoned or decaying and thought, “I bet that would be fun to renovate!”? Send us links in the comments below!

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About The Author
Jess Vice
Jess is a user experience strategist by day and a writer by night. Jess loves making a space feel unique and welcoming through DIY renovations, cooking Southern soul food, and hosting dance parties. She and her Schnoodle Puck spend most of their free time playing in the great outdoors in Utah.