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10 Spectacular Projects Featuring Unusual Buildings Converted Into Private Homes

It’s not uncommon for old buildings to be converted into something else. Often, commercial spaces gets transformed into beautiful private residences and become lofts but it’s also possible for other types of buildings to be converted. For example, there are numerous examples of water cleaning stations or even churches that have become amazing homes. We’ve selected a few examples to support this idea.

Water Cleaning Station Conversion on the French Riviera.

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We’re going to start with this amazing loft-like residence located in the small coastal town of Villefranche sur Mer on the French Riviera. The building looks like a lovely family home now but it didn’t always use to be the case. Originally, this was a water cleaning station that was built in 1910. It’s a building with a long and rich history and lots of stories to tell.

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The water cleaning station has become unused and recently it has been transformed into the impressive 5,400 square foot residence you see here now. The main residence has three bedrooms and three bathrooms but the property also includes a 700 square foot detached guest apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom. In addition, there’s also a five-car garage, a heated swimming pool and a very large hot tub, all elements that make this home amazing.

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The most impressive architectural detail of the residence is a 45 foot tall indoor water tank that spreads on three levels. It’s just a reminder of what the building used to be, a small part of its history and past. The residence might seem now like a very well balanced and designed structure but transforming it wasn’t easy.After it got abandoned in the early 70’s, the water cleaning station was acquired by its present owner in 1996. It was in poor condition and needed lots of attention. It took the owner 15 years to get it to its current state. It was a long journey but the results are stunning.{images by 3mille}.

Water Tower Conversion in London.

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We continue with another amazing conversion project, this time featuring a water tower. Located in South East London, England, UK, this unusual residence has a unique story. The story begins in 1877 when the Venetian-Gothic water tower was originally built. It was a project by Fowler and Hill as part of Lambeth Workhouse and Infirmary which later on became Lamberth Hospital.

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The years past and it came the moment when the water tower was no longer used for its intended purpose and began to deteriorate. Even more years passed but finally, in 2008 the tower was listed for £395,000. It was bought by Leigh Osbourne and Graham who saw the potential the building had. They decided to convert it into a private home so they started planning everything immediately.

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A while later, the 99 foot tall water tower became a spectacular home. What was once an old and abandoned building is now a wonderful luxury home. The tower has 5-foot thick walls and features a huge steel water tank on top so it’s not exactly a traditional home. But it’s the uniqueness of the design that made its owner want to buy it in the first place.

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They wanted a unique home like none other. They saw the potential that this building had and they managed to transform it into a beautiful, modern home with four beautiful bedrooms and an impressive new living space at the bottom which they’ve nicknamed the “Cube”. This amazing home also has 360 degree views across London, another amazing detail that makes it spectacular.

Barge Conversion in Stockholm.

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And just to change the atmosphere a little, we now continue with a different type of home. This one is also a home that has been the subject of a major transformation. You might have heard of mobile homes or floating homes. These are usually either regular small houses built on pillars above the water or old boats that were transformed into homes.

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The unique home we want to show you was originally a barge. Built in 1909, this barge, once used for transport of heavy goods, is now a beautiful floating home that can be found on Skeppsholmen, one of the islands of Stockholm. Now a 1,600 square foot home, this structure has a very modern design. If you look at it only from the interior you might even say it’s just a regular small apartment with a nautical themed décor.

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The floating home has two cozy bedrooms and two bathrooms and it’s indeed a unique place to live in. If you think that living on a boat would something that you’d enjoy, maybe you would like to be this home’s next owner. It’s currently offered at $800,000 and it’s waiting for someone to call it home again. Since it’s such a unique home, it’s difficult to say whether or not the advantages prevail over the disadvantages of living on a boat. I guess it all depends on the person. Some people adore falling asleep in a rocking bed or, even better, on a boat that sits in calm water.{found on skeppsholmen}.

Church Conversion in Brisbane by Willis Greenhalgh Architects.

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Next on our list is a stunning home that used to be a church. Churches are built to serve as sanctuaries, spiritual spaces where people can connect with the divinity. But underneath all the spiritual significance there’s also a layer of beautiful architecture. It’s for this reason that people choose to live in churches after, of course, they have transformed them into inviting private homes.

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This church was originally built in 1867 and it’s located in Brisbane, Australia. It also served as a theatre at one point. It’s a beautiful historic building that was later converted by Australian practice Willis Greenhalgh Architects into an amazing home. What was once an old church it now a stunning contemporary home. Of course, the building didn’t lose all its character and identity during the conversion. Some architectural elements have been preserved and exploited. For example, the exterior is very similar to the original design.

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The interior also features some of the original architecture details such as the beautiful arched windows, the ceiling and the beams. The home has a large gourmet kitchen, a wine cellar, a saltwater swimming pool, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study at the mezzanine level, a library and a media room. The property also features wonderful landscaped gardens. It’s difficult to imagine that this luxury home had almost been demolished. Luckily, it was saved just in time to become an amazing home. It’s a very inspiring story and there are plenty more like this one.

Another Church Conversion in Toronto.

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A similar project was the conversion of this beautiful church that can be found in Toronto, Canada. Although now the building is a residential space, it was originally built to serve as a church. Originally constructed in 1910, this building is a former Howard Park Methodist church. After it had changed affiliations a few times, the church received its final makeover and transformation in 2008 when it was converted into a residential building.

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In 1910 this used to be a Methodist church. Then in 1925 it was a united church and in 1970 an evangelical church. It’s true that it changed affiliation a few times but if there is one thing that never changed about it it’s the architecture. The church, currently a residential space, features an exquisite design with magnificent architectural details.

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When, in 2008, the church got transformed into a residential structure, it was evident that it had to undergo lots of changes. Most of them were minor structural changes and design and décor transformations. The exterior, however, remained as beautiful and charming as always. Now it’s a 2,700-square-foot four-story penthouse built inside the bell tower of the former church. It has a total of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a media room and a wonderful 550 square foot roof terrace with stunning views of the surrounding area. Even though this is an extraordinary space, living in a former church is not for everyone. Still, this detail also contributes to the uniqueness of what is now a spectacular home.

Barn Conversion in Burgundy by Josephine Interior Design.

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We continue with another spectacular transformation, this time in the area of Burgundy, in central France. The amazing home you see now wasn’t always what it seems to be now. Originally, this building used to be a barn. The transformation in this case is particularly interesting because the new design is somewhere in between what used to be and what will be. To be more precise, let’s take a look at some of the architecture and design features.

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Notice that, throughout this place, there always seems to be a balance between old and new. The idea behind the project was to combine elements from different styles. For example, the materials sued are diverse. We have concrete on the floors and oak beams in the ceiling. The beams stand out in this case also because of the exposed ceiling and the contrast between them and the white background. When you look at this place you definitely see a nice and inviting home but it also become apparent very quickly that the building also has a much richer history and an interesting story to tell.

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The owners and the designers that worked on this project tried to incorporate elements from both the past and the present and to create a sort of combination between the building’s function as a barn and its current use as a family home. There are certain elements that can be seen in all the rooms and spaces. They include the exposed beams and the overall neutral atmosphere created by the combination of materials and colors.

Santa Marta Restaurant by Studio Kuadra.

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It’s true that there are lots of examples of old buildings that were transformed into residential buildings or private homes. But it’s not the case for all such buildings. There are cases when the transformation doesn’t aim at creating private residential spaces but commercial or even public spaces. For example, this beautiful old chapel is now a restaurant.

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The chapel is located in the historical quarter of Mazzè, Italy and it’s part of the religious complex of the parish church. Originally built in the 18th century, the chapel is obviously old, even though it might not seem so today. For this transformation, the project area was 110 square meters on each floor. Completed in 2009, the results are indeed spectacular.

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The project consisted in the restoration of the chapel and, most importantly, its conversion into a restaurant. The three-story building underwent lots of changes. But what’s interesting is that the exterior has remained pretty much untouched. That’s because it has great architectural value and its transformation into something modern and completely different would have meant destroying all of that and also destroying the continuity in the area.

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The ground floor of the building is the main entrance and includes a bar, the kitchen and the toilets. The first floor was converted into the main dining room. It’s a spacious area with double height vaulted ceilings. Above it there’s a gallery. The restaurant also has balconies. When you enter, the décor is surprisingly modern and contrasts with the old exterior. It was an intentional detail meant to add drama and beauty.{found on archdaily}.

1848 Water Pumping Station Conversion in Yorkshire.

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We started this article by showing you the amazing transformation of a water cleaning station and then a water tower. We now continue on the same note and we present you this wonderful home located in West Yorkshire, in the north of England, UK. What is now a lovely private home once used to be a water pumping station.

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The station was originally built in 1848 and it was the Pump House is the former water pumping station of Ilkley. It functioned as a water pumping station for a long time but eventually it got abandoned and became unused. As the time passed, the building began to lose its shape but it never lost its charm. Then it came the time when the building was transformed into a unique contemporary home. It has a total of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. In addition, it also has two receptions. The history of the building is rich and interesting ad hopefully it won’t stop here.

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Now the water pumping station is almost unrecognizable. It remained in the same spot but it has a contemporary design. It is now a modern home and it features lots of windows, contemporary furniture and a very clean, chic and stylish interior décor. The exterior, however, is still a reminder that lets us know this didn’t always use to be a home. The best part of all is the views and the location. It’s far from all the noise and unwanted eyes, it’s private and it’s situated in an area that allows panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.{found on site}.

Containers of Hope project.

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When we refer to conversions and transformations we don’t always have in mind the cases when a building changes functionality and becomes from church a restaurant or from a water tower a home. There are also cases when the house we’re referring to has been recently built from scratch but that still has an interesting story.

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It’s the case of this unique homes found in in San Jose, Costa Rica. As you can see, the house has a modern design both inside and out. That’s because it was built quite recently. You might wonder why are we even discussing this project if it wasn’t previously a church or any other sort of building. Well…that’s because the house was built from shipping containers. It’s an unusual idea but it’s also a concept that has become more and more popular lately.

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The architect that worked at this project and the clients worked closely together. The clients even built the house themselves. The result was this 1,000 square foot home. It is made from two 40-feet used shipping containers. The containers were set together with a raised mid-section and they have clerestory windows. Building it was quite easy. The reason why the clients wanted to build a container house was because they wanted to be able to live on a beautiful property where they could raise horses and admire the landscape. They wanted the house to be inexpensive so they chose this option. It might not be a typical house but it’s the home they always wanted.

Water tower from New York.

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The last unique transformation we present you is that of a water tower from New York. The tower was converted into a private home for a client that requested a space where he could get away from everything and everyone and where he could feel alone and in his own world. When you think about, a water tower is a perfect choice. It offers the privacy needed and it doesn’t even matter if it’s located in the center of the city or on a deserted piece of land.

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The water tower was conveniently located on the roof of the client’s apartment. It was the main reason why he even requested this project. After purchasing the rights to the water tower for 99 years, the client decided to remodel the space and to turn it into a room for reading, relaxing and listening to music. After explaining his vision to the architect, the project began. The water tower got transformed into an urban tree house, placed high above the city’s buildings and surrounded by skyscrapers.

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The whole project started as a renovation of a 5-by-8-foot bathroom. Then it extended into a renovation of the entire apartment. Then the client decided to also add a new stair. It was a way of encouraging himself to visit the roof deck more often. The custom stainless steel spiral stair was created and, after that, the transformation of the water tower began. A 12 foot tall window was cut into the east side of the tower. The window provides the natural light the client needs when reading. Now his vision has become reality. He finally has a quiet room where he can read, listen to music or simply relax. It’s something we should all have.{found on remodelista}.

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Posted in Best Of on January 3, 2013

About the author

Simona Ganea
She may not be very fond of people, finding them annoying most of the time, but she still enjoys helping them from the shadows. Her attention to detail drives others crazy yet remains her most appreciated characteristic.

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