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Guess what these homes started out as


Front of a house renovated out of a covered bridge.
Source: Airbnb

Here we have a collection of residences created in buildings that were built for other purposes, including a few structures you probably never considered would make a good house; but under the right designing guidance, they do. The examples here range from a humble repurposing of a 472-square-foot utilitarian building to a dramatic home of more than 13,000 square feet in size that stands out from its mansion neighbors.

—By Colleen Kane
Posted 5 Feb. 2015

Covered bridge

Interior of a converted covered bridge.
Source: Airbnb

Location: Nevada City, California
Price: See below
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: 2,400

This former covered bridge in the Sierra foothills is owned by George Roberts and Giudita Soldavini, and was converted into its loft-style, open-plan dwelling under the designing hand of Giudita.

In 2008, the covered bridge home was on the market for $1,499,500. In 2012, it was offered at $990,000, and in 2013 it went up to $1.395 million. It's currently off the market, but a guest bedroom is available for rental on Airbnb.


An entire former pub in Peckham, U.K.
Source: Airbnb

Location: Peckham, London, England
Price: See below
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: approx. 1,754

When Morgan and Emily Coates bought the former circa-1860s Talfourd Arms pub in 2012, it was already converted into a residence. Morgan described its condition at that time as "very dated and extremely unsuited to family living," so they gave it a renovation, including presumably updating the "weird S&M-style dungeon bathroom." The 2012 purchase price was approximately $1.72 million, and it was recently valued at approximately $1.96 million.

The site was last a pub in the early 1970s and subsequently served as a sweet shop and a hairdressers, before a derelict period. However, the space retains the stained glass on the door saying "Public Bar," a trap door leading to the cellar, as well as men's and ladies' toilets. The home is available as an Airbnb rental.


A converted stone barn.
Photo: Adam Currie

Location: Broughshane, Northern Ireland
Price: Unknown
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: approx. 1,184

The Loughloughan Barn is a gorgeous merging of an ancient stone barn foundation and walls with a cantilevered modern metal framework, forming a truly singular yet handsomely integrated residence.

The conversion project was the work of McGarry-Moon Architects and design team Jessica McGarry, Steven Moon & Adam Currie.

Carriage house

A Cobble Hill carriage house in Brooklyn, New York.
Source: Corcoran

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Price: $6.995 million
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 4
Square Footage: 5,800

A sale is pending on this renovated carriage house, which has been featured in numerous films, such as "Eat Pray Love." Dating to the 1840s, it once served as a firehouse. Its modern incarnation for two families offers two floors of open-plan living space on a scale almost unheard of in its neighborhood of Cobble Hill, with exposed beams and a fireplace crafted from repurposed bricks. Other features include a second-floor terrace, wide plank floors, and a greenhouse.


A converted church in New Orleans.

Location: New Orleans
Price: See below
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 6 full, 2 half
Square Footage: 13,292

This Spanish baroque building stands out from its grand Garden District neighbors with its unusual style. It was built in 1927 as Westminster Presbyterian Church, then housed the Ballet Hysell.

Although it's been a private residence since 2000, the 26-foot ceiling interior is still spacious and open enough, with light flooding in from arched windows on both sides, that one can easily imagine its previous incarnations. It was on the market in 2013 for $2.5 million, and was offered at $2.6 million until January of this year, which included the property's three one-bedroom rental units, according to Curbed.


Location: New Orleans
Price: See below
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 6
Square Footage: 5,698

This former firehouse in the French Quarter is currently categorized on Realtor as "sold, price not available," but it was on the market last month for $4.85 million. It was last sold in 2005 for $1 million.

The spacious interior has been impeccably designed for modern living, with a freestanding fireplace, exposed brick, fully tiled bathroom and a glass wall leading to a private courtyard terrace with a small pool/garden water feature.


A converted school house in Yarmouth, MA.

Location: Yarmouth, Massachusetts
Price: $199,900
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: 472

This tiny 1940 schoolhouse started out in Connecticut but ended up as a home on Cape Cod near Colonial Acres Beach. It sold in August for just under $200,000.

The converted home has a schoolhouse bell cast in 1855, but the rest was enlarged and updated in 2006, when it got a new kitchen and appliances, a new roof and other improvements.

Public toilets

A converted public toilet in London.
Source: Lamparchitects

Location: London
Price: see below
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: just under 600

When Laura Clark (now of Lamp Architects) graduated from art school, she wanted a little place to live in London. Unlike everything else in the market, she saw a derelict underground public lavatory that was nearly 100 years old and thought "home sweet home."

She put her architectural design skills to work and created a railroad-style living space that retains some of the subway tile of the original space, as well as the glass block skylights. All told, Crystal Palace Underground Toilets cost around $100,000.

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