Intriguing Conversions

2nd May 2012

If you enjoyed our last blog about Weird, Wonderful and Bizarre Homes, you might like this blog just as much as I have gathered a selection of very unusual house conversions. Some have gone from a house into a house with a joint purpose, whilst others originally served a different purpose, being transformed into the ideal home for someone. Again, I would love to hear your thoughts on these houses, so feel free to comment using the panel below.

The Hemloft
Image sourced

The HemLoft

This house is a secret squirrel of a house, it's also not really a conversion, more of a quality treehouse, hiding deep in a forest in Canada at the top of trees. Joel Allen, the creator, didn't get permission to build his egg-shaped house on the public land, which overlooked multi-million dollar homes. Mr Allen could not afford to buy a house, so decided to build this home near a road, but out of sight and earshot of any passers-by. He has built this house illegally and the house's fate seems sealed, but he has kept it a secret for the last 3 years, throughout the whole construction, wanting to "build something cool" and feel the euphoria of completing a mammoth personal mission. I love this house because a) it is beautiful and b) it has an incredible view and is a sustainable house, effortlessly blending in with it's environment. I also like the little window used to watch the local wildlife. Fingers crossed this house isn't taken down and demolished.

John Travolta's house
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John Travolta's House

Some of you may not know this, but John Travolta is a trained pilot, so naturally he wanted to be able to put this into practise as much as he could. So, naturally he decided to build an airport terminal on the side of his house and runway in the garden. This mansion is unsurprisingly stunning, but with a fully working airport attached, this is one of the most unique homes I have ever seen! A conservatory obviously wasn't on his wish list.

Train house
Ever fancied living in a train carriage?

Train conversion

This is an interesting concept, one I am not sure I would like to live in, but it is a good way to utilise retired carriages. They can be kitted out with fully functional bathrooms and kitchens, offering a cosy one bedroom home. There are some that actually look quite up-market inside and it is hard to tell they are in a train carriage. I'm not convinced about this one, but what do you think?

Church Conversion
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Church conversion

If you have a look online at church conversions, there are some amazing makeovers on show, my favourite being the one pictured. It is grand, rustic and managed to retain the original character of the building, using the original design to separate the room and create a homely feel. The wooden ceiling frames the huge stone archway and a lot of the features have been maintained. However, if you are like me, you may be put off by the fact it is a church. Since a child, I have always found them a bit scary, so don't think I could personally live in a church, but they do make a very unique, luxurious house to live in! Would you like to live in a church or chapel?

Sufflok Water Tower
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Water Tower Conversion

The "House in the Clouds" is quite local for us hear at the Anglian head office, as it is only down the road in Thorpeness, Suffolk. This former water tower is now a bed and breakfast, providing spacious accommodation complete with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a drawing room, a dining room and the room at the top providing some incredible views of Suffolk. I am most definitely considering staying in this bed and breakfast; it has some gorgeous views, is near the coast and looks like a thoroughly relaxing place to visit.

St Anne's Lighthouse
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Lighthouse conversion

After seeing this beautiful, charming lighthouse conversion, I fell in love...until I saw the price of it! The owners were looking for offers in the region of...wait for it...£1,250,000!!! Ouch! Although, you are most definitely getting your money's worth if you bought this house. Built in 1714 and the present tower being erected in 1841, this stunning lighthouse helped prevent ships smashing into rocks for centuries. Based in Pembrokeshire it overlooks the Milford Haven waterway and the Irish Sea, giving you some picturesque sunset views everyday. The person who bought and converted it split the lighthouse so it now boasts 5 en suite bedrooms located in the tower half, and 3 en suite bedrooms in the flat. The highlight for me is the double bedroom located in the tower, making it one of the most romantic, enchanting rooms of the house. Still not interested? Well, I haven't yet mentioned that this quality house comes with an indoor swimming pool and sauna...I have planted my money tree.

Brendan Grimshaw House Moyenne
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Island with only 1 house

Ever wanted your own island? Well, adventurer Brendon Grimshaw fell in love with the small island of Moyenne in the Seychelles, purchasing it for a measly £8,000! in 1962; he has lived there ever since! He is now 86 years old and still thoroughly enjoys living on the island with the giant tortoises he is slowly trying to reintroduce to the wild in the Indian Ocean. The island, surrounded by protective coral reef, has been converted from an overgrown wilderness, into his own little paradise with a fully functional house including running water, electricity and a phone line. He has worked tirelessly with the help of Rene Lafortune to transform this island into the heavenly place it is now, planting palm trees, mango and paw-paw, even encouraging birds to nest there as there were none on the island before. The island is now a nature reserve and one that Mr Grimshaw is very proud of, refusing numerous offers from multi-millionaires, but it is also rumoured to have treasure buried somewhere as it was formerly a hide-away for pirates. I think I would have to find this treasure for any chance of buying this island, in which case I will settle with a day-trip to this phenomenal island.

SpitBank Fort
Image sourced

Spitbank Fort

From one island to another, off the south coast of the United Kingdom, near Portsmouth, stands 3 large forts in the middle of the sea. Built in the 1860's to protect the UK against invasion, it has since been converted into a hotel. This one in particular, which is now owned by Clarenco, boasts it is a luxury hotel equipped with 9 bedroom suites, 3 bars, 3 restaurant areas and spa facilities! It is a full fledged fortress, originally built to defend against the French, but never being put into use. Had they attacked they would've had a tough time breaking through the 15ft thick solid granite walls, that is if they got past the cannons that would've been firing some hefty ammunition at them. With the amount of history surrounding this fort, and for the income it must be making now, it was probably well worth the £1 million it sold for in 2009. Have you stayed in this hotel?

So, what do you think of the latest collection of 'Intriguing Conversions'? My favourite is most definitely Moyenne, there cannot be a better feeling than being the only person on the island, although I would eventually want some company. If you have converted a house yourself and are particularly proud of it, send us some photos and tell us what you did, email [email protected]

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