The path to becoming a weird home can have many twists and turns. Sometimes our homes start off as something totally mundane and normal like banks, retail buildings, and even airplanes and have been repurposed into someone’s wonderfully weird home. Check it out six of these radically repurposed homes below.
Bartlett Bank – Central Texas
First on our list of radically repurposed homes is the Bartlett Bank. Bartlett is one of the most unique historic towns in Texas. The Bartlett National bank opened in 1904 and operated bank until the 1930’s. Can you believe it opened with just $25,000?
Lore has it that a set of bank robbers set out to rob it in the late 1960’s. These Bank Robbers were pretty surprised to find out that although Bartlett had a bank, it wasn’t operational and had no money to steal! This building was also the set of the Newton Boys and was blown up in the huge bank robbery scene. Luckily that was just Hollywood magic and they didn’t really blow up the bank! It was also the set of Whole Wide World and even Revolution the TV series.
The Bartlett National Bank now serves as a quirky vacation rental. It has 2 bedrooms in the old banker office space, a kitchen in what was the old teller station with the antique teller walls still in tact, and bathrooms that have been added to fit the time period the Bank was built. The Bank Manager’s office now acts as a study and contains letters originally written in that very office in the early 1920’s. In one of them, the bank manager trys to release someone of their debt but can’t quite remember how much the debt was (you’d think that was his main job)! The old bank vaults serve as a pantry and wine cellar and one of them has pennies as flooring. The soaring ceilings are ornate and showcase the true beauty of this historic building built in the Beaux Arts style. It’s full of fun surprises at every turn!
If you don’t get this It’s a Wonderful Life movie reference, perhaps going back in time to a 1940s oak and glass adorned pharmacy will take you there. Come up Detroit’s Trumbull Avenue and visit a rather mundane looking building. Once you get over the brick wrap of a storefront church, you might just muse, what’s in there? Now is a great opportunity to find out.
Stroll in to a shell of a space that has been converted to residence, art gallery and makeshift yoga studio. Admire the timestamp of an incredible mosaic floor, the depression-era glass shelving and refrigerated cabinets, while immersing yourself in the artwork and comic graphics from a not as innocent era by Abdul Qadim Haqq. Surely, resident Cosy will spin you some tunes and tell some tales of living in this unassuming place.
Next on our list of radically repurposed homes is something you might not expect. Just a short drive outside of Portland tucked into the woods of Hillsboro, you will discover the wonderful and mysterious Airplane Home! Electrical engineer Bruce Campbell (no, not Ash from Evil Dead) bought a retired 727 Boeing jet for $100,000 and has been living in it ever since!
Campbell believes retired airplanes can servee as an excellent source for quality housing. The airtight design keeps out pests and dust. Their strength and durability also enables them to withstand earthquakes and storms. With all the seats removed from the cabin, the 1,066 square feet airplane body actually feels surprisingly spacious. Plus all of the hatches, latches, and tech in the plane makes it a cool as hell place to live!
Up next on our list of repurposed homes is a dumpster! Talk about downsizing! What do homes look like in a world of 10 billion people? How do we equip current and future generations with sustainable living practices? The Dumpster Project investigates how you can transform an empty box into a happy and healthy home for you and the environment. The box – a barely habitable garbage container. Just one bedroom, no bathrooms and 33 square feet! The project also serves as an interactive teaching lab for the students of Austin’s Huston-Tillotson University.
Professor Jeff invites you to come explore and learn more about the future of sustainable living.
You don’t have to break the law to visit the Inn at the Old Jail. Built as a jail and patrol station in 1902, this Queen Anne beauty also served as a library and community center. All this changed though when it was damaged and abandoned damaged by Katrina in 2005.
In 2013, homeowners Liz and Raul fell in love with the storied building and immediately recognized its potential. Inspired to create an Inn that would attract curious, adventurous and easy-going travelers, they bought the Inn at auction. Afterwards, they spent three years on a painstaking restoration. From scouring auctions for rare antiques and reclaimed architectural ornaments to preserving the original historic bones, no detail was overlooked.
From the start, Liz and Raul wanted the Inn at the Old Jail to pay homage to the NOPD. Both the rooms and public spaces salute the city’s brave men and women in blue. For those curious about history and interested in having a truly NOLA experience, make sure to visit the Inn at the Old Jail.
The home operates as a Bed and Breakfast. Book through their website.
Finally, on our list of radically repurposed homes is a little speakeasy and art venue in Houston. The Kiam Annex is the tenth oldest commercial building in Houston. When constructed in 1893 it also stood as the tallest building in Houston. Currently the bottom floor houses two bars … Dean’s and Notsuoh (that’s “Houston” spelled backwards). The second and third floors serve as the residence and studios of artists Jim Pirtle, Bronwyn Lauder and Dawn Lerro. It now represents a blend of mid-century retail and early 1970’s New York artist loft.
The environment of the building (both the objects and its social events) act as a “social sculpture.” They kept most of the left behind objects from previous tenants which now fills the space’s 10,000 sq ft. These include: 4 Clothing stores, a jewelry store and a pawn shop plus the art brought in by Jim Pirtle from 35 years of object making and collecting! Other artists are also encouraged to engage with the space. These range from a dance company, to theater groups, to a local weekly newspaper and art openings
Jim’s grandmother even worked in the building as a salesgirl in 1919 when it was Sakowitz…. almost a 100 years later Jim’s daughter works in the building as a bartender!