Possibly the most unusual conversion on this list is an industrial water tower turned modern home. The architects added windows to provide natural light; a spiral staircase anchors the vertically oriented structure.
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See 10 Public Buildings That Became Private Homes
Water Tower With a Twist
A Church Reborn
A former church in the Netherlands found its third incarnation as a family home. After the building's second stint, as a garage for car repair, the family enlisted an architect to transform it into a thoroughly modern residence while restoring original detailing that had been covered during the structure’s auto-shop period.
A New Lesson for a Schoolhouse
Seeing beyond its dilapidated state, a resourceful couple reinvented this Federal-style schoolhouse as a cozy and colorful weekend retreat. The pair did much of the restoration work themselves, in the process weathering burst pipes and a caved-in ceiling to create a charming Catskills cottage.
From Horse to House
Guests might never guess that this house, with its abundance of white and polished concrete floors, once played host to horses and hay. The design team retained the original timber beams, doors, and many of the interior stable walls to create distinct spaces throughout the home. The most unique touch? The feeding trough converted into a bathroom sink.
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The No-Car Garage
A homeowner planning on renting out the main house on her property turned to the house’s garage when looking for her own residence. By taking on the role of general contractor, she was able to keep down costs for the project, which involved adding a bathroom and stove space, and raising the framing of the garage to accommodate a sleeping loft.
Related: 11 Tiny Houses We Love
A Living Church
The homeowners had to undertake a bit of restoration while converting this Gothic-style church, built in 1909, into a three-bedroom home. A seismic retrofitting to protect from earthquakes ensured the integrity of the brick exterior and stained-glass windows. Inside, the building's bones are revealed through the many original details that were preserved.
Related: 10 A-Frame Homes That Deserve A+
Gothic Turns Contemporary
The designers of this revitalized space took a dramatic step—one of the oldest tricks in the renovating handbook—by slapping a coat of paint on the interior of an 1870 Gothic church. The newly white interiors are the perfect backdrop for a minimalist aesthetic and contemporary furnishings.
Related: House Tour: Mountain Re-Shack
A 21st Century Schoolhouse
A Storefront Faces the Future
If you are interested in more unconventional homes, consider: