You Live in a What!?!

Planning a trip to Europe last fall (to take place in May, which never happened), I stumbled across some unique locations for our stay.  As we would land, we were to stay in a barge that had been converted to an Air B&B, in the heart of Amsterdam.  Walking distance to all places of interest, down the quay to shops, bistros or be on the deck to watch the sunset, all appealed to myself and the sailor I had married.  The gutting of the barge and rebuild, I am sure, was no easy feat.  It was spacious, open concept and bright

The idea of taking factory spaces and converting them into condominiums and apartments has been on the rise.  Every city has had that kind of renovation done.  The following link shows some of the transformations done in San Francisco, New York, Manchester and Singapore.  Reclaiming the spaces that had become derelict and creating spaces that are modern, eco-friendly, bright and inviting, are what the architects had in mind.  I love the idea of a blank canvas and the architect is the artist.  Anything can be made with the space and some are very creative.

When I saw the Boeing and what had been done, I became a little claustrophobic, not my cup of tea but ideal for a single senior who loves planes.  


I have seen articles about churches being transformed into a new living space.  Leaving the old wood and the “bones” of the church intact, plans were made to convert the building into a rather unique home.  With towering ceilings, incredible lofts and second floors can be created.  In the Netherlands, churches have been converted to homes with awesome results.  Here is an interesting one that I found.  

Interior – Exterior

When you first look at the size of this church building, it doesn’t seem wide enough for a home.  The inside has multiple levels of living space, making it very open and modern.  The one general rule that most of these church transformations are keeping is the stained-glass windows, and I don’t blame them.  I would keep those as well.  A beautiful way to preserve the past and accent the history of the building.  Truly organic spaces.

Holy Ghost Cafe – Coleman, Alberta

A few years ago, we were travelling through the Rockies and stopped at the Holy Ghost Café at the top of Crow’s Nest Pass in the town of Coleman. The Café had been a Catholic Church that was no longer in use and they turned it into an organic café and music hall. The confessionals were now the washrooms and this shot was taken from the once choir loft, now the balcony. All the original windows and the mural painted on the ceiling of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, remains. Loved the atmosphere.


Then there is the whimsical.  This was not a refit or makeover, but Dick Clark bought a home in Malibu as it was – a Flintstone inspired home.  For anyone who watched The Flintstones, this is a trip down memory lane.

A one bedroom, 40-acre property that was selling in 2012 for $ 3.5 million.

To see the actual home, check out

As a child, I was fascinated by everything in stone on the cartoon (later the movie) – the tables, counters, chairs, even the bed.  As an adult, my favourite aspect is all the natural light coming through the window openings and the incredible views.  

In today’s world, we realize that we are becoming a throw away society and going forward, we need to change our way of doing things and dealing with throwaways.   The saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Many of these locations could have been torn down, with new buildings erected in their place but the integrity of the buildings were maintained by people who had a vision, a faith that they could get it done and a love of history to keep these properties honest to their beginnings.

One day, my husband and I will make that trip to Europe, stay on a converted barge, sleep in an old castle keep.  I doubt if I could transform one of these properties but how about you?  Would you dedicate years (and, yes, it can take years) to renovating a property like one of these?  Or, perhaps, you might like to try a short stay in one.  There are many options out there, if you are willing to try.

Clip art credit

Photo credit for Holy Ghost Café to Tiffany Frodsham by permission

Photo credit of Utrecht church interior & exterior

Photo credit of Air B&B Amsterdam