Get thee to a convent and convert it to a home

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized, Old Houses, Old House Construction, Non Residential Buildings, In The News, Old House History, Historic Preservation

Every so often a great opportunity comes along and you know there’s a good chance you’ll regret it later if you let it pass you by. The Twitter chat with Bob Vila on Thursday, June 30 is just such an opportunity for old house enthusiasts and those who don’t have old homes, but are planning an exterior renovation project.

The Twitter chat is at 10:00 AM Pacific time or 1:00 PM Eastern time and can be followed at @VinylSidingZone and @BobVila.  The hashtag is #GetReadyThurs. VinylSidingZone is participating in the chat, but your questions can pertain to any exterior home renovation project you may have underway or have planned. Some of the topics already slated for discussion are siding, exterior painting and staining, and general exterior renovation projects. Bob Vila is a noted authority on all things related to home improvement — take advantage of this great opportunity while you have the chance.

Old Paris convent now a home -- photo from freshome.com

Old Paris convent now a home -- photo from freshome.com

Historic old building conversions

I’ve written the past several weeks about interesting old buildings being converted into homes. I thought the old churches and water towers I’ve discussed were unique, but I found a couple of historic old building conversions that may be even more unusual.

Could you imagine living in an old Paris convent dating back to the mid 1700s?  The article includes lots of eye-catching photos of the contemporary renovation, which features a 2,500-square-foot loft. Looking at the photos of the conversion you would never guess the building was nearly 250 years old. One of the trends I’ve noticed many architects follow in these old building conversions is that they often end up with an ultra modern design — perhaps for the contrast between the old and new.

Old building with no windows — no problem

Historic waterfront property -- photo from inhabitat.com

Historic waterfront property -- photo from inhabitat.com

If you’re a history buff, you know that for many years England ruled the seas. They also took defense of their island seriously and built a series of guard towers along the coast during the beginning of the 1800s. Some of these towers were round and had walls about 12-feet thick to deflect cannon balls fired from enemy fleets. At least one of these defense towers is now a family’s home.

One of the challenges architects faced with the Suffolk conversion is that old defense towers don’t have many windows, and with 12-foot walls you don’t just add a few in an afternoon. The solution was to raise the roof and add a ring of windows around the top of the structure to let a little light inside. Defense tower living might not be for everyone, but you definitely aren’t just another house in a sub-division.