You're familiar with the old adage, "One man's dirty public bathroom is another man's modern dream home," right? Who knows, if more designers take note from UK architect Laura Clark, who miraculously renovated a long defunct public restroom into a small but well-appointed family home, that saying might just catch on.
Here, five old sites—including a barn, a castle, and a warehouse—get a new life.
Original site: Astley Castle (Above left)
Renovation: A four bedroom, two-story home built within the remains of a medieval castle in Warwickshire, England, that was nearly destroyed in a fire in the 1970s.
Architect: Witherford Watson Mann
Design notes: The new home, which "squats" inside centuries-old brick ruins yet remains structurally independent, is one of six projects shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize, which awards the buildings that have made the greatest architectural contribution to Britain this year.
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Original site: Livestock shelter (Top photo, right)
Renovation: The "Cowshed House," in Glebe, a suburb of Sydney, Australia
Architect: Carter Williamson Architects
Design notes: Most of the original site was so unsound it had to be scrapped, but the new home maintains the spirit of the livestock shelter with simple, robust materials like polished concrete slab flooring, recycled bricks, an exposed timber structure, and corrugated metal cladding.
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Original site: Commercial warehouse
Renovation: House in Yoro, in Gifu prefecture (north of Nagoya, Japan)
Architect: Airhouse Design Office
Design notes: Most elements of the former warehouse have been left intact, but to differentiate the areas of the large, white open space, bedrooms are painted mustard and purple.
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Original site: 1930s public bathroom (go ahead and gawk at the before-and-after pics below)
Renovation: 600 square-foot home in Crystal Palace, London
Architect: Laura Clark of Lamp Architects
Design notes: Clark turned the decrepit bathrooms, which had been out of use for about 30 years, into a small, modern family home with a pro kitchen (the splash-back is made from repurposed bathroom tiles) for just $100k. Another remnant of the former space she was able to salvage? An original public health poster warning against venereal disease hangs in the kitchen.
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Original site: A pristine 1950s trailer
Renovation: Locomotive Ranch Trailer in Uvalde, TX (just outside of San Antonio)
Architect: Andrew Hinman Architecture
Design notes: Read more about how this home owner loved his shiny vintage trailer so much he wanted to incorporate it into his family's southwestern ranch as a permanent part of the living space in this week's Home Interior Design story.
—Details associate Web editor, Perrin Drumm. Follow her @perrindrumm.
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