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Creative Ideas based on Repurposed, Recycled, Reused, Reclaimed, Upcycled and Restored Things!
With the mortgage industry in trouble and more people making the shift toward green housing, reusing train cars as homes is a logical step. This converted rail car home in Portland, Oregon, is a great example of how beautiful a home a converted railroad car can make.
High above the London streets in Shoreditch, a few disused Tube carriages sit proudly, adorned with beautiful graffiti and shining with new life. In mid-2008, a remarkable project came together in Deptford, South London: a 1960s rail car was transported to the high street to become part of an urban reclamation arts project. Some enterprising individuals put the homey feel of converted rail cars to good use as bed and breakfast rooms.
The Controversy B&B in Hoogwoud, Netherlands takes full advantage of the offbeat nature of the discarded train on its grounds. Perhaps the most bizarre train reuse is the Russian trend of converting old train cars into Orthodox Christian churches. Like shipping containers, it’s relatively easy to do the conversion yourself, provided you have the resources to get the car to its new location.
They’re part of Village Underground, a collection of office and studio spaces that encompass the carriages above as well as a massive Victorian warehouse below. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of using the available material to solve the problem at hand.
The Redcaboose Getaway on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula manages to look both charming and exciting.
The compartment is 21 meters long and contains some truly wacky features: the sink basin in the bathroom is an old tire, the bed is a boat, and the jacuzzi tub is in the shape of a colorful sombrero.
The Aurora Express B&B features four historic railroad cars as sleeping chambers and one dining car.
They range from the simple repurposing to the elaborate redesign, complete with adding an entirely new facade.


But in the spirit of recycling, green construction and shipping container homes, some enterprising people are recycling old train cars into homes, offices and even hotels. Cabooses seem to be the most popular choice for train car homes, but there are plenty of dining and sleeping cars being converted as well.
The home encompasses an impressive 807 square feet and features 10-foot-high ceilings, DSL, thoroughly new everything, a full electric kitchen, and an incinerator toilet. A wide variety of occupants take up the spaces, making a truly diverse and unique urban community encompassing some very distinctive recycled building elements. The Deptford Project Cafe is now decorated with beautiful graffiti advertising its existence, and inside you can get a cup of sustainably-harvested coffee or a plate of locally produced treats.
If you ever wanted to be a train conductor as a kid, this is the place to live out that dream…sort of. And if trains aren’t your thing, the transportation-themed property also features trams and a UFO. The cars were purchased from the Denali State Park Hotel for $1 each, with the agreement that the Wilson family would pay to transport them to their property. Some people like to keep things simple and classical while others prefer a more adventurous solution. If you’re able to shell out between $8000 and $45,000 for an old car, another several thousand to transport the car and put it into place on your property, and whatever it takes in material and labor to transform it, you can have a home for much less than a conventional house would cost. After it was retired in 1936, it was made into a land-based duplex and stayed put until 1979. Today, the cars sit on 700 feet of private railroad track overlooking Fairbanks and the Tanana Valley. The home is currently for sale, so if you want the train car home experience without renovating one yourself, now’s your chance.
There’s also a restored art deco dining car where the staff chef prepares breakfast each morning.
The home contains many of the original rail car bits, including the dining seats and some of the interior wood.


The Olympic Peninsula is one of the must-see areas of the US, and this seems like an amazing place to call a temporary home while exploring the area. The artist lives here a few days a week and, given the size and structure of this space, it can’t really be considered a full-time residence. The architect that designed the space has been working at this project for three years and finds it very interesting. Since the size of the space represents a problem and an obstacle, making it feel airy and spacious is nearly impossible.
In order to not interfere with the structure of the neighborhood, the house was built about ten feet above the ground. If the Keret House impressed with its narrowness, this space impresses with its spaciousness. It’s a complex combination of diverse elements and yet the atmosphere is very pleasant and everything feels cohesive.
The artist wanted this placed to be a combination of elements, at the limit between art and functional design. The result was a very strong and durable structure that, despite its curved and gracious lines, was designed to last. They each serve different functions and usually have independent designs but they also all follow an overall continuous design as they are part of the same space and structure. The rooms of this house were organized around a central kitchen and they each resemble a petal.



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