8 Craziest Home Renovations
1. The man who destroyed his house to build a massive indoor aquarium
We all love fish, right? Well, maybe not as much as Martin Lakin, who almost destroyed his house to install a 5,000-liter aquarium right in the middle of it.
An architect warned him the bizarre renovation would make his whole house collapse. He went ahead with it anyway and tore the house in Rochester, Kent, apart, as his bemused wife Kay and son James looked on. Apparently the tank was so huge they could even swim in it before the fish arrived.
The tank cost around £50,000 ($75,000), but with the half ton of live coral, complex machinery (including an automated sunroof), pumps and computers that run the aquarium 24 hours a day, Martin reckons the total cost is around £150,000 ($230,000). Now that it is complete, it’s home to more than 120 fish.
2. The couple who transformed their home into an airplane
Lovebirds Steve and Vicky Everson took their marriage to new heights after spending £40,000 ($60,000) to turn their modest home into a plane. The pair transformed the two-up two-down terraced house in Bacup, Lancs into a replica of a Boeing 737.
The aviation project started in 2009 after they created a flight simulator in the spare room of their previous home in Milton Keynes. After moving north, they put it back together again. It was so big it stretched from one side of the house to the other.
The couple, who even tied the knot in a Concorde four years earlier, regularly take up to 12 passengers in their “airplane,” on simulated “flights” to New York and Hong Kong. Broadcast engineer Steve, 42, said: “Everyone thinks we’re a bit eccentric, but you have to do what makes you happy.”
3. The neighbors who built a pub between their houses
Two neighboring couples have given a whole new meaning to the term “local pub.” Kelvin and Samantha Mayes joined forces with Robert and Helen Sheldon to construct a mini pub between their houses for just £80 (around $110).
The Outback Pub was named as such because it’s “out the back”—and now the quaffing comrades don’t have to leave the enclave of their homes for a social drink. The foursome from Willenhall, West Mids built a shed-like enclosure and filled it with seating, tables, glassware, pub paraphernalia, and a blackboard sign was saying, “We never close.”
They used mostly recycled items, which they mainly procured from eBay, including a disco ball. The most expensive item was the £40 roof. Bus seats have doubled up as banquettes, and the bar is an old work surface. The couples aren’t just DIY-savvy, they also brew their own drinks to enjoy at this unique locale.
4. The couple who converted a church (yes, with its own cemetery) into their home
A nondescript exterior and a yard dominated by headstones give no indication of the residential nature of this historic church in Kyloe, Northumberland. A couple decided to buy and readapt the structure, investing nearly three times the purchase price into renovations over the course of several years.
The exterior remains mostly untouched, save for skylights running the length of the roof. Inside, the owners took a similar approach. Restoration is more prevalent than renovation, with original stained glass windows throughout, and repurposed church fixtures abound. Much of the original seating was refinished and placed throughout the home, and unused wood and building materials were fashioned into a dramatic staircase leading from the main living space to an upper-level library.
The choice to live in a church is an unorthodox one, but this home’s owners managed to salvage a structure that might have otherwise been doomed to deterioration and abandonment.
5. The man who turned his house into a feline fantasy
A man with 18 cats decided to turn his home into a feline paradise, adding in colorful ramps, walkways and tunnels for the animals to play on.
The unidentified cat lover, whose house is located in Goleta, California, spent a whopping $35,000 on the renovation, which included the addition of a spiral walkway, tiny stairs leading to various kitty ledges and climbing poles that double as scratching posts.
More importantly, he also installed a new ventilation system to ensure that the air is regulated—a necessity for a home housing so many animals.
Despite all the cat accouterments, the house looks surprisingly normal from the outside; a pretty stone patio decorates the lush backyard, which is surrounded by palm trees.
6. The couple who is taking decorating cues from The Simpsons
A fridge full of Duff beer would make Joel Hamilton and Marcia Andreychuk’s kitchen even more “eeeeexcellent.” But for now, the Calgary couple are fine with transforming it into a replica of the one from the Simpsons, complete with orange and purple cupboards, lime green appliances, and carrot adorned curtains.
Hamilton, 35, is a lifelong fan of the show that’s spanned 26 seasons and is part of the pop culture lexicon. A framed picture of the cartoon kitchen hangs on the wall as their inspiration, and the couple figures their real-life tribute is about 80% complete. The cost so far? About $2,300 estimates Andreychuk, 43, who noted the checkered floor made up the bulk of the price tag.
Andreychuk sewed the carrot curtains herself. The countertops, appliances, and cupboards have been touched up with colorful contact paper. Andreychuk said they weren’t planning to extend the tribute to the living room and bedrooms.
7. The couple obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie TV series who transformed their semi-detached home into a log cabin
A couple obsessed with TV series Little House on the Prairie have transformed the living room of their semi-detached home into a log cabin to look like the set from the show.
Peter Szwajgier, 40, and his fiancée Alicja Druzkowska, 38, gave their 1930s home in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, a rustic makeover for a taste of the wild frontier. The couple spent £1,200 on 60 wooden logs that were cut to size and nailed onto the walls of the living room of their £110,000 three-bedroom property.
Szwajgier said he and Druzkowska were inspired to change their home after getting hooked on episodes of the 1970s hit series Little House on the Prairie. Little House was a U.S. drama about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s.
8. The couple who transformed former railway carriages into three holiday homes
It’s a first class idea that is also an original alternative to other accommodations out there. The Old Station in Allerston, North Yorkshire used to be a working railway station, but it has been converted into a family home and guest houses. The idea has proved to be a hit with visitors, and the houses evoke romantic images of the great age of steam trains as seen in Brief Encounter and The Orient Express. The homes are owned by Carol and Mark Benson. Mark, 55, who still has a day job as a surveyor for Network Rail, made the railway station their home.