Homes reborn: 6 dramatic conversions where the past is present

From a tram shop to a soaring dairy barn

When it comes to character, nothing beats a home with history. But properties with a past usually also have a long list of demands before they’re fit to move into. Following their adaptive reuse, these six properties offer all the charm of converted industrial buildings but with the hard work already done.

The Button Factory Lofts, London, UK

The Button Factory Lofts – a former button manufacturing plant in London is now a trio of apartments
Photography: The Modern House

Located at the top of an east London warehouse conversion, this trio of flats makes the most of their soaring industrial interiors. Polished concrete floors and black corrugated steel nod to their past, while pale timber panels and fittings put a contemporary spin on it all. Step outside for an enclosed brick balcony that overlooks the Hackney neighbourhood. See more.
From £550,000 via The Modern House

The Clock apartment, New York, USA

The Clock Unit sits atop a warehouse that was formerly the offices of local newspaper the Brooklyn Eagle
Via Compass

New York loft living never really goes out of style, and it’s easy to see why in this Dumbo warehouse – once home to the offices of local newspaper the Brooklyn Eagle. The centrepiece is the huge glass clock face, which looks out and across to Manhattan, but there’s plenty more to appreciate here – including the 17-ft-high ceilings, wooden floorboards and exposed brick.
$2.3m via Compass

Barn conversion, Österlen, Sweden

A pair of dilapidated barns were converted to create this minimal four-bedroom home Tunby, Österlen
Courtesy Fastighetsbyran

A pair of dilapidated barns were converted to create this minimal four-bedroom home, which has ceilings that rise 6.8 metres high. There’s plenty of rustic features still in place – including original, weathered wooden beams – although a good coat of white paint, and poured concrete floors lends them some extra polish. The converted barn is set across two levels, with views over the surrounding hills of Tunby.
SEK 7.25m via Fastighetsbyrån.

Olive oil factory, Sorrento, Italy

Raw plaster and tactile surfaces run across this converted olive oil mill in the foothills of Sorrento, Italy
Photography: Italy Sotheby’s International Realty

The industrial past of this 17th-century building is written all over its weathered concrete walls, which frame rooms with soaring, curved ceilings. Its rugged appearance is softened by white timber floorboards, and uninterrupted views of the sea, as well as the Faito and Vesuvius mountains. The hilltop Italian property comes with three acres of land, which include olive groves and a separate tower for owners looking for an adaptive reuse challenge.
€1.2m via Sotheby’s International Realty

The Huron Substation, Los Angeles, USA

It's hard to believe now but Los Angeles was once home to one of the world's most sophisticated and expansive trolley and streetcar networks. The Huron Substation is a remnant of that time, used to house the carriages, and now a soaring home, office and events space for sale
Via Benjamin Kahle / Historic Real Estate Los Angeles

Originally built in 1908, for Los Angeles’s trolley network, Cypress Park’s Huron Substation is a genuine piece of the city’s railway history. Its collection of historic details – including ghost signage and exposed brickwork – mean it’s currently used as an events space, but there’s also a bedroom, living space and office on its mezzanine level. 12-ft-tall double doors open onto a sizeable backyard screened from the neighbours by trees and foliage. Explore this historic space.
£3.25 m via Historic Real Estate LA

Dairy Row, Suffolk, UK

Masterfully converted in the Suffolk Countryside is this former diary barn which features trussed ceilings, bricks and concrete floors
Photography: The Modern House

Rustic charm meets industrial flavour, at this barn conversion in the Suffolk countryside. Original wooden beams sit above polished concrete floors and steel stairs, while brick walls rub shoulders with marble countertops. The four-bedroom property sits in four acres of land, located around 90 minutes from London by train.
£710,000 via The Modern House

This Shanghai cafe measures just 20 sq m

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