Converting warehouses, churches and barns is already obsolete. What the adventurous home buyer wants now is a water tower. Such one example you can find in UK, near Guildford. In 1989, British architect Elspeth Beard bought the water tower for £121,000 (a bit less than $200,000) at auction and change the purpose of the whole six-level structure. She moved in during the early 1990s and after seven years working on it has lived there ever since. There are now 88 steps to the kitchen, 116 to the living room and 142 steps to the roof.
This brick tower with 64 windows was erected in 1898 to supply water to the surrounding houses in Munstead and neighboring villages, and it remained in use for approximately 70 years. The tower had been out of use for nearly twenty years by the time that it was bought by Beard.
The refurbished and re-designed tower now consists of six floors with a reception room on the ground floor, and one bedroom on each of the first, second and third floors. One large room occupies each floor, varying from 25-30 feet across with suspended hanging bathrooms in the bedroom levels and a gallery within the living room. Internally, new steel stairs and floors were constructed using the original main floor levels. This involved fixing new steel beams at each level to support the new stairs and existing beams.
The kitchen is situated on the fourth floor and the living room lies above it in the space that was originally occupied by the water tank. The walls of the tank were removed but the base remains to provide a unique curved steel riveted ceiling to the kitchen on the fourth floor.
The existing valve and float mechanism originally inside the tank was also kept and now stands within the living room. To overcome the problems with the ‘Means of Escape’ regulations the building is fitted with a fire alarm system linked to smoke detectors on each level and there are magnetic door holders fixed to the main doors of each room. The stair provides a one hour fire-rated enclosure with separate emergency lighting.