Water-tower homes
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Like the Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback, Water-Tower homes take living to new heights

By Diane Pham

Designers and architects around the world are transforming abandoned water towers dating back to the mid 19th Century from static containers into coveted apartments, penthouses and, in one case, a secret party spot for New York’s hippest. If you own a Sonic Hatchback, you like your comfort with an edge. Want the perfect residence to go with it?

Tom Dixon’s London Home

Tom Dixon is best known for lamps and furniture, but the last few years this celebrated designer has been flexing his architectural muscles. He’s been busy transforming an 80-year-old, 5,000-gallon London water tower into a cutting-edge, three-story home complete with three bedrooms, a reception room, a kitchen, a roof deck and 360-degree views. Sound impressive? If you’d like a closer look, you can rent a room in Dixon’s tower for just $192 per night. Just remember to pack light—you’ll be climbing six flights of stairs to get to the top!

Doug Rucker’s Malibu Home

With its curving floor-to-ceiling glass walls and stark white trim, there’s something a little 007 about architect Doug Rucker’s Malibu home. Rucker purchased this former water tower in 1981 and transformed it into a modern residence with a cheeky retro-Bond aesthetic. The large, round home boasts four bedrooms and three and a half baths. In 1988, Rucker sold it for $760,000; today it’s on the market for a whopping $2.5 million.

The Cube

This 19th-Century brick water tower in South London balances the past and the present with two sleek, ultra-modern additions. Called The Cube, this home was originally a simple 99-foot-tall building topped off with a huge steel water tank reserved for a hospital and a workhouse. Couple Leigh Osbourne and Graham Voce purchased it in 2008, gutted the interior, upgraded it to host four bedrooms in its tower, built a spacious living area in a cubic expansion on the lower level and installed an elevator to make navigating to the top a snap. Nearly all the bedrooms feature spectacular panoramic views of London.

NYC’s One-Night-Only Water Tower Speakeasy

A lucky handful got to party in a sky-high New York City water tower earlier this summer. The secret soiree took place in the chic Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea in a complex currently under construction. In true speakeasy-style, invitees were each gifted a pocket watch that doubled as a ticket. Once past the doorman, guests were shuffled up a 20-foot ladder to the belly of the tower, where they were free to revel in the music of the Hungry March Band and Amanda Palmer, with libations in hand.

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Diane Pham is a senior editor at Inhabitat and a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She tweets at @dianepham.


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