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Really Extreme Makeover

It’s one thing to renovate a house. It’s quite another to turn a cave — or a water tower or a church — into a home. Lars Tunbjork traveled from England to Canada and the United States to Germany to meet these eccentric residents who made their living spaces into exceptional houses.

In Kyloe in English Northumberland, a family transformed an 18th-century church. After the space’s desacralization, they now shower in the sacristy and sun-bathe in the old grave yard.

The Sleepers bought the Missourian cave in which they live today on eBay, while the Reuss family reside in a house built from recycled materials from Boston’s Big Dig.

In Germany, a water tower dating from the early 20th century once destined to be demolished now contains two apartments for young professionals, a real estate agency, and a communications company.

Tunbjork’s visits ended at a Canadian house completely designed out of former shipping containers.

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