All aboard: the Guildford house that used to be a train

Photo: Waller Realty

Photo: Waller Realty

Set among the leafy hills just outside Guildford in central Victoria is a house with a curious history – the seemingly conventional facade hides a converted 1920s train carriage.

“When I tell people I live on a train, they have certain ideas of what it will look like, but when they come to see it, they’re gobsmacked,” says owner Steve.

Imbued with a strong sense of charm, the former Sandringham line carriage has been transformed into a secluded sanctuary. The train carriage is positioned on a block of land Steve found while digging for antique bottles in the gully on a summer’s night four decades ago.

Photo: Waller Realty

Photo: Waller Realty

After originally planning to build a home on the land, Steve decided to buy the carriage from Spotswood railway yard about 32 years ago. Getting it home was pretty straightforward, but he found out that turning into a home wasn’t as easy, as the local council had actually stopped incorporating trains into houses years ago.

“Guildford was very quiet at the time, so I didn’t think anyone would notice,” Steve, who didn’t want his surname published, says.

Fortunately, luck was on his side. An acquaintance drew up some plans for the renovation and the council eventually approved them. The former empty block is now a “homely and interesting” property, that Steve made his permanent home about 30 years ago.

Photo: Waller Realty

Photo: Waller Realty

The transformation began when Steve removed the seats, racks and benches and sold them to recoup the transportation costs. But it was his partner of 27 years, Lorraine, whom he credits with turning the carriage into a home. Her first decorative decision was to paint the red exterior green.

Since then, the property has grown to include three bedrooms, a lounge room, central kitchen, a stand-alone bathroom, workshop as well as a double carport. There’s a verandah and a pool perfect for summer dips in between long glances out at the lush landscape that surrounds the homestead.

Sold unfurnished, you get to decide whether to maintain the cool, kitsch vibes or transform the space into a modern masterpiece – it will be your blank canvas.

“We had an electrician do all the wiring, and the plumbers have plumbed the stove in. There’s hot water in the kitchen sink, plumbing in the bathroom, and the toilet and septic tank have all been done professionally.”

Photo: Waller Realty

Photo: Waller Realty

His carriage-conversion idea spurred other locals to follow suit. “There are another two people in [nearby] Glenluce who also have train carriages because of this one being here,” he says.

Steve says he is going to miss the views and the quiet isolation when he leaves.

“It’s not a house, it’s a lifestyle,” he says. “I love the place.”

This article originally appeared on domain.com.au

 

 

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