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Rail Cars House, Marl-Sinsen, Germany

The idea of German couple Vanessa Stallbaum and Mark Stepniak does not surprise me. If the sewer pipes can be converted into the houses or hotels, then why railway cars can’t be changed?

But why the couple chose this strange home design for their life together? For getting the answer we need to go back to the roots of their unusual love story…

Vanessa and Mark, aged 29 and 35, have lived in this house since early 2011. They were not train freaks but simply colleagues taking part at the same conference four years previously on a train. That youth club, close to Mark's home town of Herten, was set up in two old train cars. They fell in love at the conference and began to plan future together. They imagined their unusual nice-looking house and did the best to reach it. They also chose a four-day train trip from Berlin to Kazakhstan for their honeymoon.

In order to buy two new train cars for their new dream house they needed around $725,000. But fortunately they managed to find two second-hand rail cars from Switzerland just for $29,000. Built in 1974, the two railway cars were in remarkably good condition. Their transportation from Switzerland to Germany actually cost more than the cars themselves- $37,600. To overcome the financial difficulties they had to take a 16-year loan. The railway cars were transported to the construction site, in Ruhr. Local zoning laws were a problem too, as the cars couldn't be placed on neither residential nor commercial areas, but the couple finally found a mixed-use commercial neighborhood near a nature reserve, near Marl-Sinsen station, where their home could finally be situated. They hired an architect to make a house plan according to their drawings. Marco’s father, an engineer, also took his participation in restoring and converting the train cars into living space.

The unique house is H shaped in plan with the two rail cars on the sides and a big living room connecting them. It looks like two railway cars crashed into a small building. One car was transformed into a comfortable kitchen and the other- a bathroom. In fact, the loving couple overcomes all the difficulties to maintain their crazy idea that approves that the great source of a pleasure is variety!

By Lilit Khalatyan,



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