Tours
Couple creates a magical little home from 2 vintage streetcars
I never would have guessed a couple of streetcars could be transformed into such a fabulous home!
D.G. Sciortino
06.01.22

Mary and Gerhard Ringel’s Santa Cruz, California home is one of the most adorable homes you’ve ever seen.

Not just because it’s gorgeously painted yellow with accents of turquoise, teal, periwinkle, and magenta.

But also because the home is constructed from two decommissioned streetcars that were replaced by buses in 1926.

From the street, you can’t really tell the 750 sq. ft. house is made from two side-by-side streetcars from the 1900s. A standard roof covers the top of the two cars.

The attic is built on top of the roofs of the streetcars. But once you walk from the porch and scrunch down to get through the short front door, you’ll find the living room with its curved roof and original iron brackets.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

The room is also lined with transom-style windows making it obvious that you’re inside a vintage streetcar.

The cars are connected by a 3.5-ft. space with one car being 25 ft. long and the other 30 ft. long.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

The first streetcar is used in the dining room and living room, while the second car houses the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen.

That car also has an addition which gives the bedroom an extra 8 ft. to work with.

Mary, a massage therapist, and Gerhard, an engineer/ builder/handyman, decided to downsize to their streetcar home they bought from a 2,500 sq. ft. home.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

“First, we thought we’d never move in a house like this. No way, it’s crazy but you know it’s fun. It feels like you’re kind of a hobbit,” Mary told Houzz.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

They decided to paint their house beautifully stunning colors to keep in line with the hip and fun beach neighborhood vibe.

Local artist and painter Gregory LeBaron of Transformational Color chose the bright colors you see for the exterior with a similarly bright color palette inside.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

“It was very strange because there are low ceilings. I almost hit my head on the ceiling and it was pretty run down,” says Gerhard.

The couple had to replace the plastic acrylic ceilings on the home, as well as raise the roof.

They also removed tile, put in hardwood flooring, and restored the original clawfoot tub.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

“We wanted it to be more thoughtful and better designed but still retain that magical feeling,” Gerhard says.

Around the back of the house, you’ll find cob structures and a treehouse in a 200-year-old oak tree.

“The property has a lot of charm and magic that we just love,” Mary says.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

According to iProperty Management, the median size of a single-family house in the U.S. is 2,301 sq. ft., while a tiny home is considered to be a house that is between 400 and 1,000 sq. ft. and about 8 ft. high.

Tiny homes cost about one-fifth the cost of a traditional home at $59,884 to $23,000, though one couple reported building a 192 sq. ft. home for less than $8,000.

YouTube - HouzzTV
Source:
YouTube - HouzzTV

Tiny homes also use about 7% less energy than a traditional house. About 15.5 % of these homes are in California, just like the Ringels’ house.

Press play below to see a tour of the couple’s magical and unique home!

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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