A dwelling need not have four walls and a roof to be a home. Even if it’s a castle, boat, or tree house, a home is more than just a convenient place to lay your head at night.

The histories of our homes, and the things they contain, tell stories of who came before us and where we’ve been ourselves. No matter where we may be, having our own spaces filled with those meaningful memories and details is what keeps us firmly rooted to the present.


Just as we retain some of our ancestors’ traits (hair color, bum knees, an inexplicable love for pickled herring), homes can retain their history through generations of changing inhabitants. Molding our spaces to reflect our personalities is one of the most tangible ways to leave a legacy.


Some of our favorite Airbnb listings are spaces where hosts have taken a building with its own unique history and design, and through preservation, hard work and a bit of creativity, turned them into incredible new environments to call home.

Upon first glance, you’d almost confuse it for an extremely tiny castle, but this romantic getaway in Umbria, Italy, was until recently a long-abandoned horse stable.


A turn-of-the-century firehouse in Hoboken, New Jersey, turned into a memorable space for a growing family. (Bonus trivia: Frank Sinatra’s father was once captain of the station.)


This Berlin water tower was built in 1877, and serves as the official symbol for the Prenzlauer Berg area of the city.


Even those who are unable to craft their living spaces from scratch leave their own impression for future home dwellers by marking children’s heights on a door frame, etching a sweetheart’s initials in wet sidewalk concrete, or planting a seed that will someday turn into a backyard oak tree (and ultimate tire-swing vessel.)

One host in Brooklyn took pieces from his own past to personalize his flat, including bookshelves built with reclaimed wood from a neighborhood project and 120-year-old wainscoting nabbed from the roof of a New Jersey chicken coop.


This tiny 80-square foot cottage in a Portland, Oregon, backyard was renovated using reclaimed doors and windows from a local abandoned lighthouse.


The walls (and floors, and ceilings) of all these homes shout stories. What stories would your home tell?