This Engineer Turned a Boeing 727 Into His Everyday Home
There must be something about the architectural appeal of modern aircraft design that gets the fire burning inside creative people. This isn’t the first jet we’ve seen transformed into a home even Kevin McCloud has taken to upcycling a plane into furniture.
Bruce Campbell based in Oregon purchased a retired Boeing 727 for about US$220,000 and has subsequently installed it in a suburban wooded area outside Portland, Oregon of USA. His hobby began in 1999. He paid around $23,000 for the 10 acres on which his plane rests. His original plan was to make a home from freight vans, but then he decided a plane would be better.
He purchased the 727 after hearing about a Mississippi hairdresser who had done likewise. While restoring the plane, Campbell spent years living in a mobile home. When that became infested with mice, he moved into the aircraft, despite lacking a building permit. On board, Campbell leads a modest life. He sleeps on a futon, bathes in a makeshift shower and cooks with a microwave or toaster, eating mostly canned food and cereal. A shoe rack with numerous pairs of slippers greets visitors, and he asks that everyone wear slippers or socks to avoid tracking in dirt.
Rather than transforming into something like a modern house, Campbell is reusing much of the original equipment for his needs. After a decade Campbell’s enthusiasm for the project has not waned. He sees potential in everything — like how the wings can serve as a great deck. This is anything but prefab building though – it’s a slow and deliberate process.
The cockpit is an excellent reading room, and he left much of the original instrumentation and controls intact. He even restored some elements, and he installed a computer monitor right in the middle of the instrument panel. He also got one of the original bathrooms back online, but only has a temporary shower for now.
At 1,066 interior square feet, the space is cozy but not cramped by any means – when it’s setup as a large studio it feels plenty big. The coolest trick may be the transparent floor. The original was torn out and replaced with translucent panels, allowing visitors to see the super structure’s ribs and controlling cables running from the cockpit to the wings and tail. Campbell also has plenty of storage in the cargo hold. While the wings make a great deck, he has a couple of big covered areas below them as well. He even uses the original water tank and plumbing to serve amenities like his clothes washer. The trick is to make the space habitable but maintain the feel of its original design’s purpose – to be 35,000 feet above the trees.
The plane is now a comfortable home with electricity, a living area, a shower and a kitchen. Campbell lives in this plane 6 months every year, and then spends the second half in Japan, where surprise! surprise! he is looking to buy and similarly re-use another retired Boeing 747.