Firefly FarmBedminster, New Jersey

Luxury living: One-of-a-kind conversions

From a monastery in Italy to a Martello Tower in Ireland, 5 unique properties that have been repurposed for 21st-century living — all from Christie’s International Real Estate

This heritage property has a unique history and an incredible location — overlooking Table Mountain on South Africa’s Western Cape. Originally constructed as a brewery in 1851, the building was converted into a grand mansion by architect Robert Gwelo Goodman (1871-1939). The grandeur extends across three floors and 11,400 interior square feet. Dramatic Art Deco windows frame breathtaking views of the mountain and the gardens graced with citrus trees, a swimming pool, and an artist’s studio.

Dating from the 12th century, this former monastery is surrounded by idyllic Umbrian countryside. It comprises the original ecclesiastical buildings — the monastery, which has been converted into a luxurious nine-bedroom home, and a Romanesque chapel — as well as a three-bedroom cottage. Other luxurious 21st-century additions, such as the eco-friendly pool and alfresco entertaining terraces, converge seamlessly with the medieval architecture.

  • 3
  • La Torreta
    Aguas de Busot, Alicante, Spain

Built in 1860, this former hospital near the city of Alicante is today a magnificent country estate. Set within a quiet valley on 66 acres of private grounds, it is composed of several structures built around an indoor courtyard. The main living quarters have been partially restored while sensitively preserving the original architecture. Adding to the allure is a prized location, near San Juan beach and the Sierra de Cabeço d’Or mineral springs, and within 15 minutes of Alicante international airport.

Located in the village of Dalkey overlooking Dublin Bay, this circa-1804 landmark and designated Irish National Monument has been reimagined as a luxury one-bedroom residence. Bartra Martello Tower is one of 28 fortified defense towers that were built along the Dublin coastline during the Napoleonic Wars. In addition to the original garrison room, now an elegant living area, there is a second-floor bedroom suite, roof deck, walled garden, and planning permission for a contemporary 1,076-square-foot extension.

Situated on 6.6 acres of protected woodland in the heart of Somerset County, New Jersey, this circa-1850 Pennsylvania barn underwent a comprehensive redesign in 2000, resulting in a home that interweaves colonial barn architecture with exquisite modern amenities. Period details include beamed ceilings, geometric trusses, and wide-plank pine floors. Oversized windows and French doors, a country kitchen, banquet-sized dining room, master suite, and outdoor swimming pool are among the luxurious updates.