This Is The Home He Grew Up In
We can only imagine what was it like to live in the 1920s. The 1920s was known as the ‘Roaring Twenties.’ The First World War ended in victory, peace had returned, and with it, prosperity.
By the mid-1920s, the post-war period of prosperity was well and truly over, and that’s when John Collingwood’s parents purchased their house, back in 1925 when it was the only house on the street…
Growing up during the depression meant having to ration bread and stand in a soup line, it may seem silly for us to see our Grandma hoarding canned goods or badgering with the manager at a grocery store.
Anyone who has grandparents that lived through the Great Depression probably has a story or two about extreme frugality. Well, this is probably what John Collingwood’s childhood was like, as poverty was at an all-time high with more people losing their jobs every day.
The Great Depression
During the great depression, businesses closed, and banks were going bankrupt, which meant people who were thrifty and wise with their money lost the savings they had put in the bank they trusted.
That generation was on a strict rationing system, and couldn’t afford to throw extra food or resources away. John was born at his home in Nottinghamshire, England, in 1934. Some of us might remember Nottingham as the city from the legend of Robin Hood…
Exactly As It Was
In the days that John’s family moved in, back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the economy was struck by the great depression and many people had to save as much as they could just to get by.
However, the second half of the 1930s was a period of quiet economic recovery. John’s parents passed away 50 years ago, and since then he’s been living in the same house — and has left everything exactly as it was when his parents and brother lived there.
“I didn’t want to change anything after they died. I just find it funny how people are always buying new things.” Mr. Collingwood worked in a textile factory for over 40 years and dismisses the idea of renovating his house with what most would see as necessary modern conveniences.
Hi-tech gadgets and kitchen appliances are so central to our lives that many wonder how people managed without them. John shows us that his minimalist lifestyle is completely achievable.
The Simple Life
He grew up during difficult times. First, the great depression, and then the second world war. They were just a typical family of four living in the suburbs. John, his brother, and his parents did what they could.
His home and earthly possessions are all that he has left of them. John Collingwood has managed to lead a consistently simple life. His lifestyle is the same on Friday evening as it is on Sunday morning.
He hasn’t succumbed to buying new devices or gadgets as his appliances and furniture are all still reliable, so they don’t need to be replaced.
Despite living in a world where he has an array of options when it comes to purchasing, John Collingwood has chosen to keep what he has instead. After showing his retro home to the public, the retired textile worker became known for living inside his “time warp of treasured family belongings.”
A Portal Into The Past
Mr. Collingwood has seen others come and go from the town of his childhood but says he will stay there for the rest of his life. His home is truly rare. While most people look forward to renovating and keeping up with the current trends, Mr. Collingwood has remained devoted to the home and memory of his childhood.
Walking into John’s home is like a portal to the past. He still has his parents’ wind-up gramophone and radio from 1950, which he prefers to modern media.
He also has the exact same refrigerator, along with the user manual and gas food cooker from when he was a kid, and his mother’s gas cooker has served him well for about 65 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, only wealthy people could afford electric light. Other people used gas.
“I wanted to keep everything exactly as it is and how my parents and brother left it,” he said. The kitchen is a true remnant from the past, which is impeccably preserved. It’s his little piece of the past.
The thrifty former textile worker is now retired and looks back on his idyllic family life in his home. All the items he has are now considered antiques or vintage, but for him, they are much more.
‘Vintage’ appliances and furniture became something of a trend some years ago. From the clock to the antique hoover, these items are hard to find nowadays, and if they are not inherited, they can be found only at expensive antique stores.
Older Than Him
Even though he lived through World War II, Mr. Collingwood also said: “I never got to serve in the forces because I didn’t pass the medical, but my brother went away for three years, as for me I’ve always lived here in this house.”
They also had an air-raid shelter in the garden where he and his family hid during World War II bombings. He takes pride in the fact that the bathroom and toilet in his house are far older than him! And at 79 years – he feels no need to change or replace them.
He doesn’t need to expand further for us to understand that his connection to his home is more than material. The way he cares for and looks after his home shows us how much he loves and misses his parents.
“I like the fact that my house is getting old to me.” Mr. Collingwood has said. His entire house, to be exact – as it has been left untouched and meticulously maintained by its elderly owners over several decades.
Protecting Its Value
As Mr. Collingwood knows, taking routine care of his home is the most important move you can make to protect its value.
When a house is well kept and in good repair, it is unlikely to develop the problems that will turn it into an unhealthy situation. His intentions are not to maintain its value for profit but to preserve the memory of the home he lived in growing up to honor his parents.
A Rare Place
His home and all that it contains is together quite the anomaly; it’s not every day that we see a house so well preserved and maintained. John has received many offers to buy some of his priceless antique items, but he refuses to sell anything.
Despite the generous offers, the belongings in his house are priceless and no amount of money could replace them. The whole point of it is to keep it as similar as it was to the days he remembers when his family was with him.
We do live in a world of high volume and low-quality cheap items, so the search for something better may lead us to more vintage items. This make the antiques in his house worth quite a lot by now, as often the age, rarity, condition, or utility, make a piece of furniture desirable as a collectors’ item, and thus termed an antique.
The antique furniture pieces reflect the style and features of the time they were made; this can be called the antique’s “period.”
They Belong In This House
Kohn said, “An antique expert came to the house and said my furniture was very valuable and tried to persuade me to sell it. But I couldn’t sell them, because if I sold my drawers or my wardrobe, where would I put my stuff I keep in them?
They belong with me in this house storing all of our belongings.'” Mr. Collingwood even preserves the air-raid shelter in the back garden.
A Shelter From The War
Just before the war began, people bought Anderson shelters, but they were given for free to poor people. These shelters were made of sections of corrugated iron and formed a semi-circular shape.
Their shelter rests at the edge of the garden, in a hole at least 3 feet deep with earth dug from the hole to cover it. His mother repurposed it into a laundry room when the war was over, and Mr. Collingwood still uses it to this day.
Carefully Keeping The House
Mr. Collingwood likes to keep the house his parents left him in top condition. Over the years Mr. Collingwood has seen his neighbors grow up around him – and all have moved away – but he would never think of leaving the street he loves.
Most people look forward to one day moving away and finding their own place, where they can start a life of their own, but not Mr. Collingwood; he plans to stay.
His Whole Life
“There are people who live on this street that are older than me, but no one has lived here as long as I have,” he said in an interview.
“I would never move somewhere else; it has never even occurred to me; I will be here for the rest of my life.” Many people are so impressed with how diligent he has been with sustaining the house, especially at 79. He shows no sign of changing his mind.
Being built in the 1920s, the architecture and furniture were Art Deco at that time, and they make use of geometric shapes instead of the flowing lines of the earlier Art Nouveau. Art Deco was certainly one of the most influential decorative styles in the first half of the twentieth century.
Furniture featured sleek surfaces and curving lines and veneers of mahogany and Macassar ebony. Designers also used bold contrasting colors like gold, black, and silver and incorporated modern materials like glass and chrome.
As Long As He’s Comfortable
Mr. Collingwood still makes himself a brew on the gas stove just like his mother used to and still plays the piano he has had since he was a teenager.
He has splurged a bit and bought himself an item that doesn’t fit in with the current style of his home, but that’s because it only came out after the 1950s. Yes, it’s a television, and he occasionally enjoys watching tennis and perhaps a good film.
“They don’t make stuff the way they used to,” he says, which is what people say about the quality of items produced today, and it may be true.
The condition of Mr. Collingwood’s home and its interior still appears to be just like it might have been 80 years ago. Not only the furniture and appliances but also the pots, pans, rugs, and curtains. The quality, including materials, embellishments, and craftsmanship in older pieces makes them last longer.
Although there are exceptional modern pieces, there is also something to be said for the love of nostalgia and sentiment, which is what Mr. Collingwood’s home may represent for him. The vintage pieces have become the embodiment of a bygone era and the memories he treasures of his family.
“There are too many pleasant memories within these walls,” he fondly recalls. The 79-year-old pensioner admitted that he has had central heating installed “but I’m not very happy about it.”
Woman Transforms Bus Into Luxury Mobile Home
When a young lady got sick of her career in the world of finance, she decided to do something radical. One day, while browsing online, she stumbled across something that would change her life forever. However, she never imagined it being a bus.
Jessie Lipskin, 30, decided to leave her New York City apartment and build her own home. After buying a Greyhound bus, she spent three tireless years transforming it into something that wasn’t just luxurious, but so much more…
This amazing story began back in 2015 when Jessie Lipskin was interested in packing up everything and downsizing. One day, when she was browsing on eBay, she stumbled across a 1966 GMC Commuter Greyhound bus. “RVs lacked the aesthetic I was going for, so I landed on a vintage bus conversion,” she said. Feeling lucky and opportunistic, Jessie ended up being the winning bidder, buying the bus for just $7,000. Despite being so excited about her radical purchase, she didn’t even have a driver’s license at the time.
No Ordinary Woman
What you’ll learn from this incredible story is that Jessie Lipskin isn’t any ordinary woman. Unlike other people who have given buses extreme makeovers in recent times, Jessie has a profound reason for her life-changing decision. As a vegan, Jessie pursued a more eco-friendly lifestyle and did extensive research on sustainable living. “I was working long hours in finance at the time and I felt like there was something else out there,” she said. Jessie is also a huge bookworm.
Jessie’s first exposure to sustainable living came after watching Garbage Warrior. The documentary focuses on architect Michael Reynolds, who takes recycled materials and builds “Earthships” out of them. “[It] really resonated with me,” Jessie said. “I began to consume everything I could read, more about sustainable lifestyles. Ultimately, a home on wheels seemed like a perfect solution: I could easily explore new places (finding a permanent place to settle, in the short term, was not a priority for me).”
For Jessie, it wasn’t as if she simply decided to live in a bus overnight. It was a gradual transition from her NYC lifestyle to a life of condensing and only holding onto the things that truly matter. “People waste a lot of time focusing on physical items: purchasing them, misplacing them, and subsequently looking for them. Most of these items, from my standpoint, felt superfluous to a meaningful life,” she said. “I relocated seven times, and by the end, just about everything I owned fit in my SUV.”
Having lived in Manhattan for most of her life, Jessie didn’t just want a simpler life, she wanted to see the world. In her mind, if she had a portable home, then she could be at home and visit new places at the same time. Over the past three years, Jessie has moved on seven separate occasions, allowing her to see a little bit more of the world, while also transforming the bus in a variety of different locations.
With compelling reasons behind her decision and an adventurous investment, Jessie was excited upon seeing her 1966 GMC bus for the very first time. Sure, it didn’t look like much. It was simply a bus that had transported millions of people over the years. In fact, it was an identical model to the bus that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock drove in the ’90s blockbuster Speed. However, Jessie had a clear vision of exactly how she wanted the mobile home to look, both inside and out…
With the bus sold to her exactly how it was advertised on eBay, Jessie knew exactly what she was signing up for. She knew that there weren’t any neat features that she could utilize. The bus had been stripped down to its bones, with just a handful of seats remaining. Without haste, Jessie and her team stripped them away too. She wanted a completely empty vessel, which would help her begin its transformation from an old bus into her luxury, eco-friendly home…
Lots Of Work To Do
As time went on, it was becoming clearer and clearer that Jessie had a lot to learn. “The big challenge was that it was very different from working on a home that’s fixed in one location,” she said. “I constantly had to account for movement, on top of that the angles of the bus and slanted style windows made it challenging to design the best possible layout and curved woodworking.” As a result of this, Jessie knew she’d need some help…
A Little Help From My Friends
As she was constantly on the move during the reconstruction of the bus, Jessie was able to meet a number of helpful people along the way. However, it wasn’t easy finding the right people. “I love DIY, however, I don’t have experience with plumbing, electrical, carpentry needed for this project,” she said. Nevertheless, she managed to get help from a number of friends and contractors. Now that she had a support network, Jessie was able to begin the transformation.
Although Jessie got a lot of help from friends and local professionals, there was one group of people who were not so excited about her radical life decision – her family. “My mom thought I was crazy. She would tell all the people in her apartment building, ‘My daughter is buying a bus to live in,'” she said. “People thought it was a big undertaking but they thought if anyone could do it, it would be me.” Nevertheless, she would eventually earn her family’s support.
Everything Needed To Be Perfect
Although she had the right people around her to put everything together, Jessie knew that ultimately, it was her vision. It was on her if the bus conversion didn’t work out. Therefore, she needed to make sure that everything was meticulous. “One of the hardest challenges was building walls and storage and closets in,” she said. “If the angle isn’t exactly the same every time you park [the bus], you might have an issue with opening a door or something like that.”
Once the scaffolding was done and the main framework of the new home was complete, Jessie and her team could move onto basic furnishings. She hired local carpenter Mike Slater, who made the customized woodwork for her place. She was so pleased with his contribution to the bus, she described it as “amazing carpentry” on an Instagram post. By the time that Slater was done, all the closets, boardings, and kitchen countertops were in place and ready to be used.
Honoring The Bus
As you can see, Jessie was respectful enough to make sure that she wasn’t simply ignoring the fact that the home she was creating was once a bus. After keeping the license plate, as well as the plate that contained the details of who it was constructed by, to begin with, Jessie thought it was only fitting to display these plates inside her home. That way, she was honoring what had come before, as well as all the people responsible for giving her this bus.
Transformation – Done!
Fast forward three years and after so much blood, sweat, and tears, Jessie was able to proudly look at her new home. While the young lady spent over $70,000 to complete the conversion, this might sound like a shocking figure. However, when you consider how much a standard apartment in Manhattan costs, it is clear that Jessie actually saved a lot of money in the process. Upon completion, Jessie was excited to finally share her masterpiece with the world…
Let’s Start Outside
While the interior would ultimately determine whether or not the bus transformation was a success or failure, the way that the exterior looked also mattered a lot to Jessie. The shape stayed the same, but Jessie had the bus completely painted over from head to toe. While it was already mainly white with a red, white, and blue stripe pattern running through its center, Jessie thought it would look cleaner if the home received an all-white paint job.
Funnily enough, one of the aspects of the bus conversion that Jessie was not so happy about was how big the interior of the new home felt to her. With the intention of downsizing, in many ways, this portable home felt even bigger than her apartment in Manhattan. “When I walk in, it feels huge,” she said. “It feels even bigger than my New York City apartment.” Consequentially, Jessie made the most of all the space she had…
Feels Like Home
Although Jessie has a complicated relationship with both her family and where she came from, she made a concerted effort to make sure that her new home reflected her personality, as well as her roots. For example, the young lady decorated the home with a number of family heirlooms, such as photos of her ancestors. Also, Jessie regularly uses precious china plates that her great-grandmother once used in her home on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, New York.
Not only does the kitchen look like something out of a high-end brochure, but it also utilizes the environment pretty well too. It is equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a modern apartment, including wooden countertops, an oven, stove, and a large sink. It also has tons of storage. There is even an energy efficient washing machine and a dryer in the kitchen area. Like a number of other parts of the home, the kitchen window boasts stunning views of Jessie’s surroundings.
It wasn’t just the communal areas that were given the luxury feel. Adjacent to the kitchen, the bathroom still had plenty of room to navigate in. “The bathroom has mahogany wood slotted flooring that drains for drying off post-shower,” Jessie said. “The shower drain connects to the floor drain and they both lead to the gray water tank which is mounted under the bus.” But probably the most fascinating aspect of the bus conversion could be found in Jessie’s bedroom…
Room With A View
Not only is the bedroom beautifully designed, but it also has an open window, providing Jessie with beautiful views. “I love not having a TV. I had the option to have a TV, but I really like waking up in the morning and hearing the birds outside my window,” she said. So if Jessie was so adamant that she didn’t want a TV, how exactly was she going to spend her free time in her new home?
Time To Hit The Books
After dedicating three years of her life to this radical transformation, Jessie now has “a little ‘library along the back of the bedroom,” with the long list of books she wants to catch up on. “I feel like I’ve been so busy these past few years that I haven’t read as much as I’d like. I have the time now to do that,” she said. “It’s nice to just cozy up in bed and just read a book.”
Enough Storage Space?
While Jessie has admitted that she could’ve done with some more storage space in the bus home, the limited amount has certainly made her more space efficient. “This is just one portion of the closet, it extends to the left and right a decent amount,” she said. “I’ve always been very organized and tidy and kind of tried to get rid of whatever I don’t need.” Despite these little nitpicks, Jessie has certainly taken more positives from the transformation than negatives.
You can take Jessie out of New York City, but you definitely can’t take New York City out of Jessie. As a New Yorker, through and through, the young lady went out of her way to make sure that there would be room in the bus for potential guests. At the front of it, there is an extra sleeping space, in case any friends or family choose to crash for the weekend. There have been recent developments regarding Jessie’s newly transformed home…
She’s Also Tech Savvy
Make no mistake about it – Jessie wasn’t only interested in creating a beautiful home. She was excited to put her mind to the test and create amenities on the bus that have a bit of technological panache to them. Take the steps at her home entrance for example. When you open the door and press the electric button on the side, steps will open out so that you can enter and exit the bus. Press the button again for them to close.
If you compare how the interior of the bus looked when Jessie bought it a few years ago, compared to what it looks like now, it is completely like night and day. It was once a typical bus interior, which one could imagine hosted thousands upon thousands of schoolkids, amongst its many other passengers. However, those days are long gone, and what is left is the interior of a home that many would be happy calling their own. Jessie sure is.
To Sell Or Not To Sell?
In a sharp turn of events, Jessie ended up putting the bus-turned-home up for sale on Craigslist, for a whopping $149,000. The post is no longer online and as of October 2018, it appears that Jessie is still living in what is still a relatively new home. However, it appears that she will eventually move onto something else and admits that she has taken more from the entire experience than from the actual bus. “I’m giving it up,” she said. “But I’m gaining through the experience of having had it.”
It Is Now On Airbnb
Once again, Jessie’s bus has relocated and is now in the hands of Airbnb. For just over $100 per night, you can enjoy all the amenities that the bus-turned-mobile-home has to offer. However, probably the most amazing part of the experience is that the bus is nestled in the heart of Joshua Tree, a truly idyllic desert landscape. Jessie might not have been able to sell her bus for the right price, but Airbnb is a useful alternative and she has already had many guests.
Sharing Her Story With The World
While Jessie’s remarkable story has already traveled far and wide, capturing the imaginations of many other aspiring home renovators, there is another place where you can see her story from start to finish – her Instagram account. On “the bus tiny home,” you will be able to see the entire process Jessie underwent over the last few years. Scroll to the bottom of the account and you’ll see the early stages of the transformation, all the way up to its end results.
Our world moves at a frantic pace. We are too stressed, too rushed, and too overworked. Rushing from one activity to the next, we remain in constant connection with others through our cell phones, but sometimes we want to slow down and feel more in control of time. It would seem that living a more simple life is impossible. But there is someone who has managed to keep his life as simple over the years. John Collingwood is still living in the same house he was born in 79 years later – and has barely parted with any of his parents’ old things.