Unique houses are certainly increasing in popularity – just look at the rise in homes converted from buses, tiny homes, and shipping containers. Each of these options allow for a lower cost and completely customizable alternative to traditional accommodations. Jo Ann Ussery, however, created her own special home years before it was trendy. She purchased an old airplane, a Boeing 727, and upcycled it into a home full of luxurious features.
A unique home
Ussery’s story began in 1993 when her home in Benoit, Mississippi was destroyed. She and her two children needed somewhere to live and had very little to their names, partially due to the recent passing of her husband. Initially, she thought that moving into a trailer would be the answer to her problems, but she couldn’t afford any homes that were large enough for three people. Enter Bob, Ussery’s air traffic controller brother-in-law, who suggested she try living in a plane.
Ussery was open to the idea and went to tour a Boeing 727 that had just been retired and was destined for the scrap yard. Instantly loving it, she was able to purchase it for only $2,000 plus the cost of shipping it to her property. Ussery decided to nickname her plane “Little Trump,” as Donald Trump also owned a private Boeing 727. She soon began her renovations, which were by no means easy or cheap.
In total, she spent under $30,000 on the renovation (which would be $60,000 today). Not only did she need to work on the interior, but she also needed to ensure it wouldn’t move from its location.
Ussery utilized the natural lake on her property as a decorative feature of its own, situating the plane so that the nose hung out over it. This required that the tail be extremely well anchored with concrete. Then she moved on to gut the interior, which offered over 1,500 square feet of living space.
The plane is 138 feet long, with 76 windows running along the side. As with any commercial aircraft these windows didn’t open, but that wasn’t a problem as Ussery had air conditioning installed. She also added proper insulation and flooring. Which parts of the original 727 stayed? One single airplane bathroom, and the overhead bins – certainly a great solution to the problem of storage in a small home.
Once the larger modifications were made, Ussery was able to move on to add details and luxuries. The renovated plane contained three bedrooms, a small bathroom, a living space, a full kitchen, and even a dedicated laundry room. Along with the washing machine and dryer, it also had an oven and telephone.
Undoubtedly, the best addition was what Ussery did with the cockpit overlooking the lake. She turned it into an elegant master bathroom, complete with a luxurious hot tub.
She purposefully designed the space so it felt like you were flying when you were in it. Most impressive of all, Ussery completed most of the renovations on her own. She lived in her converted plane between 1995 and 1999 before deciding she wanted to put it on display for the public instead.
Tragically, it fell off the carrier when it was being moved – only a short distance – and was damaged beyond repair. Fortunately, we have these amazing photos.