Streetcars carried passengers through the streets of Santa Cruz until 1926, when they were decommissioned and replaced by buses. So what happened to the streetcars? Mary and Gerhard Ringel know exactly where two are. They currently live inside them. See how they made these redwood cars into a colorful, cozy home.
[Music] we walk in and Gerhardt goes this is a streetcar I'm like what what do you missus a streetcar look at it and look at the bathroom there's another streetcar over there I'm like you're kidding me we were blown away by it first we thought we would never move in a house like this no way this is crazy you know but it's fun you come up to the little porch and then when you come through the door you have to kind of stupid because of this little short door and it feels like you're kind of a hobbit sometimes karetai are creating little jokes about that a little hobbit house it was very strange just their low ceilings I almost hit my head on the ceiling and it was pretty rundown originally when we first moved here at the street car windows were acrylic plastic faded was really pretty bad so Gerhardt got on it it took him a week but he built these light boxes with LED lights in them I wanted to create this look of stained glass to do that I have some acrylic panels cut to several different sizes and then we bought some window film that has this fake stained glass pattern and Mary and I put the window film onto the acrylic panels and then I had to build some light fixtures to illuminate the panels from behind there's a total of about 436 lights in this whole system and you can create different color effects with it if you like so you can get blue sort of color in the evening and you can get a sunset red as the Sun is going down you can get really nice task lighting when we first bought the home and had a lot of color a lot of really crazy color Lee goes very bohemian we wanted to keep that vibe that energy because that's how santa cruz is but we're grandparents we don't want to go too crazy and too hippie right we knew we needed some help and my painter recommended house and he said put your ideas on an idea book and then when you and Gerhart and I get together again we'll look and see what you liked in common that's how we picked all the colors I loved reading the comments on house most of the comments were great and awesome but then once in a while I I got a comment that said oh it's just a glorified mobile home or something like that and I thought wow that's that's crazy I wish this guy could come and actually see this place because the street cars are made of Redwood and so that's why they've been able to stand for over 100 years they're solid they're not going anywhere it feels cozy I come home and it's just enough square footage to where I can say hey camera at a mom and he can hear me from the other room I love historic homes and the idea of these street cars being in the 1920s running down the streets of Santa Cruz just blows my mind and I'm kind of a Mary Mary quite contrary sort of person you know I just don't do things the way most people do so this is perfect for me okay it's just different enough and then we added our touch to it we've done a lot of work to it so it's been great it's been a really fun process it's been a labor of love I love the smell the ocean air even at night we can open the window and hear the sea lion sparking down on the wharf you know so that's nice my dad passed away when I was about 10 years old and but he used to take us to the beach all the time Chincoteague and as the Atlantic Ocean a lot of big waves and warm water so we used to go all the time and even after my dad passed away my mom would take us to the beach and and so that was my happy place you know my happy zone very easy walking distance to the beach easy access to various running trails it was just really great to live so close to the beach before you some wine Thank You Gerhardt and I have been married for thirty years now we have three kids and six grandkids so we thought it would be great to have a house in Santa Cruz where the kids can go to the boardwalk and go to the beach the last house we ran was in Los Gatos in the mountains so it's very peaceful and serene very quiet you know no streetlights we came here and there were a lot of street lights you know city people walking by students walking by cars going by so we had to adjust to the noise and to the lights in between the bedroom and the bathroom it's an actual streetcar door from the bedroom you're going to the bathrooms you're actually going where the conductor might have sat and so there's this door that actually runs on tracks so when you're opening and closing it you can hear that rumbling just like you would if you were in the streetcar now that was originally really fun but at night sometimes it's a little annoying because you know you have guests and they can hear that rumbling and it's like what was that it's like the streetcars actually running so it's a little challenging in that respect but I would never get rid of it it's part of the streetcar and it just makes it all that more special when Garin I moved here we had to go from a 2500 square foot home to a 750 square foot home so we had to downsize big time I love organizing things so it was an opportunity to get really organized if we end up retiring here I think the kids will really appreciate it because Garret I eventually leave the world we won't leave them with a big mess and the big house full of stop and Chuck so sometimes I still wake up in the morning and go I am living in a cable car this is crazy I'm living in a cable car can this really be is this right but then I just love it I love coming home to it and it's me it's unique its Gerhardt it's both of us together we love it looking forward to the kids coming and going to the beach with them and building those sandcastles and just enjoying the rest of our lives together [Music] [Music] you