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May 6, 2007

'My guest room is a Boeing 727'


You don't have to be a Middle Eastern prince to say that in all truthfulness.

Not if you're one Rick Broome of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In a March 28, 2007 Colorado Springs Gazette story by Carol McGraw that somehow languished in syndication hyperspace until I happened on it in yesterday's Washington Post, the long, strange trip of a Boeing 727 from the friendly skies of United Airlines to Broome's home [above] is detailed.

Broome thinks that his is the only airplane that's been incorporated into a house.

Here's the article.

    Just plane obsessed

    So you think you’ve got decorating problems? Next time you whine about it, think about Billie Broome. Her husband, Rick, added the better part of a Boeing 727 to their house, then built a sunroom around it.

    All Billie can say at this point is: “Thank goodness he didn’t bring the entire plane home.” Only the front section, from the wings forward, graces their residence — although “graces” hardly describes the looming presence of a 15,800-pound, 50-foot-long, 12.5-footwide, 27.5-foot-tall objet d’art.

    Oddly enough, you can’t tell there’s a gargantuan piece of a plane in their Broadmoor-area home if you’re standing outside. But open a door on the north side of the house, and you suddenly find yourself walking down the plane’s aisle, enveloped in a cocoon of the original decor: gray rug on the walls; a pink, orange and blue mural; more gray industrial rug on the floor. You can also board the plane via a catwalk from the kitchen, or from gleaming rollaway air stairs near Billie’s Early American couch in the sunroom.

    The tableau includes something never seen these days on a real flight — a cockpit with the door wide open.

    “It feels like home,” says Rick, sitting in the pilot’s seat of the fully equipped cockpit. “It’s in my will that some of my ashes will be scattered in here.”

    It’s a dream come true for Rick — literally.

    “I first saw the idea in a dream when I was about 16,” says Rick, who had that same dream often over the years.

    What do you expect from an airplane fanatic? He likes to point out that he was born in Pueblo on Oct. 13, 1946 — “a year and one day before test pilot and astronaut Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.” He made headlines at age 16 when he soloed in nine types of planes. He has about 2,200 flying hours on 41 civilian planes and is an inductee in the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

    In college, he worked as an airline mechanic and was accepted as a flightofficer candidate in 1971. When the class was canceled, he fell back on a longtime hobby, painting, and that became his livelihood. An internationally known painter of aviation scenes, he creates an annual painting for the Air Force Academy’s graduating class and has donated more than 60 originals to the school.

    But knowing how to paint a plane isn’t as much fun as having a real one in your home. So he searched two years for an airliner. At a movie lot, his broker found one that had actually flown the friendly skies of United before being put out to pasture as a prop in movies and TV, including episodes of “24” and an A&E documentary about United Flight 93.

    When the 727 arrived by truck at the Broomes’ home in 2005, a massive crane had to lift the fuselage 100 feet in the air and set it down on three specially made girders behind the house. In 14 months, the house grew from 4,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet with the addition of the new sunroom built around the plane.

    If Rick faced a challenge finding the plane and getting it to the house, Billie has been equally challenged trying to decorate a room around it. When she was hunting for a rug for the new sunroom, she had a hard time getting the color just right.

    “No one knew what ‘United Airlines Blue’ was,” she says. She had to lug dozens of samples home until she found the right one — that nondescript airline grayish blue.

    She had the wall behind the plane painted a sort of Wild Blue Yonder dark blue, but says it’s just not right. So she is looking at paint samples again.

    One feature in the sunroom that complements the airplane is Rick’s studio work table, which he designed to look like a United ticket counter.

    Really, though, the sunroom decor isn’t what this space is all about. It’s the plane, and Rick’s goal is to log 50,000 hours in it over the next 10 years. It shouldn’t take him long: He hunkers down in his 727 to get ideas for his paintings, sometimes pray or take an occasional nap.

    He thinks it’s the only airplane that’s been incorporated into a house. A California woman is planning an airplane home, but it isn’t finished. Scattered around the country are a few planes in museums and restaurants, including one at Solo’s in Colorado Springs, where you can dine in a Boeing KC-97. But in Rick’s research, he hasn’t found anyone who knows of other planes in a home. It’s a “historical piece of aviation sculpture,” he says.

    He estimates that the airline project has cost more than $100,000 so far, but he’s not done yet. He has many other plans for the room, too many to mention.

    If that’s not enough to keep him busy, he can always fill his time with another hobby. The Broomes’ house backs up to a lakelike reservoir, and Rick has been licensed as a wildlife park caretaker for wild ducks. Every year he feeds 12,000 pounds of cracked corn to the birds.

    “He likes anything that flies,” Billie says.

    Aircraft can boast comforts of a house


    To gussy up his airplane and sunroom, Rick Broome [above]:

    • Hooked up the plane’s first-class lavatory.

    • Brought in heat and air conditioning from the home furnace. (When he turns it on, it gives off that familiar whooshing sound you hear on a plane.)

    • Put in a couple of old, comfy chairs where the passenger seats used to be.

    • Used one of the plane’s 16-foot wing tips with a flashing red light as a chandelier in the sunroom.

    • Plans to install a roll-down screen in front of the cockpit windows and fancy equipment to simulate flying. It will be attached to the aircraft wiring system and flight controls so he can have the virtual thrill of a real flight.

    • Will paint the floor beneath the plane so that at night, when he sits in the cockpit and looks down, it will look like a lighted city from 30,000 feet in the air. There will be stars painted on the ceiling.

May 6, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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There are several folks building complete or partial 747s into houses:





and there is at least one existing instance of a 737 being used as someone's *whole* house...but I couldn't find a web-link for it...

Posted by: Stephen Bove | May 8, 2007 12:58:43 PM

Have to admire the dedication. somehow I get the feeling he doesn't watch too much television.

Posted by: IB | May 7, 2007 12:44:55 AM

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