Living Off Land: 12 Amazing Houseboats & Floating Homes

They come in all shapes and sizes, from traditional-looking contemporary homes that just happen to be floating on water to ultramodern houseboat concepts that look like they might be able to fly, too. Some are high-end, while others are cobbled together from reclaimed planes, trains and automobiles, proving that you don’t have to have a large budget to take your home to the high seas – or the lake, bay, river or canal.

Streamlined Wooden House Boat

(images via: contemporist)

Technically a house barge, since it can’t propel itself from one location to another, this home on the Eilbekkanal in Hamburg, Germany is warm, homey and modern with its curved wood exterior. Inside, the space is divided by a single spiraling wall that wraps around each successive space with public living areas on the exterior and private areas like the bedroom and bathroom on the interior.

‘Train Wreck’ Houseboat Made from Train Car

(image via: sfgate)

A repurposed train car forms the center of ‘Train Wreck’, an otherwise very house-like floating home at South Forty Dock in Sausalito, California. In a former life, it was a 50-foot-long, 120-year-old Pullman sleeper car. Owners Renee and Henry Baer cut it in half, split it into a ‘V’ shape and attached it to a 20-by-40-foot concrete hull.

Pink Shantyboat Made with a Bus

(image via: glassoffashion)

This is technically a ‘shantyboat’, but it looks more like a parade float that veered off into a marina. And hey, there’s a lot of trash in the world – why not put it to good use? Spotted on the River Adur in England, this houseboat clearly has an owner with a creative eye for recyclable materials. A bus and a washing machine are just two obvious elements included in the design.

Dubai Houseboat by X-Architects

(image via: archdaily)

Made from two catamaran beams, stainless steel and glass, this collaboration between X-ARchitects and designer Leen Vandaele is a crisp and modern home base in the Dubai marina. A terrace with a glass roof, reached by a spiral staircase, also acts as a sun deck.

Geometric Houseboat in Copenhagen

(image via: arnþór snær )

Spotted in Copenhagen in 2008, this highly unusual houseboat sports a geometric metal facade and what appears to be a secondary glassed-in structure for sunbathing.

Cosmic Muffin Boeing Houseboat

(image via: re-nest)

It started as a 1930s Boeing Stratoliner, owned by Howard Hughes. The tail and wings were cut off to transform it into the houseboat it is today, dubbed Cosmic Muffin and based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Floating House Inspired by Nature

(image via: environmental graffiti)

The curve of ocean waves just as they’re about to break inspired this elegant houseboat on the Willamette River in Oregon. Architect Robert Harvey Oshatz employed wood and plenty of glass for an organic feel. “I believe that every house has a sense of poetry to it, so what I wanted to do was design a house which would reflect the poetry of the movement of the river,” he said.

Solar-Powered Houseboat Concept

(image via: ecofriend)

If the Waterworld version of apocalyptic predictions ever comes to pass, this solar houseboat concept could be a relatively comfortable way to survive the chaos. Inspired by a fishing bobber, the house has a flotation belt and is half-submerged for stability even in the face of large waves. An upper-level garden grabs all those harsh rays of sunlight, which are also harvested for power.

Low-Budget Floating House

(images via: oldstersview, nau.edu)

You don’t have to have a lot of money to own your very own floating house. As these two images prove, low-budget houseboats are certainly possible, especially if you don’t care too much about aesthetics.

Three-Story Sausalito Houseboat

(image via: sfgate)

Houseboat living isn’t necessarily tiny living. This three-story, 4,000-square foot monster of a floating house in Sausalito definitely proves that even people who like to live large (literally) can have a home right on the water.

Modern Floating Home on Lake Union

(image via: archdaily)

With a limited allowable footprint and a request from the homeowners that the design be fitting both for living and entertaining, Vandeventer + Carlander Architects designed this floating home in Seattle to be versatile and elegant.  At 2,824 square feet, it’s larger than many homes on land, and even has an 887-square-foot deck. Aluminum cladding, strategically placed windows and decks allowed the designers to achieve a look that is “visually interesting and coherent.”

Covey Island Boatworks Arctic Home

(images via: inhabitat)

Faced with harsh winter conditions, the Inuit have long taken shelter in upside-down boats. Inspired by this practice, Covey Island Boatworks has designed an extreme arctic home that puts a different spin on the word ‘houseboat’. Using the same construction methods and materials that make a boat lightweight, flexible and strong, the boat builders created this prefabricated off-grid structure specifically for use on dry land.

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