People are ditching bricks and mortar (and even solid ground) behind in cities across the globe in favour of floating homes.
Canal boats have long been favoured as off-grid urban retreats, with the added bonus that their occupants can up sticks at the drop of a hat. But they’re often on the smaller side. Here are five floating homes that use their square footage wisely, from a river barges with views of the Louvre to a minimalist take on aquatic living.
Chinampa in Haggerston Wharf, east London
1 bedroom; £165,000 via Aucoot
The current owners of this floating home – built in 2013 – have carefully reconfigured its 58 ft of space. Wright and Doyle have focused on re-using materials, turning a paper plan chest into the kitchen counter, and tracking down antique brass taps for the roll-top bath. The pair have also made clever use of limited square-footage, installing built-in bookshelves, a sofa and extra storage space. Future owners keen to get away from things can live off-grid, thanks to the boat’s set of solar panels
Quai de Conti barge in front of the Louvre, Paris
4 bedrooms; €1.2m via Espaces Atypiques
Located just over the river from Paris’ Jardin des Tuileries, this 39-metre-long barge is spacious enough to include two separate apartments. There are views to the Louvre and across the Seine from its portholes, and plenty of space to sit and enjoy them from the boat’s main living space. According to the agent, the two flats can be easily combined, giving the boat four bedrooms in total, as well as an upstairs study – reached by a curving metal staircase. Views of the city lights can be enjoyed in the evenings from the barge’s terrace.
Jantje in Holmen, Copenhagen
1 bedroom; 4.75m DKK via Adam Schnack
Nautical living gets a Scandi upgrade in this five-bedroom floating home, located in Copenhagen’s Holmen neighbourhood. The boat was built in 1910 as a charter ship before being converted into a home. Would-be owners with the travel bug will be pleased to know the engine is fully functional, meaning the home can leave port at any time. For those that are more interested in cosying down on the water, the entire boat has been sandblasted, painted and insulated. Whitewash walls and wooden floors run throughout the home, forming a neutral backdrop for future owners.
The Dusky Parakeet, London, £290,000
31/44 Architects have taken minimalism to the water for this 60-ft-long canal boat, moored at London’s St Katherine’s Dock. Inside is a blank canvas, outfitted with bespoke upholstery, furniture and fittings by the studio – including handmade kitchen worktops made from recycled yoghurt pots. The one-bedroom houseboat is lined with Douglas fir flooring and tulipwood cladding and outfitted in a monochrome palette that’s ready for a new owner’s personal stamp.
The iron lady barge, Paris, €1.1m
3 bedrooms; €1.1m via Espaces Atypique
This Freycinet barge dates back to 1939 and was once home to German painter Hans “Jimmy” Giebeler. Its riveted hull hides a huge loft-style living space, while its wheelhouse has been converted into a timber-panelled sitting room. The three-bedroom floating property has two terraces and is moored within sight of the Eiffel Tower.