Friday, October 8, 2010

Floating Homes

The Neiman-Marcus Christmas book has been released. I look forward to seeing this every year, particularly the fantasy gifts, which always include a selection of limited edition cars, exotic trips, and expensive baubles quite out of my budgetary reach. The most expensive item on this year's list is a custom installation by Dale Chihuly--for $1.5 million the legendary glass artist will do an installation at the bottom of your pool. Now, much as I would love to have a Chihuly piece, the fantasy gift that has most captured my attention is available at the relative bargain price of only $250,000. That price will get the lucky buyer a Metroship Luxury Houseboat--a floating retreat whose list of amenities reads like the real estate listing for a luxury condo:

"Open and airy during the day with waterproof hardwood floors and double-glazed windows, at night it truly glows with sophistication thanks to maintenance-free translucent thermal aluminum walls. Inside, it's all about the two of you. Set the remote-control central air conditioning and heating, and put on some music. The living area includes a next-generation media center with Bang & Olufsen stereo, high-definition projector, Nintendo® WiiTM gaming console, and Sony® LCD flat-screen monitor for movies, computer, gaming, and Internet projection. Grab a bottle of wine from the gourmet kitchen island. It features handmade cabinets, a Viking® refrigerator/freezer and dishwasher, and GaggenauTM in-cabinet oven and cooktop.
Slip into something more comfortable in the spa bathroom with an Italian curved-glass vanity, touch-free faucet, and Kohler® frameless full-size shower. The high-capacity tankless water heater and LG steam washer/dryer come in handy–as does the roomy master suite with a luxury W Hotel bed."

(photos courtesy of Metro Ship)

A perfect getaway home! Of course, I have a long fascination with houseboats. The idea of living in such a small and efficient space took root when I was in college and had to design a houseboat for full-time living. As I recall, my fictional client had a frequent guest who used a wheelchair, and thus the houseboat needed to be accessible. It was the professor's clever way of having us work an accessible space into the smallest footprint possible. My solution, a two story affair with a small elevator, managed to squeeze two bedrooms, a small home office, and the usual kitchen and living areas into a small, but very functional package:
(my collegiate attempt at a houseboat design)

Seattle, Washington, is home to one of the largest communities of houseboats. The homes there range from small, quirky, shanties to multi-million dollar floating penthouses. The first houseboats in Seattle were constructed as temporary lodging for logging camp workers, and the community evolved to include getaways for the wealthy as well as permanent homes for those who made their living from the water. (a more in-depth history of Seattle's houseboats can be found at The Floating Home Association Website). These homes, made famous in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, have gone from being considered nuisance slums to being some of the most coveted residences in town.


  1. I have a friend that lives on a houseboat. It is awesome!

  2. I think it would be such a cool space to live in! Where is your friend's boat moored?

  3. He lives as part of the Vol Navy in Knoxville.