10 Fantastic Floating Homes

If living on land leaves you feeling high and dry, a floating home might be for you. They come in all shapes and sizes, from stationary dwellings to motorized or sailing houseboats.

Floating homes are growing in popularity internationally as the global climate changes, since they can withstand fluctuating water levels and even flooding. And, while live-aboard boats were once the arks for off-the-grid squatters on unregulated shores, they are now part of highly regulated communities all over the world, and many have all the luxury comforts to which land-lubbers are accustomed.

Make some waves (some of these homes do rock gently) or a splash. Most of these homes are built to be unsinkable, and one might even float your boat.

This floating home in Seattle is one of a growing number around the world. While many remain affordable -- down to $59,000 in Norris Lake, Tenn. -- there are luxury models as well, such as this one for $3.5 million.

Seattle
Seattle has a large floating-home community around the east and west sides of Lake Union dating back to 1905. Near where Tom Hanks' Sleepless in Seattle home was moored on Lake Union is this restored 1978 vintage floating home on Westlake Avenue in the heart of the artsy Fremont district. It is listed for $850,000.

The open living room and dining room look out to a viewing deck, which has windows and beautiful woodwork all around. Two bedrooms have been converted into a single oversized master suite.

The chef's kitchen has cherry cabinets, granite counters, new appliances and a breakfast bar.

For information and pricing information, contact Enrico Pozzo (206-790-7874) or visit the website.

View the online listing here.

Sausalito, Calif.
On the San Francisco Bay, on just the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a colorful floating community with more than 400 homes in five marinas.

This one, on Marinship Way, has views of Angel Island, Sausalito Harbor, Mount Tam and the bay. Designed and once owned by restaurant designer Pat Kuleto, it has three levels with wainscoting throughout and some nautical flair. It is listed for $495,000.

There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a custom iron spiral staircase, fireplaces and large deck. The previous owner named the home "Lilipad."

The home is on an exclusive gated dock with only four other floating homes. Even the glass shower gets a view of the bay, and the wet bar might be the perfect spot to earn your sea legs.

For information and pricing information, contact Jonathan Jacobs of Marin Modern Real Estate (415-264-6655) or visit the website.

Portland, Ore.
This two-story cottage-style floating home built in 1989 is about 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland. From the home, you can see down the river and over to Sauvie Island and the island bridge. It includes not only "slip ownership," but also a 1/12th share of the entire 29-home moorage and is listed for $285,000.

The living room and dining room are open, with Craftman-style design features such as beamed ceilings and woodworking throughout. A wood stove in the living room keeps out the chill. There is a large deck on a swimming float with boat mooring.

For information and pricing information, contact Graham Marden at Prudential NW Properties (503-807-4504) or visit the website.

Norris Lake, Tenn.
On this lake created by the Norris Dam back in the 1930s, a floating cottage and dock is on sale for $59,000. It's a modest 480-square-foot living space with one finished bedroom and an unfinished attic -- a nice vacation getaway. Rumor around the lake is that there are catfish the size of small cars lurking around the deep waters of the Norris Dam.

For information and pricing information, contact Travis Keller (865-293-8258) or visit the website.

View the online listing here

Cambridgeshire, England
In the canals built during the industrial revolution in England, narrowboats were originally used to move cargo. These days, the canals are for pleasure cruising and those narrowboats are used as permanent homes and holiday rentals.

This one, christened "Right to Roam," was built in 2002 with lots of authentic detailing and a working engine to move on a whim if you so desire.

Mooring is available with a fenced garden on a quiet river. It is listed for 79,000 pounds, or $123,350.

The boat has two bedrooms with a back-to-front layout. The aft living room has built-in cupboards and shelving and a space-saving fold-down oak table that seats four, as well as working wood stove.

This live-aboard is outfitted with solid oak floors and burr oak ceilings and walls throughout. There is a full-sized bath with a shower and sea toilet, and the galley kitchen is equipped with washing machine, dishwasher, gas oven and built-in fridge.

For information and pricing information, contact Stephen Best (077-2028-7222) or visit the website.

Key West, Fla.
For $195,000, a 1,600-square-foot, two-story floating house is available in a protected marina with a 25-foot by 60-foot slip that can be leased from the city for $580 per month.

Inside are vaulted ceilings and French doors leading to balconies front and back with open water and marina views. The master bedroom is 325 square feet, with en-suite tiled bathroom and three closets. The home also has a self-contained guest quarters with a bathroom and its own small kitchen.

Manatees and all variety of marine life regularly come right up to the lower balcony.

Bayview, Idaho

For $138,300, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom floating home built in 1940 can be yours. Situated on Lake Pend Oreille with views of snow-peaked mountains, the living space totals about 1,100 square feet.

For information and pricing, contact Carrie LaGrace (208-290-1965) or visit the website.

View the online listing here

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Small and densely populated, the low-lying Netherlands has been severely affected by rising sea levels and a growing scarcity of building ground. The Dutch have been finding more space by repurposing cargo ships and building floating-home communities along the many waterways.

Listed for 184,500 euros, or $287,635, "Junior," a former inland cargo vessel built in 1956 with a still-working engine, includes mooring in a peaceful spot in the middle of Rotterdam.

"Junior" is more than 131 feet long, with headroom in the main living area averaging about 8 feet. She has a completely new interior with custom-made kitchen, spacious living room and a master cabin with plenty of storage room. In the former captain's quarters in the aft section of the ship is another complete living area with kitchen, double cabin and shower. In the former sailor's living quarters in the front is laundry and more storage. Outside is a large deck terrace.

For information, contact Cindy de Jong (0031-6-222-475-25) or visit the website.

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Built in 2005 by the Dutch company ABC Arkenbouw, this two-story floating home still carries a 10-year factory warranty. It floats along a quiet street in Amsterdam and is on offer for 469,000 euros, or $731,171.

The entire water villa has under-floor heating. On the second floor are the kitchen, two studios and a living room. Downstairs is a laundry room, two bedrooms (one with a walk-in closet), a bathroom and a large storage room.

View the online listing here

Cairo, Egypt
On the mystical Nile river in the heart of Cairo is a floating home made out of steel and moored to a private shore with a 1,929-square-foot garden leased from the government. The home comes with a license for expansion up to 2,756 square feet on two floors. It is listed for $650,000.

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