Floating Homes: Waterfront Luxury And Funky Spaces

If you can’t decide between nature and the city – floating homes are the way to go. You really can’t find a more incredible place to live than on the water in the middle of a city in a funky little house – with all the conveniences of land. Seriously. City sewer and water. Normal city power hookups. But not normal city life. Ducks, seals, sometimes even whales and dolphins are your wildlife. The gentle lap of the tides and the rocking waves of passing boats put you to sleep at night. You awake to the sounds of seabirds. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. And in a lot of cases, you’re at your office in the center of a city (pick almost any city but it needs to have water) in no time at all. Think Sleepless in Seattle – the Tom Hanks house. Wasn’t that nice?

Sleepless in Seattle

It sold for $2 million, by the way (some time ago).

I guess it’s time to point out that it’s not the cheapest market to get into and on top of the purchase price, moorage fees can often run $1,000+ per month at an average marina. Park your home at a prestigious marina and all bets are off for fees. The Sleepless in Seattle floating home is on Lake Union, one of the more exclusive communities of float homes.

It’s a Way of Life

An attractive floating home in a good urban setting can easily set you back upwards of half a million dollars (and way more if you’ve got it), but there are float homes for less if you look around and particularly in smaller communities. Just think about the implications of towing it to another location, however. It’s not simple but it can be a very rewarding lifestyle. And if you can afford it, it makes a killer weekend home on the edge of the city.

This is not just a housing choice, you are choosing a way of life. And floating home communities are like small towns – everyone looks out for everyone, everyone says hello when you pass on the dock and you may make a lifetime of friendships there on the water. There is a camaraderie in dock life. I’ve done it – for seven years in Vancouver, albeit on a boat – a 48-ft Monk McQueen motor trawler. Yes, it can cost a bit more than you think to live on the water but the memories are priceless. Trust me, if you can do it, you should.

Floating Home Community in Seattle

Seattle Floating Homes

Eastlake Seattle

This one is priced at $795,000 but has lots to offer. See more photos here. It’s located in the Eastlake community on Lake Union, a very desirable location.

Seattle Floating Home

Inside is bright and cheery and open with lots of light.

Seattle Float Home

Floating home community docks always look so welcoming.

Lake Union Float Home Community

This one is priced at $3,250,000. Yes, you read that right. And, there is a sale pending. But never fear, there are plenty more where this one came from. Check Seattle Afloat for other options.

Floating Homes in Seattle
Lake Union Marinas Eastlake

This is a top rate home that just happens to sit on top of the water. It has an interior as stunning as the exterior and views to die for.

Eastlake Premier Float Homes

Just imagine waking up to this view. Source

Floating Homes in Portland OR

On the RiverFloating Homes in Portland

This Portland floating home on the river is listed at $850,000 and has a lot going for it.

Portlant Float Home

That’s quite the top deck.Portland River LivingThe kitchen is amazing. Look at the sunlight streaming in. 
Home on the river

The wood plank ceiling and ceiling fan gives a bit of a tropical look. And look at the stained glass windows. A gorgeous floating home.

Sweet Floating Home

This sweet floating home in Portland recently sold for $159,000! Can’t beat that for a cottage. There are many more available from Amy Sedgewick. Check her site.

Portland Float Home

This is a cozy abode on the water!

Sweet float home in Portland

Lots of room for dinner guests.

Living on the water

Floating Homes for sale on Canada’s West Coast

Ladner, BC

Just south of Vancouver BC, you’ll find a smattering of different float home communities.

Judy Ross in Ladner

This floating home is at Ladner Reach Marina in Ladner, BC and listed by Judy Ross at $449,000 $CDN (at today’s exchange rates – approximately $350,000 USD).

Judy Ross listing

This floating home has an elegant interior. But if you want funky, you could just change the furniture and rugs. After all, it’s a floating home. They are funky to start with.

Lots of room in this floating home

Lots of room in this floating home, and of course, the view is spectacular from every room. It’s waterfront, how can it not be?

Judy Ross listing

Floating Homes in New Westminster, BC

Another river community in what is considered The Lower Mainland area of Vancouver BC, this one a little southwest of the city proper. Lots of other floating homes for neighbors.
Floating Home

This 1400-sf home is on a concrete and foam barge and has decks over three levels. Including a hot tub on one of them. Priced at $826,000 $CAD (approx.$660,000 USD). Source

A Bar in the Boat

This float home has a bar area – with a view.

Hot tub with a view

The hot tub is really the crown jewel.

Floating home

The docks look like small villages at night.

Floating Homes on the East Coast

Floating homes are fewer and further between on the east coast, at least until you get to Florida, and even then, they are not that common. Much more a Pacific thing, likely to do with a more moderate climate. But the example below is a lovingly renovated old barge, considered a floating home even though it was once a boat – because there is no motor or engine and it is stationary and cannot move without tug boat assistance. And this wonderful home sits in  Buzzard’s Bay, in Fairhaven Massachusetts. The listing price is just $350,000. More information can be found here.

Boat converted to float home

This one-time barge has been converted to a spectacular floating home. The trick is, it will need to be barged to another location, which is a bit of a process but can be done. It’s certainly weird to see your house being towed down the river, though.

Converted Barge to Floating Home

Don’t you love the walls? You’d never know this was a converted barge.
This kitchen is top rate

This kitchen is really a winner. I’m sold.

Incredible float home

London on the Thames

In London, they do it a bit differently. Most often, the floating home is a repositioned boat. It no longer has an engine and can’t be driven, but the construction is different than a tiny house on floatation devices. They can still be spectacular, however.

London on the Thames

This beauty is moored at St. Katharine dock, close to Tower Hill tube station in London.

floating home in London

View it here.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Maybe not so famous, but I wanted to close with Shel Silverstein’s former floating home in Sausalito, CA. Quirky, eccentric and gorgeous – it sold recently for $635,000 and that’s really not a bad price given the market. I’d live here. Would you?

Just a little note about the former owner. I always knew he was an American writer, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright. But I hadn’t realized that he wrote the songs The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Cover of the Rolling Stone and A Boy Named Sue (among others). He lived on this floating home in Sausalito from 1967- 1975 and she has only changed hands a few times since then. I think she’s my favourite.

Shel Silverstien's floating home

It doesn’t look like much on the outside.

California Float Home

But that all changes when you step in the door.

Shel Silverstein home

It almost looks like the inside of a country church.

Shel Silverstien

The kitchen is full size and modern.

Floating Home Sausalito

Lots of room – and a sophistication that you just don’t expect from the exterior.

Don't judge a book by the cover

Never judge a book by the cover! Especially a Shel Silverstein book.

Are you convinced yet? Go visit a floating home community. You’ll like it and who knows … maybe you’ll live in one someday.


Written by Beverley Wood

Beverley Wood has lived on boats in Toronto and Vancouver and in an old hacienda in Mexico. She knows funky when she sees it. She's been writing since she was old enough to pick up a pen and has never shied away from the unusual or the whimsical. Her love of the unique (and sometimes bizarre) led her to Captivatist.