The lifestyle is not for everyone, but a floating home undoubtedly offers a very special kind of urban refuge, not to mention a more cost-effective way to own (waterfront!) property in a pricey seaside city. And just because they've got to float doesn't mean the structures are doomed to simple, uninspired design. Check out these examples of modern floating homes, ranging from the tall and narrow to the long and flat, with interior spaces channeling minimalist villas, luxury lofts, and more.
↑ ↓ The Floatwing floating cabin designed by Portuguese firm Friday is a 19-foot-long houseboat with gorgeous plywood-lined interiors and sliding glass walls. Fitted with two exterior motors, the unit can travel at a leisurely three miles per hour. [More photos]
↑ ↓ This prefab floating house designed by Seattle-based firm E.Cobb Architects goes for a suave look, using bright, durable materials like fiber cement panels and iipe wood. The 1,800-square-foot aquatic residence has enough space for a couple and their guests, not to mention kayaks and paddleboards. [More photos]
↑ ↓ X-Float, designed by Thai practice Agaligo Studio, is a contemporary take on the houseboat vernacular. Each unit features a lightweight steel-frame structure, minimalist bedroom and bathrooms, and a private deck. [Full story]
↑ ↓ This Amsterdam floating home is more villa than boathouse, offering over 2,150 square feet of clean-lined, open-plan interior space. Like a yacht, the Watervilla Weesperzijde has a submerged lower-level filled with bedrooms and a sun-lit upper floor housing the living, dining, and kitchen areas. [Full story]
↑ ↓ This modern floating house docked on River Thames in London boasts floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a suspended wood-burning fireplace, and a convertible studio space. Designed by MAA Architects, the residence also features a trio of balconies and a deck that make the most of its 125 feet of river frontage. [More photos]
↑ ↓ This rentable houseboat (approximately $1,600 a week) feature walls of glass that provide both sweeping views of the the city and its famous TV tower. The decidedly minimalist interior space is just big enough for two adults and two children and comes with an open kitchen, large living area with retractable bed and couch, main bedroom, and two bikes for guests to use. [More photos]
↑ ↓ This San Francisco floating house with a spacious, loft-like vibe was designed by local architect Robert Nebolon. The sawtooth roof creates soaring spaces that are showered in sunlight from tons of warehouse-style windows. [More photos]