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Photos courtesy The Modern House
Location: Tagg's Island, London
Price: £1,850,000 (~ $2,877,120)
It's rare to find a houseboat that offers access to manicured gardens and a garage, but this 3,000-square-foot floating home on Tagg's Island, downriver from downtown London on the Thames, isn't just another barge tied to a pier. Designed by MAA Architects, the two-story modern home boasts floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a suspended wood-burning fireplace, and a convertible studio space, as well as a trio of balconies and a deck that make the most of its 125 feet of river frontage. New owners will also be part of an eclectic neighborhood; with roughly 40 boats lining the island's perimeter and 20 parked in a central lagoon, the motley collection of boats, from upscale renovations to hippy homes, has a storyline that spans decades of entertainment industry figureheads, from the man who discovered Charlie Chaplin to Stanley Kubrick.
Any potential owners thinking of throwing elaborate soirees on the Thames will fit in well with the traditions of Tagg's Island, which was built by larger-than-life figures with a penchant for parties. It was named after Tom Tagg, an entrepreneur and boat builder who purchased what was then known as Walnut Island and evicted all the squatters. He built a hotel on the island and attracted celebrities such as Sarah Bernhardt and Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, who briefly rented a houseboat. But after a major flood in 1894, it fell into disrepair and closed. Enter Fred Karno, an entertainer who gave Charlie Chapin his start. He purchased the island in 1912 and rebuilt the hotel with the help of noted theater architect Frank Matcham, adding a modestly titled musical hall called the "Karsino" (this club was eventually used by Stanley Kubrick to film a scene from A Clockwork Orange). Sadly, that was the highpoint of what Karno dubbed "the hub of the universe for river people": the island's fortunes as an entertainment destination faded after World War I, and despite repeated attempts, the sliver of land eventually became a houseboat community. Remnants of its past still survive. Karno's impressive houseboat, the Astoria, is still moored off the island; David Gilmour of Pink Floyd purchased it in 1986 and converted it into a floating recording studio. Since the main floor is finished and not furnished, adding another studio or performance space to the neighborhood is at the future owner's discretion.
∙ Tagg's Island Hampton [The Modern House]
∙ This Custom Modern Houseboat May Be Berlin's Hippest Rental [Curbed]
∙ All House of the Day posts [Curbed]