What do you do when you want the perfect modern home in a coveted historic neighborhood? For the owner of this exquisite abode, the answer was simple: Build a houseboat. Floating in the Spaarne river near the city center of Haarlem, Netherlands, this sleek and bright home by Amsterdam-based vanOmmeren-architecten was a true labor of love.
The interior alone took more than three years to finish in order to meet the client’s exacting tastes. But boy was it worth it.
The houseboat is a single rectangular volume clad in silvery wooden slats emphasizing its horizontality. From the street side, higher, clerestory-like windows let in natural light without sacrificing privacy. One the canal side, four-fifths of the facade is made of full-height glass, offering stunning views of the city beyond.
The aesthetic is simple and refined. The main floor holds an open living room, dining area, and kitchen, in addition to an office, master bedroom and bath, and storage. A deck off the living room provides enough outdoor lounge space for two. The stairway down to the lower level cleverly acts as a light well bringing sunshine to the rooms below—a music room, two bedrooms, three bathrooms, storage, and mechanicals.
Additionally, the home is energy-neutral. Solar panels on the roof generate enough power to keep it running, and there’s no gas connection with the shore.