Houseboats will never not be intriguing, but this one by Amsterdam-based architect Julius Taminiau is special in that it doesn’t look like a houseboat at all. Designed for himself and his family, the box-like home features clean, minimalist interiors inspired by traditional Japanese tatami rooms, with nary a nautical trope in sight.
Located in a floating community by Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, the houseboat was first fabricated some 100 kilometers (62 miles) away in Hardenberg before being “sailed” over the IJsselmeer, an inland bay in central Netherlands, to its current spot.
Designing on a budget, Taminiau went for space, efficiency, practicality, and comfort—which is where the tatami mats came in. He used their standardized dimensions, which are similar to standard plywood panels, to create modular rooms based on a grid pattern. The use of full panels kept costs and waste down.
The result is a two-story dwelling characterized by white walls, pale wide-plank hardwood floors, an open floorplan, and built-in storage. The master suite and two additional bedrooms occupy the lower level, while the main living areas are located above. There’s even a double-height office space with suspended bridge, and a solar-paneled rooftop deck. Have a look.