Does Life On The Water Float Your Boat? Check Out These Unique Floating Homes

These eccentric and luxurious houseboats will buoy your interest the life aquatic.

There are many perks to living life on the water in a houseboat or floating home. For one, you’re up close and personal with nature and aquatic life. Being docked on a river or lakefront can be a serene atmosphere, avoiding the noise and thoroughfare of a busy street or apartment life. Also, you never have to mow the lawn again!

Floating homes and houseboats typically have less square footage than their landlocked counterparts, but much like tiny homes, downsizing your space comes with the added benefit of freedom to roam, unique locations and idyllic scenery.

Whether you’re looking for a summer home or your next “staycation,” something like one of these ultra-cool floating homes can bring the beach to you.

Aqua Star Floating Mansion

Portland, Oregon is home to a whole fleet of floating homes. Buoyed along the riverfront, many Portlandians choose to live life on the water.

Among these sea-faring homesteads is the Aqua Star. Coming in at 3,000 square feet, this extravagant floating home has been featured on the Television show “Portlandia,” HGTV’s “Extreme Homes” and more. This iconic house even co-starred alongside Martin Sheen in the 1993 thriller “Hear No Evil.”

Built in 1984, the Aqua Star is a blast from the past, looking more like a hopping ‘80s nightclub than a humble abode. Featuring brushed metal, funky upholstery and richly colored walls, this home is full of exciting contrasts. Curved countertops are juxtaposed with angular accents. A shiny, stainless steel window reflects the fuzzy shag rug beneath it. This floating home is an absolute must-see on the Portland Weird Homes Tour.

Fennel Residence

Inspired by the gentle waves of the river itself, this floating home was constructed in 2005 by architect Robert Harvey Oshatz. According to the architect, “The Fennell Residence belongs on the water; if it were built anywhere else it would make little sense.”

The Fennel Residence is both sculptural and modern as well as warm and inviting. Crafted from laminated wooden beams, this floating home was built to exist in harmony with nature, not in spite of it. The 2,364 square-foot structure maximizes the available space while also maintaining high, swooping ceilings. The large, curved windows blur the line between inside and outside, making the resident feel even more connected to the Willamette River on which it is moored.


Much like Portland, Hamburg, Germany is another site of a booming houseboat community. In 2006, the city okayed plans for its first-ever aquatic neighborhood along the Eilbek Canal. A contest was created for potential floating-homeowners to submit their ideas. Over 400 submissions later, ten of the most innovative and beautiful designs were selected from world-class architects.

Each one of these homes is sleek, modern and otherworldly. The Traumfänger, designed by Rost Niderehe architects, is particularly dreamy. “The original idea has been to design a houseboat that essentially has the character of a boat in combination with the comfort of a traditional family home,” said Rost Niderehe. The structure of this floating home is simple and elegant, aesthetically landing somewhere between trendy European architecture and an ultra-contemporary luxury boat.

These stylish and eccentric houseboats are made for the ultimate vacation that will float your cares away—just remember to wear a life jacket!