Geodesic Houseboat Floating Waterfront Getaway

by Kent Griswold on April 18th, 2014. 9 Comments

by Michael Richard Weekes


Michael R Weekes wanted to design and build a houseboat / shanty boat in weeks, not months, that cost less than $2,000 and could be made by one person without special tools, space / work center, or equipment.


R. Buckminster Fuller, Bigelow Brook Farms, CT


Fasten the required number of ultra-rugged yet light storage containers to a 10×16 2×4 deck to achieve a 5,000 pound buoyant capability, where containers act like a poor man’s inexpensive floating dock solution.

Use 2x2s fastened together with 8″ 3/4 plywood hubs to achieve a three frequency geodesic elongated dome (split the dome in half and add 6′ stringers to achieve a cocoon type shape) which weighs less than 200 pounds.

The project began as a bootleg/gypsy event by me at a local yacht yard, until I was kicked out at 4 PM by which time I had the pontoons in the water. I spent the next three weeks fabricating and assembling the geodesic cabin to the deck and then was towed to Canalside (ref. Buffalo Waterfront) from the Buffalo ship canal where I built the structure on the water by myself.

floating home

ref: shantyboatliving,com, Buffalo Rising Online, The Buffalo News, Buckminster Fuller Institute, other “geodesic houseboat” on Google.

The home has a splendid 7’6″ headroom and a 9′ width and by offsetting the dome on the deck, it added three feet for a propane grill and cooler, along with back porch.

I’d like to submit this solution for any contests to compete for most value for least cost, effort and time.

The boat build led to my writing and self publishing a book, Building a New and useful Buffalo (eBay – $17.95) which recommends a new kind of framework for communities to leverage their cultural capital to accelerate their transformation and economic development.

dome on car

I am interesting in joining like-minded urban pioneers to make the quality of life in the cosmos more sustainable while receiving the joy that comes with building your own tiny home with your own hands!

I am also looking for a key role in a company who might wish to commercialize / develop a manufacturing capability for tiny living / “deployment” shelters to help victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, or mud slides / earthquakes.

Michael R Weekes

dome sign

floating dome

Misty Tosh’s Houseboat

by Christina Nellemann on December 24th, 2013. 27 Comments

The Tiny House Blog has featured the dynamo Misty Tosh and her travel trailer before, but now the intrepid TV producer and traveler has a new home and project — a three-story houseboat in Marina del Rey named Flo. While the boat is not necessarily tiny (for tiny, check out her other boat, Enola) Misty has remodeled the derelict houseboat into a work of art.


All the renovations for her houseboat had to be done on the water and she documented the process and houseboat living on her blog, Big Sweet Tooth. The renovation was recently featured in the L.A. Times. When Misty bought the boat, it was a dark mass of junk and tiny rooms connected by ladders. Misty worked with Refinding Design, a local design firm that scours junk yards, flea markets and roadsides for building materials. Salvaged items like a hatch door from a WWII supply ship covers a wine rack under the floor with a peekaboo view of the water, the metal ring of a wine barrel was turned into a chandelier, and the breakfast counter is a slab of wood with a base of plumbing pipes.






The bottom floor is a living and dining area, the second floor is a master bedroom, bathroom and guest area. Nautical rope is a reccurring theme throughout the boat and also acts as a banister railing for the staircase up to the bedroom. The top deck has a small office, a “garden” with artificial turf and a bar.

Misty does have to pump out the sewage holding tank twice a week, but she told the L.A. Times, “We wanted to come home to something like a vacation spa, where we can hide away all our gear and feel like we’re on vacation,” she said. “And when the windows are open and the wind and sun plow through here, we can say: What the heck kind of holy paradise is this?”


Photos by Misty Tosh and the L.A. Times

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

December 24th, 2013and filed in Floating Homes
Tags: boat, design, houseboat, junk, LA, remodel, salvage, small, tiny, travel

Nimble Nomad Project

by Kent Griswold on November 26th, 2013. 33 Comments

by Captain Mike Schiller

After completing a stationary small space project last December, “My small space made from recycled materials,” I had been looking at small 20 foot or less RV’S and teardrop trailers. I didn’t want to spend more than five thousand dollars.

I am always looking at boats, but did not want to take on a large expense. Being a professional Captain, I know what a commitment it can be to dock, haul, store, and maintain a vessel – especially one that can be lived aboard along with all the systems that go with it!

I have a 21 foot diesel launch that I have trailered to Florida twice from Massachusetts. I had a lot of great times, even doing an 8 day cruise to Key West, but had been looking around for a small boat with an enclosed pilothouse that would be trailerable.


At my marina, I saw a Nimble Nomad and have seen one before in Fort Lauderdale. I was intrigued at the efficient design and small size of this outboard powered, trailerable, 3,500 pound pocket trawler. I started researching them and found them selling in the 20 to 30 thousand dollar range and was thinking about selling the Launch and looking for one.

In a late night Internet surfing session I found one online in Maryland that needed work for $5,000. I called early the next morning talked to the original owner who had the boat built in 1996 and explained that due to health reasons the boat had not been used for the last six years and the interior was water damaged.

I sent a deposit sight unseen that day and three weeks later borrowed a trailer drove down to southern Maryland and brought the boat back to Boston for an intense 3 week restoration. I am fortunate to have the time, skills, and support of friends to get the boat up and running quickly.

Nomad before restoration

The original Honda 40 hp fourstroke looked good in the pictures, but not having run in 6 years was an unknown after some wrench turning it now runs great and is very economical.

The restoration costs have been minimal, mostly my labor and around fifteen hundred in supplies even with the scratch and dent, small portable AC unit, and portable Ice maker.

Nomad after restoration

“NOMAD” is now in the water at a slip in East Boston and I have been enjoying cruising around Boston harbor doing some November boating nice and toasty while enclosed with a propane heater even doing some snowboating the other day.

I plan to trailer the boat to southern Florida this winter and cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys.

Nomad interior

Nomad sleeping area


November 26th, 2013and filed in Floating Homes
Tags: Boston, Mike Schiller, Nimble Nomad, nomad

Karen Jenkins Tiny Floating Home

by Kent Griswold on June 25th, 2013. 54 Comments

Inspiration for Boathouse Comes from Tiny House Movement
by Karen Jenkins

I’d like to tell you that my family and I are fully immersed in the tiny house movement… that we sold our four-bedroom home in the suburbs and have downsized to keep only the necessities to live in a tiny house full-time. But, alas, that is not the case. And so as not to mislead all of you incredibly brave early-adopters of this fascinating movement, I thought I’d be upfront about that right off the bat.

refurbished boat house

What we have done, however, is to purchase what would be considered a tiny-home that was in major disrepair, and we then relied heavily on the stories, photos and advice from the Tiny-Home Blog for our inspiration. And for that, I thank you. I don’t think anyone (especially my husband) would have thought we could turn a floating 10×22 boathouse into a place that our family of five could actually live comfortably, but with your help we did. I thought I’d share some of our journey. Continue Reading »