As many of you know I am a huge fan of floating homes and have often thought of starting another blog focusing just on them. Recently through a google alert I discovered this little floating guest house in Portland, Oregon. Designed and constructed by a company called Studio Hamlet Architects, PLLC based in Bainbridge Island, WA. Julia Zander was kind enough to send me some wonderful photographs and gave me permission to share this project with you.
This floating guest house is nestled among a community of eclectic houseboats on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The project was designed to work as a part-time residence for a couple’s use while their main floating home is being built. After moving into the main house, the guest house will become a vacation retreat for visiting family and friends.
Big Ideas With Small Spaces
We had to deal with the marina’s very restrictive rules for a guest house size. The marina restricts the size of a float to 18’x34’ and restricts the maximum height above the water to 15’-6”. The fire code requires perimeter access on all sides of a structure, and with the inclusion of an exterior deck, we only had a 14’-9” x 22’-6” (332sf) outside perimeter structure footprint to work with. Not much room for the owner’s desire for a self-sufficient dwelling, including a kitchen, bathroom, dining, living space and sleeping loft.
The design makes the most of its limited space and uses various design techniques to create a feeling of spaciousness. The house feels much larger and more spacious than its 433 sf. The careful design avoids uncomfortably tight spaces. You don’t bump your elbows against the walls and the scale doesn’t make you feel you are too big in a small space. The guest house can even handle extra guests. The dining booth can comfortably seat up to five and the couch coverts to a bed, accommodating two additional overnight visitors.
We Started With A Good Foundation
We constructed a concrete float for the guest house. Like a good foundation, it has a substantial feeling and carries the comfort of knowing it will require only minimal maintenance in the future. Concrete floats are rare in the Portland area, but the common practice of building log floats is beginning to be questioned with all the maintenance issues and the diminishing number of available quality logs.
Showering Meditation And A Cozy Place To Sleep
A skylight strategically placed above the shower illuminates the green glass tile. Combined with the warm grey colored cement shower pan, the space feels peaceful and serene. The cozy loft has just enough room to crawl up into bed. This bedroom and built-in shelving has a feeling of protection under the eaves, with a view looking out over the water.
The Natural World Surrounds
Although downtown Portland is minutes away, the location feels like you are on a constant nature retreat. Ducks, turtles, beavers, bald eagles and osprey inhabit the local environment. Daylighting is constantly changing as sunlight dances off the water. The corrugated metal ceiling catches the reflected light from the abundant windows and mimics the rippling water outside.