Lake Union Floating Homes

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June 21, 2014

Lake Union Floating Homes

floating homes 4

My wife and I are on vacation and have spent the day in Seattle, Washington. We took the Duck Tour which is both educational and entertaining and I would highly recommend it if you are spending any time in downtown Seattle.

One of the perks of the Duck Tour is that you get to go out onto Lake Union and see the floating homes (view some interior photos at this link). Originally the cheapest place to live in town, no longer. It is now the most expensive place to live. Most of the floating homes cost over a million dollars. The exception is the barge homes that start around $150k and go up to around $800k if you can get one. Though out of most of our price ranges I think the designs are inspiring and I hope you enjoy the following photos. Unfortunately no interior photos as we were not allowed into the homes.

duck boats

Duck Tour

barge homes

Barge Homes

floating homes

Larger homes

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floating homes 3


floating homes 5

floating homes 6

floating homes 7

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katee - June 21, 2014 Reply

I lived in the area when I was a child…it used to be a good affordable way to own a home…
Seattle is still a lovely place to live.

B Blankenship - June 21, 2014 Reply

New regulations have capped number of these homes. I would expect prices of these small liveaboard homes to increase accordingly.

Wendy - June 21, 2014 Reply

Wonderful! I wonder what the moorage fees are, and also what it costs for upkeep per year? I would love to live on one of those and my husband and I are constantly “negotiating” about moving onto a boat. But I know that with boats come issues.

Rebecca - June 21, 2014 Reply

I lived in Seattle and did the tour. No reason someone could not live in a houseboat in less “exalted” lake for a reasonable sum. I suspect that most of the people in this country live in a very small percentage of the land. I happily live on five acres with wildlife… at a modest price.

Teri - June 21, 2014 Reply

For interior… think ‘Sleepless in Seattle’

Boudicca - June 21, 2014 Reply

I think anyone can live on a houseboat in an affordable area. Recently Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage. Who is going to be able to afford to live their now? By the way, where does all the HUMAN WASTE go?

    RosePetall - July 6, 2014 Reply

    It is my understanding that you have a holding tank and that tank has to be
    serviced by the septic people once a

    Lynne Reister - August 8, 2018 Reply

    Into Tanks. Pumped out by mobile services to the city sewer or the Houseboats are connected to the City Sewer directly

Nancy - June 21, 2014 Reply

I live in Seattle and there are new restrictions on boat houses because of the waste issue. Some marinas allow live-aboards on boats but the waste must be contained and properly disposed of (pumped). Other marinas don’t allow live-aboards because liability insurance has become so expensive. Seattle is an expensive city in which to live but it’s pretty nice. A $15 minimum wage phased in over seven years won’t help much with the cost of living here!

Francis mcclaughry - June 21, 2014 Reply


OHSue - June 21, 2014 Reply

Isn’t a house that costs as much as some of these actually anti-tiny home movement, being able to live unencumbered by the huge mortgage, etc.

    Hollymaren - June 23, 2014 Reply

    That is probably why you are attracted to tiny homes, but that does not apply to all of us. I like the idea of a smaller footprint, making life simpler, but the cost is not as important to me. I would love to live on a houseboat, and these have a unique neighborhood camaraderie, which is appealing. Seattle is a unique place to live and play. You have to pay a bit for that. WA state has about everything you would want- islands, mountains, rain forest, desert, ocean, and a mild climate to boot. Seattle actually gets less rain than many other cities.

    Hollymaren - June 23, 2014 Reply

    You also will have to take into account that the world’s richest person lives on the same lake-ha! That might drive up the neighborhood values. Some very gorgeous homes all along Lake Union.

    Chuck - June 23, 2014 Reply

    Nah, homes that aren’t tiny could be considered anti-tiny home movement, but price is just one of the reasons people choose to go tiny. In any case, Kent pointed out that these are pretty expensive, but he was presenting them for the inspiration of the houseboats themselves. I’m sure some of these could be cloned in another locale for a fraction of what they cost in Lake Union.

lucy bobb - June 23, 2014 Reply

HGTV featured these a few years ago … so we got to see the insides of several. My Aunt just bought a little floating cottage on Lake Norris, Tn. We are in the process of renovation now. Many of the marinas have a “housing ” area.

Gabriel - June 24, 2014 Reply

My personal taste favors land-based homes over floating ones for several reasons:
– Docking space is limited, making slips at-least as expensive as a plot of land of a similar size. You may find more space by the sea than at sea, combining comfort of land with pleasures of sea.
– Marine weather dictates more maintenance
– Most house designs force you to give-up gardening. This has become part of me when I began practicing gardening for therapeutic reasons. I spend much of my time outside, at the garden or beyond. Unless you are a Noah’s ark fan on a big yacht, you’ll have to live in contempt with a few pots crammed on a tiny balcony.
– compliance with environmental aspects of sewage and grey water is more demanding.

Jay Sullivan - June 27, 2014 Reply

Building my own tiny home! I’ll take all the help I can get-

Monday Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge - June 30, 2014 Reply

[…] Lake Union Floating HomesTiny House Blog […]

Lisa E. - June 30, 2014 Reply

For the longest time I dreamed of living on a houseboat but the rapacious costs of everything have made that impossible so I’ve had to give up that dream. If I can afford a TH and a place to park it, I’ll be content.

Gregory Pavell - July 1, 2014 Reply

….If it floats it doesn’t flood!”
….If it floats you do not Mow!”
…If you honor your environment
respectfully attach yourself to a more
manageable footprint…
Why not a barge-home afloat?

I Gotta Go,

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