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640 Sq. Ft. 1-BR Houseboat in Seattle

This 640 sq. ft. 1-bedroom houseboat is in Seattle, Washington’s Lake Union community.

It was built back in 1920, according to Small House Bliss. Since that time it has been added onto which has made it less tiny. Inside you’ll find an office, bedroom, living area, kitchen, and more.

This floating home was listed for sale with an asking price of $670K (ouch!) but was actually sold for $490,000 (still an ouch!) according to Estately. If it were more affordable, how would you like to live in a floating cottage like this one right on the water? Please enjoy and re-share below. Thank you!

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640 Sq. Ft. 1-Bedroom Floating Cottage in Seattle


Images © Coldwell Banker Bain

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Images © Coldwell Banker Bain

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  1. http://www.estately.com/sold/933-n-northlake-wy–4
  2. http://smallhousebliss.com/2015/02/06/quirky-lake-union-float-house/
  3. http://seattle.curbed.com/archives/2014/05/affordable-houseboat-alert-fremont-1br-asking-670k.php
  4. http://www.coldwellbankerbain.com/
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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 48 comments… add one }
  • alice h
    February 7, 2015, 10:12 am

    It would have to move a few decimal points in price for me to even think about it but otherwise I would gladly live in something like that but only part time. Looks a bit busy. Of course the moorage fees would have to be reasonable too. It might be fun to have a place in the city and a place in the country shared between friends and you could swap back and forth. I’d be the country mouse though. If it were on a quiet waterway it would be perfect.

  • Denise
    February 7, 2015, 11:32 am

    So sad, but for Seattle/king county that is very “affordable.”

  • CathyAnn
    February 7, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I like this house very much. However, I could never afford it. If I could, the first thing I would do would be to repaint the kitchen cabinets. Yikes! That would wake anyone up in the morning, and I like to awaken slooowwlllyyy….. . The rest of the color scheme is very pleasing to me – blue is my favorite color.

    All of that aside, I like the layout. Reminds me of a “shotgun” house from the South.

  • February 7, 2015, 3:49 pm

    I would love to have a float home . . . but even if I could afford the home outright, the moorage rates to keep one “afloat” are well beyond what I would be willing to pay!!!

  • JAVA06
    February 7, 2015, 8:33 pm

    Not smart having that huge window at the bend of the steps leading downstairs. One missed step or stumble and it could be a very bad and possibly deadly mess.

    • Ellen
      February 8, 2015, 5:20 pm

      Safety first!

    • Mimi
      February 8, 2015, 10:15 pm

      It doesn’t look like there’s any glass in that window.

    • E Enas
      February 9, 2015, 2:04 pm

      Yea, it’s an opening in the wall. The other side is the office space. You can see it in a different photo.

    • April 14, 2015, 5:30 pm

      I don’t think that “window” has any glass in it, there is the small porch/office on the other side of that wall, so I think it’s just an opening.

  • colleen
    February 7, 2015, 8:46 pm

    It is wonderful.

    • M
      April 16, 2016, 1:59 am

      Yes. I could sit on that little upper deck all day and look at the sea.

  • Denise
    February 7, 2015, 11:04 pm

    Denise is right (looks like we have two Denise’s :), it is very affordable for this area. Most of the houseboats on Lake Union are a LOT more. And it is lovely – that is no fixer. I love how the natural wood walls warms things up with the blue carpet and red and orange accents.

  • Keith G.
    February 8, 2015, 3:20 am

    There used to be a sort of floating hotel comprised of several houseboats on Lake Union, where you could rent one of these for quite a reasonable fee. I stayed in one, a bit smaller than this, one weekend a number of years ago, and it was really wonderful. I’ll never forget it. There’s just something about being on the water like that, with other boats – and occasional seaplanes! – coming and going from time to time, other similarly-inclined people around you, the sounds of gulls and loons and who knows what around you… It forms a unique community by virtue of its differentness, and all of this made for a very enjoyable stay. Whether I’d enjoy it year-round, particularly in the cold months, I can’t say, but for the time I was there, it was pretty awesome!

    • Cahow
      February 8, 2015, 9:16 am

      You put me in a happy frame of mind with your nice memory of your stay in one of these, Keith G. 😀

    • Eric
      April 16, 2016, 12:12 am

      Loons??? As in the late Keith Moon of the Who?

  • drew williams
    February 8, 2015, 3:34 am

    The living room looks so inviting. And the view being on the water is just amazing. This house shows what living small is all about, everything has a place to allow the family to use the room to it’s advantage. Really nice.I bet it would be easy to sleep at night living on the water and experiencing the rocking from the water.

  • Cahow
    February 8, 2015, 9:20 am

    Happy Almost Birthday, dear Houseboat!!! Our cottage was also ‘born’ in 1920 and we’re a mere 5 years away from owning a Centennial Cottage whereby our township awards us a Bronze Plaque to place on the house…woo-hoo!!!
    Lovely way to spend your time, either part time or living here year round. I loved the stair design SO much that I Copied & Pasted all the stair photos in my Tiny House folder; LOVE the economy of the design and even my ancient bones could scramble up that stair.

  • Jesse James
    February 8, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Do they actually ever take it out away from the mooring ? Seems it may be a bit hard to handle on water.

    • Keith G
      April 15, 2015, 2:23 pm

      I think this example is really more accurately called a “floating home” than a “houseboat.” The difference according to consensus is that a houseboat is (or was intended to be) navigable – i.e. it has engine, rudder, control area / “bridge” / cockpit. This one does not, and so would need to be towed to be relocated.

  • Sandi B
    February 9, 2015, 2:46 am

    While the house is very nice — it is ridiculously over priced! While Seattle is my home city I will probably never return there as it has become way too expensive.

  • Sarah
    February 9, 2015, 12:20 pm

    The price seems high. Especially when you take into consideration the cost of rental fees for the dock space or if the dock space is included, the cost of general up keep. Besides all that, the kitchen is nice with that long bit of counter space, the desk area has lots of great storage, & I love the deck. 🙂 Floating houses are my favorite … just so expensive.

  • Liane
    February 11, 2015, 10:06 am

    This place is so inviting. The plants have had a nice life there. And all those cookbooks in the kitchen! And that long dining table! Can’t you just imagine the wonderful dinner parties? Conversations inside and outside. And when all have gone to their own homes you crawl into that window facing bed listening to sea sounds.

  • Kate
    February 18, 2015, 10:49 pm

    “We” have been thinking about living on the water. This is not only overpriced, but it looks like a granny lives on it. The kitchen is ancient, not even ‘heritage’. For that kind of price, at least the kitchen would be updated. Then there is no clue given regarding the underside condition. Normally I try to find the positive but sorry, not even if I had deep pockets would I consider this.

    • Keith G
      April 15, 2015, 2:19 pm

      I don’t know your age group, Kate, but from my perspective (50+) it looks nicely done. Truly, different strokes for different folks on this. Most nautical design motifs that I’ve seen have tended toward the shabby chic style, of which this is a pretty good example. I don’t particularly like the combination of the kitchen curtains with the cabinets, but could probably live with either one or the other! But this house has a truly deluxe degree of deck space outside, and that together with the coziness of the rooms within, based on my limited knowledge of Seattle area prices, it seems that the selling price was quite reasonable (though the ask was a bit high).

      • Kate
        April 15, 2015, 2:37 pm

        LOL I reviewed the pixs again. I was still turned off by the kitchen. I am 65+(ouch). I did spend a summer on a friend’s yacht and while it was not as roomy as this, we did have plenty of deck space.
        I do know I would not have paid as much as this sold for. I know little things like the kitchen and carpeting could have been remedied, for that much money? it would have had to be spot on. BTW, I don’t consider myself to be picky.

    • Keith G
      April 15, 2015, 3:31 pm

      Hey, don’t “ouch” the age… I want to continue to look forward to it. :). The only reason I mentioned age at all was that your earlier comment made me think you were a young’n (you know, 30’s or so!) who had to have more of a showpiece kitchen. Probably because I work in the real estate industry and have seen too many of these in the homes of people who don’t even cook, I would rather see a well-used hotplate than an unused Gaggenau kitchen. If I were serious about buying, of course I’d critique many of the same things to haggle on the price. But as a piece of work to consider on its own terms, I find little fault. Or let’s say I can find many that I dislike more than this!!

  • Brenda
    February 21, 2015, 5:12 pm

    Love your home, how hard was it to select which piece of furniture to keep or get rid of?

  • Jeanne
    February 21, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Too bad they don’t have it decorated very nicely. Those kitchen cabinets would give me nightmares!

  • Lloyd
    February 26, 2015, 7:58 am

    Would love to get my hands on the blueprints for this one.

    • May 13, 2015, 12:00 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. I would love to build something like this on solid ground. It seems like a really good size to be comfortable and yet still fit in the “small” category. I like the stair design — doesn’t take up half a room yet looks quite functional.

      • Stephan of Arkansas
        April 6, 2020, 7:14 pm

        Thank U, Gayle. My thoughts exactly — this structure (or very similar) built on a foundation on land. I’d love to see the floor plan. Interesting varied roof line with a dormer and shed roof. Nice wood deck. Highest praises! These comments respectfully submitted.

  • RJ Smith
    April 14, 2015, 2:45 pm

    Absolutely beautiful but not in my reach, only something to dream about

  • Dominick Bundy
    April 14, 2015, 4:19 pm

    I like everything about it. But think it would be better if it were on land instead.. My main concern would be. What happens if it ever sprung a leak. (besides sinking, that is)

  • Bill Entrekin
    April 14, 2015, 4:49 pm

    This is a dream come true residence, if you can afford it…

  • April 14, 2015, 5:33 pm

    I only have two comments (I know, crazy, right?).
    First: for $450k, I’d need ONE color on the cabinets and not so much carpet.

    Secondly: The Stripper pole is just a bit too close to the stairs for my taste, one could hurt themselves with that tight proximity. 🙂

  • Nancy M.
    April 14, 2015, 6:23 pm

    Dreamy, overpriced, “Sleepless in Seattle.”. Those are my only comments.

  • Susanne
    April 18, 2015, 3:47 pm

    Almost had a heart attack when saw the prices.

  • Victoria
    May 2, 2015, 12:21 pm

    You know whats really sad, is the tiny house concept is really the key to breaking free of our capitalist thinking that we’ve been so brainwashed to pivot around. This democracy was focused on those who had nothing and to give them the power to have a decent life, but over time the money mongers taking more and more control, convinced us we had to buy, buy, buy. Fact is, we could go pack to much simpler and love filled (instead of money filled) lives via Tiny House communities, like sharing community garden, babysitting for ea other, being there for each other and just drop the constant pursuit of money, its not going to have much value anyway in the near future, so we should focus on setting ourselves free and return to real community

  • Lil Haus
    May 10, 2015, 8:56 am

    Houseboat=BLUE carpet…always. My hubby says that’s so I can’t see the water they always track in!! Grrrr…..

    I’m from the land o houses dotted on the hills made from ticky tacky that cost at least $650 large to start (So Cal), so the price didn’t make me gasp or anything. But for the price…where’s the horsepower?? I wanna CRUISE!!!

    I wanna take my watery dwelling for a lil moonlight motor once in a while! I wanna explore coves and bays! I wanna anchor in a little leeward area and sway to the rhythm of the current all night!

    Our boat is on a fresh water lake far inland…miles and miles of shores with hidden coves to explore…THAT’S what I like about houseboats! This one’s cool and all, but for all it’s worth, you may as well have a condo on the bay. I mean, if you’re gonna live with the imminent and ever-present peril of waking up at the bottom of the lake, may as well get more travel out of it. I always say.

  • Rev
    June 16, 2016, 11:55 am

    Five stars for container gardens.

    Five stars for the hybrid stairs.

    Five stars for the upper deck.

    Five stars for the office with a view.

    Five stars for the truly bizarre kitchen! POW!

  • Richard L. Herrington
    August 15, 2016, 4:20 pm

    All this really proves is the reality that if you want to have nice things in life… you better have a lot of money to afford them. The reality is very simply: The quality of life you get to have is strictly determined by how much money you have. It’s all about the money!

  • Gerri
    August 15, 2016, 6:44 pm

    Nice but look how close the neighbours are!

  • Large Marge
    August 15, 2016, 8:36 pm

    ZONG! Kitchen cabs! Wowza!

    The horizontal planking inside gives a sense of widening and lengthening the space.

    ZONG! What a kitchen!

  • Laura
    August 16, 2016, 4:54 am

    Shoddy looking. Needs major redecorating. If that’s the price for location, I’ll stay put.

  • Trisha
    August 17, 2016, 1:41 pm

    Prices in Seattle have become insane. I remember those same little houseboats selling from about $25K back in the early 70’s when I was at the UW. Always wanted one, but could never afford one now. They were where “poor” students lived and rowed across both Lake Union and Lake Washington to attend class…. My how times have changed!

    April 15, 2017, 8:29 pm

    It is really big, but I love everything about it…! It is something I could make work for me regardless so long as I’m on or near the open water…!

  • Gail
    April 16, 2017, 12:15 pm

    love it. looks so cozy and comfy. Nice water view too.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 17, 2017, 7:25 am

      Gotta love water views 🙂

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