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Darcy Chose a Boat over a Mortgage – And It’s Awesome!

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Darcy, age 24, was about to buy her own home and jump into the world of mortgages, when her dad asked, “What about a boat?”

At first she thought he had to be kidding, but when he showed her the inside of this 60×12.5 widebeam, she saw a blank slate for her interior design skills (she designs kitchens for a living!). So she bought it, and has been living in it since February 2020 (although it’s only been in the water for a week).

She’s located outside of Nottinghamshire in England (follow her @boathousemidlands), and moors with a residential license which is cheaper than renting a place on her own. The size of the boat makes her wary of steering it on her own, but she gets to live on the water in the peace of nature instead of the hustle and bustle of city center!

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Darcy’s Sleek and Modern Boat Renovation

You’d never know from this picture that this is the inside of a boat!

Before she painted the back wall black, here’s a close-up of some of the decor.

How gorgeous is her table?

The kitchen is still in-progress, but it’s already gorgeous!

I love the flat-faced cabinets and white counters.

She’ll be adding a backsplash soon.

Her bedroom is all kinds of cozy!

What a perfect little office, or getting-ready vanity.

She’s definitely not wanting for storage with that closet!

Even the hallway looks lovely with these wooden doors.

Her bathroom is so luxurious!

This shower is dream-worthy.

Her boat, before it took off to “sea.”

Darcy Talks About Boat Life

What are your name(s)?

Hi! My names Darcy.

How many people (and animals) are living in your narrowboat?

It’s just me living on the boat.

Where do you live? How long have you lived tiny?

I live in Nottinghamshire and have done my whole 24 years of life. I have only lived on my floating home since February this year (2020) on land for 9 months. It has since been launched and I’m now in the water!

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

I work full time in a family business designing kitchens, which has come in handy when designing the boat. I love interior design so it has been a dream to put that to use in my own home!

Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

It had never crossed my mind to live on a boat and I was just about to look into getting a mortgage when the opportunity came up to purchase the boat I am in now. I was skeptical at first but I loved the thought of designing and living in something unique. As I’m single it didn’t seem necessary to move into a big house all by myself.

It has already proven to be very calming living on a boat surrounded by nature.

How did you first learn about boat life?

My dad lives on the same marina and has had his narrow boats for years now and absolutely loves it, although he lives in a house. I didn’t like the idea of living in a small narrow boat just because I wanted a bit more freedom when it came to the design, even though it did have its challenges!

How did you acquire your narrowboat? Are you comfortable sharing how much it cost? Have you done any renovations?

This boat was sat in a warehouse and my dad knew at the time I was looking to get a mortgage, but he said “what about a boat?” I looked at him like, “Are you kidding me?” But then he took me to see her and I was amazed by the space. It was completely empty when I got it and I loved the challenge of creating a layout exactly to my specifications despite the awkward shape. There are no spirit levels in the making of Reilly!

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

Mooring fees and electric is much cheaper than renting on my own, it’s all about finding the right place for your budget. But of course when you are travelling you won’t be paying mooring fees, it’s only because I will be on a residential mooring. Reilly is purely my floating home.

How did you find a place to “park” your boat? Or do you travel?

I’ve decided that the boat is a little too big for me to be travelling by myself, I can barely do a three point turn in a car so I wouldn’t risk anyone’s else’s boat with my driving! But I chose a mooring with a beautiful view!

Before going tiny, what was life like? Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

I lived in a shared house before the boat which I loved, but it was right in the city centre. Everything felt so busy and i always felt like I was either in a rush or stuck in traffic. Compared to now life felt hectic. I’ve seen a big improvement in my mental health after moving to the marina and much more relaxed.

But I do miss being able to order all of the amazing food, it’s too far out now!

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

Mainly feeling more relaxed, there’s no room for clutter on the boat so I know everything I own and where it is!

What about some challenges?

Renovating a boat is not that simple, it’s like trying to fix a car when you have no idea what you’re doing. That’s what it felt like anyway but you learn along the way and I had lots of help!

Actually living on one is so different, you take electricity, heating and water for granted when living in a house. I have to fill my water once a week, make sure I don’t have too many electrical appliances on at once and the pleasant job of emptying out waste tanks!

What makes your tiny home special?

The one thing I wanted to achieve was a boat that didn’t exactly feel like a boat on the inside. I wanted to stay away from the traditional Rosy and Jim vibe and go with something modern but cosy! I think what makes this boat so special is that it has been a project for both myself and my dad to work on, we had no marine specialists involved in the renovation inside, in some areas it shows but I call them qwerks!

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

That’s a tough question! I would say the living area, I’m still working on it and adding final touches but I love sitting in front of the fire reading a book! It’s really cosy with heading into the colder months!

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

If you’re someone who owns a lot of stuff you have to be brutal! If you find something you forgot you had. Get rid! You didn’t need it that bad!

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Our big thanks to Darcy for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • merryl
    November 6, 2020, 9:04 am

    wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Im blown away right now.This is amazing.Great job.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 6, 2020, 1:43 pm

      I totally agree!

  • Julie
    November 6, 2020, 2:53 pm

    I am so very proud of how hard Darcy has worked to achieve the amasing results on her first home. It would be a dream to be able to live on a boat with such lovely views. 😁 and as her mum, I get to stay as well 😊

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:13 pm

      Oh Julie you’ve raised one amazing daughter!

  • jerry dycus
    November 6, 2020, 2:58 pm

    While a very nice boat understand everything costs by the length and a large boat can own you rather than you owning it.
    So while living on a boat is more than great with the best people, get as small, short of one as you can live in.
    While built like a narrow boat I don’t think it is as too wide so won’t fit a lot of canals.
    I’d suggest even building a shanty boat which are simple boats many have lived in for 200 yrs. Just google Shanty boat plans and pick a plywood/epoxy one. Most can live comfortably in just 14′-26′ .
    Another is buy a used sailboat as with some shopping they can be found cheap, under $3k ready to sail.
    If you are willing to clean one up, you can get much cheaper. I got a 26′ nice model but badly needing cleaning, some repairs for free.

  • Holly Morrison
    November 6, 2020, 3:32 pm

    I absolutely love this place! It’s beautifully designed and living on the water and in nature is so healthy and soothing. I live in a 750 sq ft miner’s cottage (up here in Scotland) and would love to have this bathroom. You’ve done an exquisite job here! Every room is beautiful.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:12 pm

      Oh I’m so jealous that you live in Scotland!

  • vee
    November 6, 2020, 5:47 pm


    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:12 pm

      Most certainly. This is gorgeous.

  • Elizabeth A. Rubio
    November 6, 2020, 8:02 pm

    How lucky to have a dad with such a brilliant idea and willing to lend a helping hand, as well! Lovely build and decoration. Happy sailing!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:11 pm

      Right? I feel like usually parents push kids to buy homes!

  • Joe Kuchta
    November 6, 2020, 8:30 pm

    Gr8 design and living in a home on the water. 🌈👀😎

  • Marsha Cowan
    November 6, 2020, 8:42 pm

    Darcy, a composting toilet sounds perfect for you! One that only needs to have its small tray emptied once every few months into a flower garden or flower pots. Sun Mar makes such a composting toilet and it is the only company whose composting toilets are approved for residential use in North Carolina. It’s just a thought and may make your travels a little easier. The house is absolutely lovely! You did marvelous job : )

  • Sheila Plourde
    November 6, 2020, 10:40 pm

    This is stunning!!! Love it. Can I claim that I am a cousin of theirs?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:09 pm

      Hehe! Worth a shot.

  • Stephan of Arkansas
    November 6, 2020, 11:37 pm

    Seriously lovely and well thought out!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      November 9, 2020, 2:07 pm

      I was quite impressed!

  • Richard Lynn Herrington
    November 9, 2020, 5:33 pm

    What a resourceful young woman… with talent, imagination and intelligence. If I could have found a woman like you years ago, I would have gotten married, but alas… every woman I met was nothing at all like you, so I never married. Enjoy a life of peace, solitude and Freedom while living on your boat. You were very wise to buy this boat and to make it your home.

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