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Couple’s Off-Grid Floating Home Lifestyle in Florida


Remember the Silver Pearl houseboat on Airbnb that Alex showed off last week? Genevieve and her husband own that boat, but also live off-grid in their very own floating home called the “Island Gypsy.”

Before they invested in a vacation property, they moved into the Island Gypsy — she felt like were “cheating” being hooked up to shore power, so they figured out how to create an off-grid home and have been living that way for a few years!

She sent us a beautiful description of their life on the water, which you can read after the photo tour of their houseboat. Enjoy!

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Couple Living Off-Grid on the Water w/ 360* Views!

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home!

Images via Genevieve

You can’t get a “waterfront” porch better than this one!

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home! 5

Images via Genevieve

What a view! Sunsets galore!

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home! 3

Images via Genevieve

Inside, it feels like a homey beach cottage.

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home! 2

Images via Genevieve

The leg lamp!! 😂

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home!

Images via Genevieve

Climb up on the roof for even better views!

Island Gypsy Houseboat: Off-Grid Floating Home! 4

Images via Genevieve

From Genevieve:

Five years before we launched Jumana-the Silver Pearl Chris and I started our tiny house HOUSEboat journey aboard the Island Gypsy (she is at anchor not far from the SilverPearl) and has been our home for these past years.
The island Gypsy truly is a floating-home, she has no motors. We purchased her in N Fort Myers and had her towed to a marina in Goodland where she was at a slip we rented for the first 4+ years. Daily, passing boaters and people on the dock would take pictures and videos and comment about how they would love to try living like this. I would jokingly say we were on the Hollywood tour of homes. But as long as we were connected to shore power and water I felt like a bit of a scam. So years of research, trial and error, learning to live within limitations and just plain stubbornness we developed enough to be able to go off-grid and in-turn offer the opportunity for others to experience our typical day-to-day aboard the Island Gypsy on the SilverPearl.
Our home is comfortable, larger than many 1 bedroom condos, we have all the amenities we (or anyone) needs. No waterfront, multi-million dollar home can surpass our 360* degree view. We don’t have squirrels running in our yard but we have dolphins swimming around and tarpon breaching. Pelicans crashing headfirst to get their breakfast and gulls pestering them to share. The baby osprey have been booted from the nest by their parents; they are not impressed and a green gull uses one of our anchor lines to fish from after the sea turtle is done munching on the greens draping across the line.
On my way from shore I’ve had string-rays cross my path and manatee follow beside the small skiff on my way home. Every morning the sunrise is glorious and when it sets just as amazing. Then out come the stars and the moon. I use to take the moon for granted, not anymore. It’s how the oceans breath, twice a day the tide comes and goes. The moon pushes and pulls billions of gallons of water. And the storms, oh my: the wind, the rain, the power of nature. And most days the sun keeping our spirit and batteries fully charged.
Are there challenges? Absolutely! Some have proven quite humorous and others quite scary. But in the grand scheme of how to live, I really couldn’t imagine another way being as fulfilling a way of life as this is.

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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.
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • merryl
    May 24, 2021, 12:21 pm

    Oh wow this is amazing! I would totally live here. I can see myself sitting on the porch with my coffee. It dosnt get better then that.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 25, 2021, 1:53 pm

      I’m all about finding magical coffee spots.

  • jerry dycus
    May 24, 2021, 2:52 pm

    A very nice boat and a great way to live.
    But rather large and in boats everything costs by the ‘.
    So if doing this you are far better off going for a tiny house vibe and keeping it as short as possible and the hull/hulls divided into many water tight compartments.
    Look up DIY houseboat plans and most should get a nice one in just 16’ and can be used on land too.
    Then with solar, tidal generation and power, water catching you can live very nicely on very little money.

    • Genevieve
      June 20, 2021, 6:27 pm

      Typical boats are costed by the length. But the Island Gypsy isn’t a typical boat it was homemade in 1972. Chris and I lucked out when it came up for sale right when we were looking for an alternative home. It was floating but no working motors or anything else boat like. We did all fix-ups using Lowe’s, Homedepot and other typical DIY suppliers. Island Gypsy has more in common with older modular homes than with boats. A fun combination of “home-sweet-home” renovation challenges.

  • Marsha Cowan
    May 24, 2021, 10:57 pm

    This is wonderful! There’s nothing like being near or on water, and this tiny house would be so comfortable to live in. It does look like a beach cottage. Very warm and cozy, but with great water views. I love this!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 25, 2021, 1:47 pm

      I think it’s so cool that they managed to transform it into an off-grid space.

    • Genevieve
      June 20, 2021, 6:33 pm

      Thank you Marsha, it is a lovely way to live. There are unique challenges but worth it!

  • Laura Walsh
    May 25, 2021, 5:05 pm

    I love this idea of living in a floating home and being able to anchor where one can…..what a lovely way to live full-time.

  • Melissa Robinson
    May 26, 2021, 1:37 am

    I’d love to see their house boat in person. Do you know if they have any social media page Natalie? I would like to reach out to them. Thanks!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 28, 2021, 3:00 pm

      Hi Melissa! I’m not sure if they allow people to visit their personal house, but they have an Airbnb houseboat and you can contact the hosts here >>>https://tinyhousetalk.com/island-gypsy-houseboat-off-grid-floating-home/

  • Genevieve
    June 20, 2021, 6:41 pm

    Hi Natalie, thank you for sharing our island Gypsy story. Going off grid was scary at first but proved to be possible! You do have to give up things (you think you need) but can do the happy dance when you realize you can get by just fine without them. And the bonus is when or/if power goes out you don’t even notice.

  • Genevieve
    June 22, 2021, 12:28 pm

    Yes! That is a classic leg-lamp from the Christmas Story movie. I also have a moose egg-nog mug from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. They make me smile 🙂

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