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Small Houseboat is 550 Square Feet of Bliss: Would You Live Here?

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Would you consider living in this 550-square-foot small houseboat?

Affordable Floating Homes is a division of First Mate Builders and Olympia Construction. Mike Auderer designed and built this wonderful humble home on wheels from scratch so he can downsize from a four-story Victorian home according to Thurston Talk. It’s a two-story houseboat with all of the accommodations of the home as you’ll see in the photos below.

So far it has been featured on sites like Inhabitat and the OregonLive. In addition, it’s one of the first houseboats to earn the Built Green Certification.

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550 Sq. Ft. Floating Cottage/Houseboat

I love the two-story layout and the French doors with a view of the water. The two-story floating home has been named the “sweet pea” by Mike because of its green color.

Even though Mike is the owner of his own construction company, building a houseboat was a first for him. So he started by taking lots of photos for inspiration.

Since Mike has made this downsizing lifestyle change he feels better because he walks more often, uses his vehicle less, and gets to enjoy and contribute more to Olympia.

The bedroom is up on the second floor with more than enough room for closets and a king-size bed.

Downsizing doesn’t always have to be tiny. It can be 550-square-feet or even 1,000-square-feet. It really just depends on where you’re coming from. And the best part is you don’t have to give up everything you’re used to either.

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  1. https://inhabitat.com/the-tiny-sweet-pea-is-the-first-houseboat-to-be-certified-by-build-green

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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!
{ 37 comments… add one }
  • November 22, 2012, 11:47 am

    Absolutely I would, it’s perfect! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your American readers!
    – Mili

    • November 23, 2012, 6:53 pm

      Thanks Mili hope you enjoyed! Alex

  • TomLeeM
    November 22, 2012, 11:56 am

    I would not mind living in or on a house boat; especially if it looked as nice as the one shown.

  • alice h
    November 22, 2012, 5:46 pm

    Seriously droolworthy! If liveaboard moorage were cheap and plentiful I’d love to live in houseboat like this.

    • Marcy
      January 9, 2015, 10:08 pm

      Me, too! So attractive, good use of space, nice outdoor space. Really like!

    • Les Hemby
      October 28, 2019, 12:18 pm

      A pretty junky one in tx needing a lot of work is 20000

  • jerryd
    November 22, 2012, 10:02 pm

    When building a boat like this a couple things to be sure of. Make sure the botton is fiberglassed and the hull is divided into multiple compartments, 8+ so if you get a leak it doesn’t sink you.

    If wood be sure lots of airflow in the lower part to keep dry rot from taking hold. PT plywood it a good idea in the hull at least.

    If you want to move around think of going to 2 hulls again with multiple comparments, 4+, in each. They mave much faster on much less power. This one couldn’t go over 6mph even with a lot of power.

    Living on the water is great in many ways but you need to do things and pay attention to not get into a problem. It’s not hard.

    Also talk to the old timers about bad wqeather, flooding, etc that your area might have and what to do when it happens so you are prepared and not surprised.

  • November 24, 2012, 4:40 pm


    Thanks for sharing the floating house boat. I commented on several photos on their Facebook page. very well built and simple. I really liked it. Thanks again.

  • Bill in Cheyenne
    November 24, 2012, 10:19 pm

    Didn’t see any photo of bedroom. Would want a railing on the stairs. Door upstairs opens to ??? Another deck sitting area?

    It would be easy to build in some floatation with foam blocks or rectangles, which could also insulate floor, from water temperature. Would be nice to be wide enough to have walk from front to back deck outside. Fibreglass on outside of hull is shown in construction photos on another site.
    I agree with jerryd on twin hulls for movement. But if you wanted to live on it, in a visual paradise, you could always have it towed or tow it yourself.
    It doesn’t have to be powered.

  • jerryd
    November 24, 2012, 10:59 pm

    Hi Deborah and All,

    I have 45 yrs building boats and 35 yrs designing, building, sailing and living on all kinds. If anyone has a question I’m happy to help.

    Living onboard is a great way to live and very low cost. So low I only have to work 1-2 months/yr.

    And the people, especially liveaboard sailors, are the best group of any I’ve found. A great tiny home method with so many places to live legally for little or no cost.

    • JoyceB
      November 29, 2012, 6:48 am

      I love this houseboat but it’s way too big for me. Going upstairs to sleep isn’t what I want. JerryD living onboard sounds fantastic. You inspire me with the thought. I don’t sail (took lessons) but I love the water and the thought of a tiny house on water is intriguing. How does one get started?

  • Dina
    November 25, 2012, 10:59 am

    Absolutely lovely! I would DEFINITELY live in this beautiful floating home.

  • sesameB
    December 7, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Sweet. Sorry, I do not live or like living near water. I love my mountains here in Arkansas.

  • Holly
    January 8, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I love it but I won’t live on water.

  • Randy
    November 13, 2013, 4:19 pm

    Absolutely! I want to down-size considerably and a home like this would be awesome!

  • latoya jimenez juarez
    March 23, 2014, 2:49 pm

    What about COB houses do you also build those?

  • Maribel arroyo
    March 26, 2014, 7:20 am

    Is it legal to have a tiny house boat in Florida Cape Coral and how much does it cost to build?

    • Harper
      April 7, 2014, 5:15 pm

      Good question. I’m moving to Naples and want to build a tiny house near there. Wouldn’t rule out a tiny houseboat.

  • Kate
    June 15, 2014, 8:49 pm

    Makes me think of happier days. Love the inspiration and the lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.

  • Elisa
    June 25, 2014, 2:43 pm

    I would love to live in something like this, full or part time. Finding information on where legal, what one needs to get approval, etc., etc. is not easy. I also wouldn’t mind renting one for several months to try it out first but when I search for something like that I only get info on short term rental at over the top (for me) prices.

  • Jeremy
    August 27, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Love this! I would be interested to know what something like this would cost. There is a houseboat for sale where I am (for 249K) and it’s no where near as nice.

    My only concern with a houseboat is would it just be a depreciable asset, kind of like a vehicle? Because with a house you actually own the property, but you don’t own the ocean the houseboat floats on, or the dock you’re moored to.

    • Alex
      August 27, 2014, 1:37 pm

      Interesting question… I’m not sure! Can anyone else chime in on this?

      • Mamea
        July 15, 2015, 8:40 pm

        Yes, it is completely a depreciable asset, no question, just like an RV. When you own a home on land and it rises in value, it is not the house that rises in value; it is the land. The building on the land, what it consists of and how it is maintained, simply makes the land more saleable; the building itself is a depreciable item.

    • Osric
      October 2, 2014, 10:54 am

      An article about this house said the cost for this model (the Sweet Pea) “starts at” $150k

  • Keith G
    September 5, 2014, 10:45 am

    There used to be a company in Seattle, based at Lake Union, that would rent houseboats as short-term hotel accommodations. I stayed in one once! I loved it. My parents lived down the coast, and I was meeting them that day for lunch, and I swear they were more excited to see the houseboat/hotel than to see me! And I didn’t blame them a bit!

    While the reality of living on the water in the inclement weather has to be taken into account, it’s so peaceful and seems like it could really be kind of fun living that way, at least based on my short little sojourn. I encourage you to try it if you can!

  • Karen R
    January 9, 2015, 12:11 pm

    Super home. Double burner range seems like a good idea!

  • Bargemast
    January 9, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Top Commenter Jeff Webb’s comment isn’t to be taken very seriously, as he only lived a couple of months on a boat.
    I’ve been living and working on boats and barges for 43 years now, and I’ve never lived in the conditions he’s talking about. I would love to see what this boat he lived on was, surely not much good, that’s for sure.
    For me there’s nothing better then living on the water.

  • Lisa E.
    January 9, 2015, 12:55 pm

    When I first thought of downsizing, I wanted a houseboat like this one. No one ever talks about the cost of owning something like this. It isn’t even the initial build, it the docking fees, and the services for waste removal, and slip fees, and licensing fees and all the rest of the bureaucratic nonsense each local government tacks on and the hoops they make you jump so in the end all the joy has been killed out of it. I don’t see other floating homes in this picture. I think there are reasons for this. Most local governments don’t want this type of housing. They want McMansions so they can charge big property taxes to get bigger salaries; it’s a rigged game. I think we need a Tiny House Lobby to fight some of these unnecessary and excessively charged taxes and fees just to keep this kind of housing for only those who can afford it or are willing enough to run the gauntlet. This is really nice. They should have a designated Tiny House Floating Park designed along the lines of housing in Dubai to be fair about it.

  • charles
    January 9, 2015, 1:51 pm

    i love the layout of living room/kitchen!

  • Joseph Varano
    January 9, 2015, 2:09 pm

    Can you please send plans, builders, and costs?

  • Linda Taylor
    June 12, 2015, 4:06 pm

    We live in a small town in SE Ga. I have always wanted to be one of a small part of living in a Tiny House. I had even thought about getting one of the of those larger wooden storage building delivered out here in the country and turning it into a Tiny home, but being 66, disabled and living on S.S. makes it just a Tiny dream. I already have my stove, frig. and a portable dish washer, so at least some of my major items are purchased. If you know of anyone that has a Tiny home for rent in my area, please let me know. Thanks so much, and keep those great little homes going.

  • Diane
    May 28, 2017, 3:59 pm

    I am interested in buying a tiny floating barge home. Not sure who to call or speak with. I would like a realtors name and phone number if possible. Looking for a place on the East Coast. I prefer more south where the weather would be warmer in winter.
    Any help is greatly appricated

  • Gille
    October 24, 2018, 10:10 pm

    I would live in there if it was not so dark

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