Water Villas: 3 Sleek Modern House Boats in Urban Settings

When the bustle of urban life becomes too much to bear, wouldn’t it be nice to retreat to your own private floating getaway – without even needing to travel? Modern house boats have all the amenities that come with living on land, and docked in an urban marina or canal, they’re just steps away from the excitement of the city. As urban centers become more populated and land more scarce, house boats could be an attractive option, especially when they’re as beautifully designed as these three.

Watervilla de Omval by +31 Architects

As fluid as the water it sits on and filled with light thanks to a wall of windows, the Watervilla de Omval is a stunning addition to the river Amstel in Amsterdam. Designed by +31 Architects, the Watervilla features a kitchen and living space at the top level with a view of the river, and cabins below the water line.

The roof slopes down in a split-level area which holds the stairway and the bathroom, creating a flat terrace for outdoor living in fair weather. Inside, an open floor plan featuring white plaster contrasting with touches of warm wood provides an open, airy feel.

Dubai House Boat by X-Architects

Built on two catamaran beams, this steel-and-glass house boat floats in the Dubai marina against one of the world’s most dramatic skylines. X-Architects and interior decorator-architect Leen Vandaele gave the two-story home a clean and simple shape and a nearly all-white color palette for a thoroughly modern result.

The upper deck contains a concealed kitchen, a living room and an informal dining area while the lower deck houses the bedrooms, bathroom and steering cabin. The home also features a spiral staircase and a terrace.

MetroShip: “The Original Modern House Boat”

If you’ve got a quarter of a million dollars to spare, you can have a MetroShip of your very own – a modern luxury houseboat hand-made in the USA by Ballinger & Co. Measuring 12 feet wide and 48 feet long, the MetroShip was inspired by the open plan of New York City loft spaces.

At night, the MetroShip lights up like a lantern, with translucent walls reminiscent of Japanese shoji screens. It’s filled with top-of-the-line appliances and furnishings including a Viking and Gaggenau kitchen, an Italian marble bathroom with Kohler shower, Sony LCD HD televisions and a W Hotel bed. Twin 60-horsepower Honda outboard engines make it easy to steer it into your harbor of choice.