London’s housing crisis is reaching a boiling point. In the face of the city’s shrinking supply in housing, designer Marco Monterzino tapped into a more affordable alternative to landlocked properties: houseboats. The Turin-born designer repurposed a century-old canal icebreaker into a chic floating home named Liz that blends contemporary elements with historic charm.
Originally built to break through iced-over canals and provide safe passage to working boats, Liz dates back to 1908 and was found in the waterways of the former coal mining regions in Northern England. The boat started as an empty shell and was overhauled to create a contemporary and comfortable interior that looks surprisingly more spacious than its 18-square-meter footprint lets on. Monterzino creates this illusion of spaciousness by maximizing natural light, painting the wall white, and creating a long and uninterrupted open-plan layout that extends from bow to stern. Bespoke furnishings also offer space-saving solutions.
Due to historic licenses, the houseboat owner is allowed to cruise freely through the canals and moor at designated areas for up to two weeks at a time. The tiny floating home can even be operated for over two weeks off-grid thanks to high-efficiency insulation, solar panels, and other onboard systems.
Images via Marco Monterzino