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This Portage Bay floating home is like a better beach house

In this house, you’re always on the water

Laura Lowery

Cape Cod homes were originally built to withstand waterfront locations, so it makes sense that the design would work on top of the water, too.

The style gives this wood-shingle, two-bedroom, one-bathroom home a beach house vibe, although “beach house” would sell its location a little short. This floating home is docked in Portage Bay, nestled between Lake Union and the narrower point of the Ship Canal.

The one-story design means vaulted ceilings in every room, accented by wood slats and exposed beams. An open kitchen tucks away luxury appliances next to a living area and a small dining nook.

Large, paned windows throughout the home let in plenty of natural light. The current owner tells us that sometimes the light bounces off the water and onto the ceiling. Three opening skylights mean ready access to the sun or views of the rain coming down on wetter days.

Multiple sets of French doors open to take in the water, and transition the inside of the house nicely to a wide, wraparound deck built from cedar imported from the San Juans. Those windows and doors extend to the interior walls, too, threading an airy feel throughout the home.

Every inch counts in a floating home, but giving up baths—especially when you’re surrounded by water—seems like an unfortunate compromise. Here, the bathroom design avoids compromise with a Japanese-style soaking tub, built by the previous owners out of limestone and sea glass.

To avoid a cramped shower, the home expands on a boat bathroom concept and turns the entire, riverstone-tiled bathroom into one gigantic shower—although instead of the standard, bare-minimum boat shower, this has a rain showerhead and plenty of wiggle room.

Radiant heat means that the home, including the bathroom, stays cozy even when the bay is chilly.

If the 1,000 square feet inside isn’t quite enough to store all your floating-home supplies, a small shed with matching wood shingles also sits on the float. Think of it as a kayak garage.

The home, which has spent the last year or so as a vacation rental, is listed for $850,000; moorage rent is $750 a month.

This home has been relisted since we first covered it; this article has been updated with the current asking price and moorage.