Providing a fusion of the trends for tiny houses and breezy boat living, one Kentucky-based company has unveiled a charming nautical abode aptly dubbed the “Tiny.” And the little vessel packs a huge surprise. How? Well, the luxurious home is both deceptively spacious and fully kitted out with a host of sumptuous features.
The Tiny has been crafted by Harbor Cottage Houseboats, which is located close to so-called “houseboat capital of the world” Lake Cumberland, KY. And the impressive invention has gained plenty of media attention – most notably appearing on HGTV’s Tiny House, Big Living. What’s more, the boat manufacturer claims that the Tiny is its most in-demand model to date. And it’s not hard to see why that may be.
Jimmy Hamilton, who works as Harbor Cottage Houseboats’ general manager, opened up about the design in an interview with the Tiny House Blog. “I’m really excited about this tiny boat,” he said. “We usually build much larger floating homes and houseboats. But I convinced my dad that the tiny revolution is where it’s at.”
And a tour of the pocket-sized property reveals just what has been packed into its 400-square-foot main space. Boasting many of the amenities of a contemporary home, the Tiny has an 11-foot by 10-foot fitted kitchen with a large sink as well as an oven, a microwave, a dishwasher and a refrigerator. Meanwhile, the breakfast bar sitting in the middle of the room makes for the perfect spot for morning meals.
The open-plan interior makes the houseboat great for socializing too, with the living area comfortably fitting a sofa and flat-screen TV. Next to the lounge area, the houseboat also has a small utility section boasting a dishwasher and a combination washing machine and dryer.
On the other side of the deck, the roomy bathroom has been finished with plenty of grandeur. Housing a sleek bathtub with an overhead shower and gleaming tiles, this small room certainly isn’t scrimping on luxury. But one of the biggest surprises about this humble vessel may be that six people can easily sleep here.
There’s a master suite with a king-sized bed, for instance, as well as a guest room complete with a double bed and twin beds. Explaining the mission behind his company’s miniature houseboats to the Tiny House Blog, Hamilton said, “Our goal is to make living on the water, house-boating and recreating on our waterways affordable and accessible for all Americans.”
And the vessel also has ample exterior space. The Tiny has porches to the front and rear, while there’s also a 400-square-foot deck on top. So, if the idea of kicking back after a long day floats your boat, then the sun deck, with its hot tub and boozy bar for nightcaps, should fit the bill.
Justifiably proud of the company’s small but perfectly formed houseboat, Hamilton explained more about the craft’s dimensions. He told the Tiny House Blog, “The Tiny is just over 400 square foot. It is 16 foot wide and 52 foot long from bow to stern swim platform. So, it has plenty of outdoor space.”
Hamilton added, “We can build these boats to order in as little as 90 days and ship them anywhere in the USA.” With lead times as short as that, it obviously helps that the vessels are U.S.-built. “We manufacture our boats from top to bottom in Somerset, KY, including building our own aluminum hulls which are suitable for fresh and/or saltwater applications,” Hamilton confirmed.
As for the price? Well, the Tiny can be snapped up for $129,000. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the boat featured here has a few luxe extras. Hamilton added to the Tiny House Blog, “[The show vessel] has some super-expensive granite, a pop-up helm, [a] Murphy bed and all kinds of LED rope lighting and accent lighting.”
Hamilton added, “[The show boat] also has a roof bar, [a] hot tub [and a] slide and diving board, and the… price is $239,000.” The base cost of $129,000 buys a floating unit; after that, each houseboat can be customized or upgraded to fit the buyer’s needs.
But if even the lower price still seems too much to pay, then Hamilton had good news. He revealed, “We are building our second Tiny right now, and our hope is to get the base price down to $99,000 for a floater. It takes a couple iterations and scale to get making them more efficiently.” However, for anybody in the market for a floating home, there’s now yet another option.
In September 2018 Harbor Cottage Houseboats used its Facebook to make an exciting announcement: the company had unveiled its latest design, christened the “Tiny XL.” A smidge bigger than the Tiny, the new arrival offers a few more perks than its already trailblazing sister.
“Meet the Tiny XL, just recently launched and a first of its kind on Lake Cumberland!” Harbor Cottage Houseboats posted on the social media site. “This houseboat was modeled off our ever popular ‘tiny houseboat’ design; however, it is 8 foot longer… This beauty has heated marble floors in the bathrooms, custom kitchen cabinetry and dual wine coolers installed in the hull.”
But Hamilton and the team behind Harbor Cottage Houseboats don’t just want to make a cool product; they actually want people to embrace the lifestyle that comes with it. In a November 2017 interview with Country Living, Hamilton explained, “What I’m trying to do is make a tiny boat that is also something that people actually want to live in.”
If you can’t commit to the water just yet, though, then you may be happy to know that the company also rents out its houseboats. A week on the Tiny, for instance, comes in at under $2,800 for the “super saver” package. Alternatively, one Airbnb host is offering a stay on a Harbor Cottage Houseboat in Nancy for about $1,135 per night.
And with the cost of housing still rising, a greater number of people are shunning traditional brick-and-mortar homes in favour of more unusual abodes. Misa Gidding-Chatfield and Mike Kraft are two such individuals. Back in 2007, the San Francisco couple had wanted to move in together, but they couldn’t afford to buy their own home in the Californian city. The pair chose, then, to live on the water instead.
And ten years after making their fateful decision, the duo see no reason to move back on land. “I always wanted to live on a boat,” Kraft told Business Insider in 2017. According to his partner, though, his buddies weren’t so sure. “Our friends and family thought we were crazy,” Gidding-Chatfield said.
However, due to the astronomical cost of buying a home in San Francisco – the median price of a house there has nearly doubled to $1.6 million since 2005 – it’s not hard to see why the savvy pair balked. Instead, they spent just $300,000 on a 58-foot fishing boat. And nowadays, Kraft and Gidding-Chatfield only have to fork out for the boat’s mortgage and pay a monthly slip fee. Life, then, is a beach for the couple.