Spaces

THE MODERN HOUSEBOAT

7th March 2014

Every so often I’ll come across a property that just stops me in my tracks. It might be a great piece of architecture; it might be a super-cool interior or an amazing location. Or, in this case, it might be all three. When I spotted this ‘house’ while scanning through the holiday lets available from The Modern House (and there are some beauties on there, believe me) it reminded me afresh of the many unique and exciting forms of contemporary architecture that are out there to be experienced, including architecture that just happens to be on water.

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Maybe it’s just me but when I hear the word ‘houseboat’ I’m visualizing something a little more, well, rustic. Characterful, yes, but perhaps also a little cramped. I’m certainly not visualizing a striking and minimal floating house with an entire wall of glazing and a fantastic open plan living space. Nor a structure of such graphic simplicity, where the interior is pared back to the essentials so as not to detract from the views, but where those essentials are also beautifully designed.

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The Modern Houseboat is located on Lake Rummelsburg, a small bay in the River Spree, and is just 15 minutes from the centre of Berlin. I haven’t been to Berlin for years, and though I keep planning a return visit it never seems to happen. Looking at The Modern Houseboat just makes that longing even stronger – I mean, can you imagine visiting Berlin and staying here?

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The entire front elevation faces onto the bay and offers views of the city and the landmark Berliner Fernsehturm. I love the combination of steel and timber that grants the interior an industrial quality – albeit with a very refined and elegant aesthetic. This is a gorgeously tactile space, from the external timber decking to the smooth concrete that skims through the interior.

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The living area includes a retractable double bed and a sofa, while the main bedroom also overlooks the water. Most of the furniture is bespoke. Air conditioning keeps the houseboat cool in summer, while a woodburner blasts out warmth on chillier days and nights. And – oh details, details – two Bella Ciao bikes are available for guests to use. The fact that even the bikes are design classics handmade in Italy says a lot about the commitment to quality and passion for design that is so evident here.

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The Modern Houseboat sleeps two adults and two children and rates range from €180 to €250 per night for two people. See the listing on The Modern House.

See the Steller story on The Modern Houseboat.

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