Century-Old Icebreaker Barge Converted into a Tiny Home on the Water

As people continue to seek out affordable alternative housing, houseboats have become an increasingly popular contender. This century-old canal icebreaker has been revamped by the Turin-born designer, Marco Monterzino.


Floating House Liz - Marco Monterzino - London - Exterior - Humble Homes

The icebreaker, simply titled Liz, can be found among London’s canals. The boat dates back to 1908 and was originally built to break through sheets of ice in the canals permitting passage for other vessels. When Marco came across the boat, it had been left as an empty shell, which suited him just fine, as he intended to transform it into a tiny home on the water.


Floating House Liz - Marco Monterzino - London - Interior - Humble Homes

The boat has a footprint of just 194 square feet (18 square meters). Marco’s renovations have resulted in a bright home that blends comfort with rustic charm. To help create the illusion of space, plenty of natural light was introduced, the walls were painted white, and the main living area is left uninterrupted where possible.


Floating House Liz - Marco Monterzino - London - Kitchen - Humble Homes

Bespoke furniture pieces are used to create functional, space-saving solutions. The kitchen consists of a stove, oven, sink and under-counter fridge, all packed into a 4 foot wide (1.2 meters) unit. Heating is accounted for through the use of a wood-burner.

Floating House Liz - Marco Monterzino - London - Wood Burner and Solar Panels - Humble Homes

It looks like the wood-burner is also used to provide hot water for the boat – several copper pipes feed in and out of it. For electricity, a few solar panels have been installed top-side, allowing Marco to go off-grid for up to two weeks.

Floating House Liz - Marco Monterzino - London - Top Porthole - Humble Homes

With a historic license, Marco is allowed to roam the canals freely and moor at designated sites for up to two weeks. It’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone, and no doubt living on a boat has its own challenges, but like tiny houses on wheels, it provides people with a degree of financial relief and freedom.

Via Inhabitat
Photos: Marco Monterzino

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.