Tiny House: Floating Guest House in Portland, Oregon

Reader Contribution by Susan Melgren and Web Editor
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Among the many house boats on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, floats a tiny home that looks like a fisherman’s cottage. Designed by Bainbridge, Washington-based company Studio Hamlet Architects, this tiny home feels bigger than its 433-square-feet thanks to a few design tricks. Half walls and a ship’s ladder subdivide the kitchen, living room and dining room on the main level while still maintaining an open floor plan. Up the ship’s ladder lies a small sleeping loft. A high ceiling adds to the feeling of spaciousness on the main level.

This 433-square-foot tiny home rests on a floating concrete foundation on the Willamette River. Photo By Art Grice/Courtesy Studio Hamlet Architects.

Originally designed as a temporary residence while the owners were constructing their main house boat, the floating home now serves as a guest house. In addition to the double bed in the sleeping loft, the dining room table, which can comfortably seat five people, can be rearranged into an additional double bed at the end of the day.

High ceilings and natural lighting make this tiny home’s interior feel spacious. Photo By Art Grice/Courtesy Studio Hamlet Architects.

Although most floating homes on the Willamette River sit atop a log foundation, this tiny floating home rests upon a concrete foundation. Log foundations can eventually rot, and the number of available logs in the area is diminishing. Because the owners were hoping to retire in their house boats, they didn’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining the foundation.

A sleeping loft separated from the rest of the home offers privacy and comfort. Photo By Art Grice/Courtesy Studio Hamlet Architects.

Because Studio Hamlet Architects strives to minimize its impact on the environment and take less from the land, the company takes a number of steps to ensure that its homes are durable, long-lasting, and energy- and resource-efficient. The company incorporates low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, soy-based insulation, recycled materials and alternative energy systems, when possible, into its project. Natural daylighting and passive heating and cooling are also taken into account during the design process.

The dining room table converts into a bed, offering sleeping spaces for two more guests. Photo By Art Grice/Courtesy Studio Hamlet Architects.