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The escapist's dream; sail away on the world's most beautiful houseboats

Prague Houseboat 1.jpg

Whether you've experienced first-hand the floating joy of a houseboat or not, few can deny that there's something innately cool about them. Bobbing on the water day and night, they offer the comfort of a traditional home with the irresistibly escapist option of sailing away at any moment.

Which is no doubt why Jane Field-Lewis' new coffee table book My Cool Houseboat, is entirely dedicated to the rising number of people upping sticks and building their homes on the water instead of land.

From converted ferryboats to remodelled freight barges, the tome captures the spirit of the growing houseboat community, docked in London, Paris, New York and beyond.

Take a look at a few of our favourites below - we defy you not to want a houseboat after this...

New York City

New York houseboat
New York Houseboat

Gabe Cohen and Jolie Signorile rallied six of their friends from college, and together the group bought a run-down houseboat, renovated the whole thing, and now use it as a weekend retreat.

With four big bedrooms and large open spaces, it's the perfect place for the gang to relax and socialise out of the city's hustle and bustle.

Photography: Douglas Lyle Thompson


Amsterdam

Amsterdam Houseboat
Amsterdam Houseboat

Moored in Amsterdam's North Sea Channel, the Jolie is owned by Bas and his wife Wendy, who have two young children. Originally a 164ft freight barge, the pair had the boat shortened and completely revamped inside.

Modelling it on the feel of loft-style apartments, they've turned what was once an industrial vessel into a cosy family home, with plenty of light and airy spaces.

Photography: Richard Maxted


Paris

Paris houseboat
Paris houseboat

Docked just off the Seine in Paris' Bassin de l'Arsenal, Valerie Mazerat's houseboat is neatly tucked away from the city's army of tourists.

Joined in the marina by 180 other 'pleasure boats', the interior designer's home is a stunning mix of hard and soft styling, which makes for a relaxing space away from the busy city.

Photography: Richard Powers


Holland

Holland Watervilla de Omval housboat
Holland watervilla houseboat

Described as a cross between a Porsche and a traditional Dutch houseboat, the Watervilla de Omval is no ordinary water home. Built in 2010, it was quickly nominated for one of Holland's top architectural prizes the following year.

Resting on the Amstel River, the feat of design has floor to ceiling windows to max out the view of the open water, while 'modernist' rooms are spread over two levels.

Photography: Gianni Bassi


Prague

Prague houseboat
Prague houseboat

Once a half-sinking vessel,  this houseboat moored on a riverbank in the centre of Prague has been repaired, re-designed and rebuilt into a floating cabin.

Beyond the blue walls are small rooms furnished minimally, to keep it feeling simple yet homely. It's also a stone's throw away from the city's Sunday farmer's market - a plus if we've ever heard one.

Photography: Martin Tuma


My Cool Houseboat book cover

My Cool Houseboat by Jane Field-Lewis is available now (£14.99, pavilionbooks.com)

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