Dream home? This couple have built their own DIY island

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

From luxury treehouses to sprawling solar-powered mansions, we’ve always been fascinated with the unique and unusual homes that people build themselves around the world.

However none of them even come close to this couple’s homemade island fortress.

Desperate to find a sustainable way to live in order to pursue their dream careers as artists, Catherine King and Wayne Adams began building their own island off the coast of Vancouver almost 24 years ago.

“We are tied to shore with lines, we are not anchored,” Catherine explains in a video for Great Big Story.

This means that, yes, their home is bobbing away merrily on the surface of Freedom Cove’s azure-blue waters – but neither she nor her husband ever get seasick. In fact, they’re more likely to get ‘land-sick’ if they make the 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town.

Their home is a true labour of love; they built every single thing on their island with their own hands, from scratch, without using any electricity or power tools.

“I know every board and nail by name,” reveals Wayne.

However, while the couple made the choice to create everything themselves the hard way, they didn’t cut any corners; in fact, quite the opposite. As such, their island features a house, a dance floor (amazing), a lighthouse, an art gallery, and two – count ‘em – loyal doggy pals.

There are also four greenhouses, where Catherine grows all of their fruits and vegetables.

But they don’t live on green stuff alone; Wayne boasts that he can paddle off in his canoe and hook a fish within ten minutes. Sometimes, however, the water can be too choppy to head out in the smaller boat.

When this happens, the couple don’t go without their regular ‘catch of the day’, however; instead, he pops open the island’s handy fishing hatch, lies down on the sofa, and sets his line up there.

“I was hoping to make a lot more money as an artist, so subsidence living was our only opportunity to have anything – we could never buy real estate, so we had to make our own,” says Wayne, when asked why they chose to live the life they live.

“It was a great opportunity to actually move away from the city and see if we could prosper out here. Now, 24 years later, we’re still doing it.”

Catherine adds: “I can’t imagine living any other way. I feel completely fulfilled.”

To be honest, looking at the breath-taking views they wake up to every morning, we don’t doubt it for a single second. In fact, if you’d excuse us, we’re going to go Google how we can build a floating fortress of our very own…


Share this article


Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.