Floating cabin lets couple live off-the-grid

Emma Woollacott
The floating cabin in Maine
The floating cabin in Maine

A Maine couple has spent the last ten years commuting to work by boat, after building a home that floats in the middle of a creek.

Measuring just 240 square feet, the cabin has been home to Foy and Louisa Brown for over ten years. The ground floor contains a living room with small kitchen area, and upstairs there's a bedroom and balcony. There's a small deck area outside - with an outside shower.

The couple live in the house between May and September, when the propane heating starts to be inadequate to deal with the New England winters.

"The best part is getting away from it all," Brown tells Maine Home Design. "There's no TV, no one to bother you - and no property taxes or permits."

Foy built the cabin on a floating raft that he towed out to sea, mainly using pine shiplap. He worked after dark, after finishing his shift at the family shipyard, J.O. Brown and Sons. It was - just about - finished in time for his marriage to Louisa in August 2010. The floor is painted turquoise, with the loft ladder area white: ""so us old people could see it better," says Louisa.

Originally, Foy planned to let the cabin out as an investment. But, he says, "we realised that if you rent it to someone who gets snot-flying drunk, you're screwed no matter how much insurance you have."

The floating cabin in Maine
The floating cabin in Maine

Life on the cabin isn't easy. Every day, the couple has to bring water over from the mainland to supply the shower and kitchen. The fridge is powered by propane, which also runs the cooker and heats the couple's water. The place is lit by candles, oil lamps and solar lights.

Living on a boat isn't for the faint-hearted, but can prove an an answer to the UK's soaring house prices. The London Assembly estimates that as many as 10,000 people are doing so on the waterways in and around London.

The Residential Boat Owners Association is calling for more moorings to be provided. "We recognise that high land values may mitigate against large new marinas being established in London, but we believe that there is considerable potential in the regeneration of existing commercial wharfs and basins for small to medium sized residential mooring developments," it says.

Would-be water dwellers can find more information here.

Read more about living aboard on AOL Money:
The floating home: Could you live in a house like this?
These five homes are on the market for just £10,000
Eddie Jordan's £32m yacht - the 25mph disco

How to Live Onboard a Boat
How to Live Onboard a Boat