With London’s house prices getting higher by the minute, people are getting creative to prevent living in the streets whilst doing shifts at FinTechs.
Christina Miles and Rohan Tully couldn’t afford to buy a London home so they converted a 1965 barge instead.
The rusty boat cost less than £100,000 and, after 15 months of intense works, it is now a stylish 3-bedroom home in West London to the couple, their small child and a husky dog.
Christina told The Sunday Times:
‘For the money it would have cost us to get a more conventional home, we would have had to make a lot of sacrifices, such as moving out of London… we would have had to settle on something quite average.’
Christina also said: ‘We live in a boat in West London that we’ve converted ourselves.
‘I think that it’s fair to say that this was the only housing situation that you’d be interest in, isn’t it?’
Purchased in Belgium, the 40m ship was too big for most moorings in the UK. They had to cut 10m out the middle and stick it back together to make it more suitable for the UK.
Whilst the family was renting a flat in Paddington, Christine suggested living in a boat as a joke. Rohan said:
‘I’ve lived on an aeroboat before for a while and I’ve been involved in sailing my whole life.
‘For me, this was something that always appealed to me.
We just happened to walk past a rusty ship one day and Christina suggested that we converted it.’
The renovation was quite challenging, Christina said:
‘You have to keep in mind that steel expands and contracts that tides go up and down and it’s impossible to use your standard building tools.
‘You really need some boat expertise mixed with building expertise.’
The couple added that the skylight was a huge surprise in terms of cost and logistics. Weighing 270kg, the glass required 10 men to lift it onto the boat.
Another surprise is the massive windows they built on the side of the boat. The windows were meant to get lots of light in, but they never realized the amount of wildlife that lives in the river and that would be coming right through their huge windows.
There are birds, ducks and swans coming right up to their window every day and they even have a seal called “Steven Sealberg”.
Carrying stuff in and out of the boat can also be challenging. Christine said:
‘You don’t drive your car up to the drive and empty stuff out the boot into the front door.
‘You have to get stuff over the bridge. And if you’ve got a baby and bags…it’s tough.
‘But we’ve never regretted it’
Rohald tells of the least glamourous part of their life which is emptying the poop. Apparently, it is not too bad as it involves mainly ‘connecting a hose and turning a pump on’.
Besides the highly grammable lifestyle, there is also a wonderful boat community.
Christine said: “You wave to everyone that will go past you on the river, our neighbours all look out for each other. It’s been an incredible support.
‘It’s not normally like that in London. You don’t usually speak to your neighbours, let alone have them on WhatsApp’.