Clever Storage Solutions

Clever Storage Solutions

Stylish Small Space Living on a Barge Awash with Smart Ideas by Joanna Simmons

I’m excited by the idea of well-designed, affordable housing,’ says Lee Thornley, who created this beautiful barge, now moored on the Regent’s Canal in London. It’s conveniently tied up outside the HQ of Thornley’s interiors firm, Bert & May, so he stays here while working in the capital, before zipping back to his family home in Yorkshire. 

Creating the barge was more than just a means of dodging a long commute, though; it was a chance for Thornley to flex his design muscles and experiment with small-space living. ‘I wanted to see whether it was possible to create a beautiful home in the UK for less than £150,000,’ he says.

Thornley’s barge proves it is. Constructed by a boat builder in Liverpool, it took eight months to finish and was completed in April 2015. Quality materials and stylish furniture, much of it vintage, mean this floating home has all the style and comfort of a conventional bricks-and-mortar house, despite its petite dimensions. ‘Any space can be beautiful if it’s designed well,’ says Thornley. ‘The barge is filled with light. It has double glazing and underfloor heating and there’s an Italian bathroom in here, too, for an extra touch of luxe.’