When luxury automotive specialist Alex Prindiville struggled to find a suitable property to buy near his Limehouse Marina supercar showroom, he came up with a revolutionary solution.

A houseboat in the heart of London
A new-build, 1,000 square foot, two bedroom houseboat in the heart of London

Alex gave up his search for bricks and mortar and instead commissioned master boatbuilders to construct a floating apartment – a fabulous new-build, 1,000 square foot, two-bedroom luxury dwelling, delivered within four months of order. Alex was so pleased with the result that he has founded Prindiville Marine.

With the ‘apartment’ – now moored in St Katherine’s dock – having proved a resounding success, Alex is convinced he’s hit upon a groundbreaking residential concept, and is now taking orders for the vessels from customers.

“I always thought the idea of living on a boat was romantic, and my thoughts originally turned towards a Sunseeker-type luxury yacht,” Alex explained. “But while they look very sexy, I quickly realised they are designed for the sea, and internally the amount of space and layout doesn’t make them practical to live on for any length of time.

“I also looked at traditional large barges and houseboats, but found that everything on the market was a bit tired and not particularly well thought out. So I found the a superb UK boatbuilder, and embarked on producing this wonderful vessel.”

Constructed with a hand-crafted ‘Sheffield Keel’ hull, each wide-beam vessel is built as a completely new, purpose-built unit. The configuration provides a fully functional kitchen, fully functional bathroom, living room and two bedrooms. It comes with central heating, hot and cold water, telecommunications systems and all the modern conveniences one would expect from a luxury apartment. Some of the optional extras include a log fire and additional television units.

The design is fully flexible; one of the bedrooms can instead be constructed as an office – one customer has even used the second bedroom space for a recording studio – while the interior, including furnishings, worktops, kitchens and flooring, can all be customised.

Outside, the boat is equipped with an al-fresco dining area at the stern of the vessel and a sun-deck area on the roof. A propulsion unit can also be fitted for those who wish to experience the adventure of travelling Britain’s picturesque canals and waterways.

The wood burning stove is also available
A propulsion unit can be fitted for those wishing to explore Brtiain’s waterways

It cost Alex £300,000 fully furnished, a fraction of the price he would have paid to buy an apartment in central London. Permanent mooring costs are typically £10,000-£13,000 or you can buy a £700 annual canals mooring licence, which allows you to stay in the same location for two weeks at a time.

“The floating apartment offers some experiences that simply cannot be captured with traditional bricks and mortar,” Alex explains. “When you’re standing inside, the port-holes and water are at eye-level. The light shimmering off the water is magical, and you’ve got a fantastic outside living area for entertaining guests.

“You can live in some of the most desirable parts of any city with a waterfront, with the freedom to go up and down the river or the canals, and you have all the benefits of a luxury apartment. The boat has a has a real holiday feel to it. It is very romantic, a great way of de-stressing, and kids love it,” he adds.

What makes it unique is the way onboard space and storage has been maximised – a focus Alex admits proved tricky during the design stages. “My background is in manufacturing and engineering, and I was personally involved in much of the design of the boat,” he said.

“How do you maximise the storage space on a boat that has approximately 1,000 square feet? It was very difficult and very challenging, there were hours and hours of reconfiguring the design. Yet from that process we have managed to develop an apartment that is incredibly spacious.”

While Alex himself uses his apartment as his primary residence, he says the boat is an ideal solution for anyone looking for a city crash-pad, parents with a child heading to university – one couple are buying a boat for their teenage daughters to use as undergraduates – or simply anyone with a love of the water.

Enquiries have come from a wide range of clients
Enquiries have come from a wide range of clients, including young professionals, retired couples and romantics

“We’ve had huge interest from a wide range of people – young professionals, retired couples, divorcees, students and romantics. The demographics really are very varied,” he explained.

Prindiville Marine will initially look to supply 15 apartments a year, and already has plans to produce a number of other versions of the boat. This includes a sea-going version for longer trips, and a larger vessel with three to four bedrooms.

“Urban property prices continue to escalate, especially in the most desirable waterfront areas. The Prindiville Marine floating apartment offers you a bespoke, luxury lifestyle at an affordable price, and we look forward to continuing to make waves within the property industry with our luxury houseboat offering,” added Alex.

For more information, go on-line at: http://www.prindivillemarine.com.