Old 1957 Cargo Ship Is Transformed Into A Houseboat

old cargo ship becomes houseboat

Netherland Architects ANA have transformed a Novatie Cargo ship into a unusual, spacious and comfortable home residence for a family.

Old Cargo Ship Becomes Houseboat

In the water plots of the eastern part of Amsterdam, ANA architecten took a Belgian Kempenaar* motor ship from 1957 and turned it into a spacious and comfortable floating home.

Old Cargo Ship Becomes Houseboat
1957 Novatie Barge
1957 Novatie Barge, detail

The clients cited space, sustainability and a good quality of life as very important to them. The result is a ship that houses a house in a ship.

Old Cargo Ship Becomes Houseboat

Sight lines run over the entire length of the barge providing views across all floors. These lines of sight were created by a terrace that was hung in the middle of the 4.5 meter high space and filled with glass (the construction of the ship).

The Terrace

Addition of windows in the wheelhouse, patio doors and a patio (access to the terrace) throughout the room provide light and views.

The Wheelhouse

Instead of creating a design that draws attention to itself, the interior was designed to be a background in which living can take place.

luxury houseboat

houseboat remodel

Concrete flooring and white walls are punctuated with built-ins of oak wood and furniture that connects the different spaces.

concrete flooring

houseboat renovation

Although the floating home lacks a traditional living room, there are several areas on the ship where people can get together. The kitchen, instead, is the central space in the houseboat and serves as the main living area.

houseboat living

houseboat from old cargo ship

houseboat from old cargo ship

houseboat design

Sketches for the kitchen and living space:
houseboat remodel

houseboat interior design

The master bedroom is designed as an independent living space with a pantry, bathroom, toilet, and sitting area.

bathroom design

The children’s bedrooms are small and functional, and designed as passenger cabins. They are open to the hall through a large sliding door.


luxury houseboat

Designing, creating and building the home required a synergy between yacht construction and housing construction. The process was characterized by an integrated course, there was no clear distinction between the phases of research, design and realization. The ship was handcrafted and made it difficult to draw. Therefore, it was difficult to predict what you would encounter in the course of the process. Intensive collaboration between client, architect and hunting builder during the whole process was therefore important.

Old Cargo Ship Becomes Houseboat

*A ship of the “kempenaar” type is a cargo ship especially built for the canals in the southern parts of the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium)

photos by Luuk Kramer for Ana Architecten