British firm Bert & May is best known for its collections of beautiful reclaimed tiles and wooden flooring, but its latest project is on a rather larger scale. ‘Bert’s Barges’ are innovative, ready-made modern homes designed for life on the water. The concept was dreamed up by Lee Thornley, founder and creative director of Bert & May, who collaborated with stylist Laura Fulmine and RaT Architecture to create a chic, contemporary version of the humble houseboat. There are two versions available – the ‘Country Barge’ is a 15.85-metre-long space with two bedrooms and warm, cosy decor, ideal as a holiday home; the ‘City Barge’ is slightly smaller at 14.63 metres long, with one bedroom, a foldaway guest bed and Scandinavian-style furnishings.
Thornley began the project after becoming frustrated at the lack of affordable, design-led housing for sale in London. ‘With the canal running past Bert & May’s showroom in East London, it suddenly dawned on me that a barge could be the perfect solution,’ he says.