Penny Barr, a 63-year-old retired artist and designer, and her husband, Russell Low, a 64-year-old retired letter carrier
Penny and Russell bought their float home in 2001, as the community was being built. They had made trips around the world, from Vancouver to Amsterdam, to admire floating dwellings just like these. “I said, ‘Let’s buy it’ before we even saw it,” Penny says. They’re now the only remaining original owners.
To save some money, they bought the place unfinished. At first, there was only drywall, roughed-in plumbing and wiring. They put in laminate flooring, railings and exterior decking, and installed a bathroom with cedar-strip walls.
Learning to live in their new home was a literal balancing act. They had thousands of vinyl records, and they had to get rid of all but about 1,000 of them in order to shed excess weight. All the float-homers are conscious of overwhelming the flotation tanks under their homes with heavy possessions.
Over the years, the couple have expanded their flotilla. Penny spends much of her time in a 33-foot Dutch-style riverboat docked separately nearby, which she has retrofitted into an art studio.
1 Penny and Russell explore the lake with a Pelican paddleboat and a stand-up paddleboard. 2 Penny spent a year carving this Nova Scotia–style lighthouse. The wood is oak from the forest near their cottage. 3 The 1950s cedar-strip boat was no longer...