It’s a house on a boat—but it’s not a houseboat.
“It’s one of the only homes in Buzzards Bay that’s floating and not actually considered a houseboat. It’s considered a floating home, because it does not have a motor inside. For it to be moved, it has to be pulled by a barge or put onto a larger structure,” explains listing agent Jan MacGregor.
Listed for $275,000, the 1,800-square-foot home in Fairhaven, MA, is docked on Fort Street in the Fairhaven Shipyard. However, the location will have to change.
“The person who lives in it currently works at the shipyard, so he was able to keep it there. But a future buyer will have to move it. It’s not going to be able to stay at the shipyard,” MacGregor says.
And the possibilities of where to take this floating home are almost endless.
There are “marinas that accommodate large vessels like this down in Newport, and then also in Cape Cod, and in Boston,” MacGregor says. “You can go anywhere because you can move the vessel anywhere you choose. It really just gives you the opportunity to explore as much as you want. You could go all the way down the Eastern Seaboard with it if you really felt like it.”
Known now as Tapestry, the three-bedroom and two-bathroom house once served as the Governor Herrick, a dredge for the Cape Cod Canal.
In 1912, the Governor Herrick and its twin, the Governor Warfield, helped build the artificial waterway that joins Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay by removing 100,000 cubic yards of earth and silt each month.
The waterway became operational on July 29, 1914—a month prior to the opening of the Panama Canal.
After clearing the way in Cape Cod, the Herrick continued to work for many more years along the Eastern Seaboard.
In the mid-1990s, an enterprising seaman saw the formerly busy vessel beached along the shoreline and turned it into a home. The Tapestry’s current owner has lived aboard the vessel for about 15 years.
The vessel measures 76 feet long and 27 feet wide, and the shingled exterior hides a welcoming residence.
“It’s definitely surprising. Nothing really stands out about [the exterior], and then when you get inside everything feels so warm and cozy,” MacGregor explains. “It doesn’t feel cramped at all. You feel like you’re in an actual house. It’s really cool being on the water, and it’s super spacious.”
Each floor has a large bedroom with bathroom. The second floor also has a loft area and laundry room. The main level has the kitchen, dining area, and living space.
The kitchen has space for dining as well as a small refrigerator and freezer disguised as cabinets. A full refrigerator sits in the pantry.
The interiors of the Tapestry are more accommodating now than when it was a dredge.
“There are little holes in the wooden walls downstairs because there used to be bunk beds screwed into the walls when there were workers staying on the barge because they were working on Cape Cod Canal,” MacGregor says.
For electricity, the house has to plug in to marina shore power, and all of the other mechanicals are located below the living space.
“It’s basically like a basement in the barge, but that’s where everything is kept so you can live on it year-round,” MacGregor explains.
There are huge heating fuel and water tanks as well as a holding tank for waste. All need regular maintenance as does the steel structure of the barge.
“The perfect buyer for this house is somebody who is adventurous and wants to live simply and not be in the hustle and bustle of the city,” MacGregor says. “They just want to be out of the way and kind of have their quiet and their peace in their space with a nice view.”