While browsing the showrooms, stalls and pop-up exhibitions of Clerkenwell Design Week at the end of May, I came across a barge in the middle of St John’s Square just as it was starting to drizzle with rain. I quickly nipped inside, having come out without an umbrella, and was greeted with a warm and cosy sight – a Scandinavian style hideaway complete with wood burning stove and soft Moroccan rug underfoot.
What I had found was Bert & May Space’s first barge, a collaboration between designer and stylist Laura Fulmine, RaT Architecture and Bert & May (you might recognise Bert & May’s name, they create the most gorgeous handmade and reclaimed patterned tiles and wood floors) that aims to demonstrate that living afloat can make great financial and social sense. Super stylish and sophisticated, these aren’t the bright-red barges I remember from my childhood watching Rosie and Jim, they’re sleek, black, and very, very liveable.
Designed to make the maximum use of the space, but without compromising on design, the barges come as either a City barge or a Country barge. The City barge, seen here, is described as a ‘one bedroom luxury floating suite’ and features a matt black exterior and a Scandinavian style wooden-clad interior. It comes with a hidden foldaway double bed and is priced at £150,000 for a full fit out. The Country barge, meanwhile, has two comfortably-sized bedrooms and comes in a palette of warmer materials; both come with a rooftop terrace with signature Bert & May tiles.