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Cliff House, Khosla Associates, 2010. Kerala, India | © Bharath Ramamrutham, Courtesy Khosla Associates
Cliff House, Khosla Associates, 2010. Kerala, India | © Bharath Ramamrutham, Courtesy Khosla Associates
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See the World's Most Incredible Homes by the Water

Picture of Charlotte Luxford
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 29 January 2018
If you’ve always dreamed of living by the sea, or wish you’d had an infinity pool in your own garden, prepare for some serious house envy. New book Living On Water showcases the most beautiful homes from around the world that illustrate a special relationship between architecture and water. Here are our top picks from the 55 projects showcased in the title.

Pole House, Australia

F2 Architecture, 2017

The architects of this house were limited by the fact that the footprint of this new-build couldn’t encroach too much on its existing environment, so what did they do? They looked up. Pole House on Australia’s Great Ocean Road perches on top of a 13-metre column with a bridge that connects the house to the land, passing over the thick canopy of trees below. Let’s face it, the views are pretty uninterrupted from that height too, with the two ocean-facing sides completely glazed to make the most of the majestic seascape.

Pole House, F2 Architecture, 2017, Fairhaven, Australia
Pole House, F2 Architecture, 2017, Fairhaven, Australia | © Tanja Milbourne

Tulia House, Kenya

Alberto Morell, 2015

Tulia House in Kenya is set on an impressive three-acre plot between a mangrove and a coral cliff. The jewel in the crown of this project is the nine-metre wide staircase – descend the stairs and you’re rewarded with an intimate plunge pool, go the other way and you’re greeted with an exceptional view of the Indian Ocean.

Tulia House, Alberto Morell, 2015. Kilifi, Kenya
Tulia House, Alberto Morell, 2015. Kilifi, Kenya | © Javier Callejas, javiercallejas.com

Manshausen Island Resort, Norway

Stinessen Arkitekur, 2015

You couldn’t get more romantic than this remote cabin that cantilevers over the calm, clear waters of the Norwegian Sea. There are four of these compact hideaways nestled on a small island in the Steigen archipelago in northern Norway, each designed to maximise its views of the breathtaking coastal landscape, while also providing privacy. Guests can take advantage of the area’s brilliant hiking, fishing, diving and skiing. Read more about it here in our round up of the most romantic love shacks from around the world and book here to experience it for yourself.

Manshausen Island Resert, Stinessen Arkitektur, 2015, Manshausen, Norway
Manshausen Island Resert, Stinessen Arkitektur, 2015, Manshausen, Norway | © Siggen Stinessen

Watershed Lodge, USA

Hughes Umbanhowar Architects (HUUM), 2013

This property was essentially built around the water, designed to interact and engage with it on multiple levels. Various pools of water from the Yellowstone River surround the building, which sits on a plinth above it, with elements cantilevered over the waterscape. There are views out towards the grounds at every angle, creating a deeper connection with its natural habitat, plus wooden decks lead directly towards the water’s edge, allowing the exterior to be accessed from any part of the house.

Watershed Lodge, Hughes Umbanhowar Architects (HUUM), 2013, Big Timber, MT, USA
Watershed Lodge, Hughes Umbanhowar Architects (HUUM), 2013, Big Timber, MT, USA | © Gibeon Photography

Pole Pass Retreat, USA

Olson Kundig, 2013

This kitchen in Washington’s picturesque San Juan Islands takes the concept of alfresco dining to the next level. A Modernist-style retreat tucked away along a forested shoreline, this vast home faces makes the Salish Sea its focal point. During the summer months, the glass walls can be completely pushed back, blurring the boundary between the stunning landscape and the house.

Pole Pass Retreat, Olson Kundig, 2013, San Juan Islands, WA, USA
Pole Pass Retreat, Olson Kundig, 2013, San Juan Islands, WA, USA | © Benjamin Benschneider

Exbury Egg, UK

PAD Studio/Spud Group/Stephen Turner, 2013

Ever fancied living on the water itself? This unique floating residence was built by a local boat builder in the New Forest, which is intended to have as minimal impact as possible on its natural habitat. Inspired by the seabirds that nest on the banks of the Beaulieu River, this little cabin is small but perfectly formed – there’s space for a hammock, small stove, desk and a skylight that’s perfect for stargazing at night.

Exbury Egg, PAD Studio, SPUD Group, and Stephen Turner, 2013, Beaulieu River, Hampshire, UK
Exbury Egg, PAD Studio, SPUD Group, and Stephen Turner, 2013, Beaulieu River, Hampshire, UK | © Nigel Rigden

Cliff House, India

Khosla Associates, 2010

Located in Kerala, this house is perfectly positioned to have incredible panoramic views across the Arabian Sea, with the luxurious infinity pool appearing to spill over the edge of the cliff. Set within the heart of a coconut plantation, the house is set high on a steep slope to catch the warm breeze from the sea below, providing respite from the hot tropical climate.

Cliff House, Khosla Associates, 2010. Kerala, India
Cliff House, Khosla Associates, 2010. Kerala, India | © Bharath Ramamrutham, Courtesy Khosla Associates

For more amazing homes around the world, check out these buildings that are designed to blend in with their incredible natural habitat.