Living by water epitomises the essence of stylish, luxury living. In fact, the reality is that most prime real estate developments happen to be waterfront properties. There’s good reason for this – any city with a fair amount of history and heritage will begin near or directly around the strongest water source. And though there’s much to be said about the luxury of waking up next to the tranquility of waterfront living, and it’s not necessarily about “the view”, more likely the premium of waterfront real estate like river homes are due more to geographical fact that there’s a limited amount of land directly beside a body of water. Even though water isn’t scarce, waterfront land to build upon is. The basic principles of supply and demand dictate that prices go up for any desirable item for which there is a limited supply.

Furthermore, waterfront real estate is generally is more expensive to develop. Builders might need to engage in special reinforcement to prevent erosion of the land – or risk having your luxury property slide right into the water. According to seaport based Zillow, a Seattle headquartered listings company, a typical waterfront or river in Seattle costs $1,710,400 while an average non-waterfront home runs for $489,000. That’s a 250% premium.

Over in the United Kingdom, Knight Frank too has said that the “Riverside postcode” is experiencing some of the best growth rates in London, and Savills’ research shows that a property within 100m of the riverbank costs approximately 21.4% more than those situated a few streets away. Combined with exquisite design, these 3 River Homes make epic “quality of life” investments.

Swanwick Canyon River House

Consisting of 67 acres on the oceanfront, the Canyon River House at the Swanwick address has 1,400 linear feet running directly along the shoreline. This contemporary Pacific West Coast home with clean lines and modernist aesthetic plays up the contrast with its neighbouring Garry Oak grove and the many natural wonders which surround the Canyon River House. Chiefly the dramatic Olympic Mountain in the distance and the private beach.

Designed by Marco Simcic, the Canyon House is so named for the man-made “Canyon River” running central to the cantilevered walls on both sides of the “outdoor leading in” water feature which bequeaths the house with geothermal heating and cooling by way of circulating seawater.

Walls of white oak adorn the exterior while travertine walls dominate inside. Strategically located windows bring the outdoors in, including foot windows reflecting dappled moving light on the floor and walls from the ocean and river. In one 350’ span the guest accommodation is linked by a covered outdoor swimming pool. Also contained in the dwelling is a fully automated boat house with ramp launch. Included on the property is a caretakers cottage, garage with hydraulic lift and tennis court. [Swanwick Canyon River House for sale for USD10 million at Sotheby’s]

In 2006 it received the Canadian National Architects Award and in 2008 the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Architectural and Environmental Design. An exceptional masterpiece!Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Strait of Georgia and the Inside Passage, Vancouver Island is known as “the Hawaii of the North”.

Seattle Elliott Bay House

Elliott Bay House located in Seattle faces Puget Sound. The architectural massing of the house has been wrapped around a south-facing courtyard containing a large reflecting pool with two “floating” basalt boulders. The reflecting pool gathers all the roof drainage from the house, with the downspout from the living room roof providing a 10-ft waterfall. The main living space has sweeping westerly views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The east side of the living space is the courtyard with reflecting pool, providing a sense of intimacy and quiet in contrast to the dramatic views on the west side. The exposed wood beams in the living space change pitch along the length of the room, providing a sense of drama as the roof unfolds toward the view of Puget Sound.

Upstairs, the master bedroom cantilevers out dramatically toward the Puget Sound view. Tall glass walls wrap the bedroom on three sides, providing a stunning panorama of water and mountains.

Similar to other FINNE architecture projects, a strong sense of “crafted modernism” is present in the house. A water jet-cut steel fence and gate lead to the house entry. Stainless steel stands elevate the basalt boulders in the reflecting pool so they hover slightly above the water’s surface. Exterior siding is custom stained red cedar with two different patterns and colors. The striking steel and wood stairs have water jet-cut steel railings with a pattern based on hand-drawn ink brush strokes. The beech interior cabinets have a custom topographic CNC-milled pattern called “imaginary landscape.” Freeform steel lighting bars in the ceiling tie together the kitchen and dining spaces.

Columbia River House

Designed by McClellan Architects, the Columbia River House takes its name from its premier location along the Columbia River in eastern Washington. Serving as a weekend retreat, the River House takes full advantage of the views to the Columbia river and the brush covered mountains.

Columbia River House takes advantage of nature’s majesty by inviting the outside in with massive floor to ceiling windows showcasing the backdrop of the river and mountains allowing mother nature herself to become the art itself.

Secluded, the River house is the perfect place to unwind amidst fresh water and green tranquility, complemented by all natural materials within the house with maximum warmth provided by the sun’s rays penetrating the interiors of Columbia River House during the daylight hours.

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