Having made a few bob, and having a couple of homes already, I was interested in the floating kingdom. No tax, nice climate, English speaking, stable, no crime, and it always just sounded a good idea.
I had been out there a number of times, staying in hotels and as guests of others who had homes there so knew it all quite well.
The trip I want to tell you about is not one of the many that I have taken or the great enjoyment I get from visiting the floating kingdom, but about the trip I made looking at homes available.
I started by following up some contacts a few people with homes out there gave me, in relation to agents. Not being one of the mega rich, clearly some options were going to be beyond me, but on the other hand I wasn't looking for anything less than I would live in on land.
There were clearly a number of options, a luxury apartment in the ocean wall with sea views or views over the kingdom or both, an apartment within the structure of an island, a bit like an apartment on a large ship, a house on the surface over other apartments or some other properties or a house on a lower floating platform.
On the visits I have made out there I always enjoy the ones best where people have a garden and pool, so I decided that it was a surface house I wanted with a garden and a pool, I am sure that city people love the others and particularly where they are only using it as a holiday home, or as a base to do other things from.
The agents then had a further selection for me, on top of an island with good views over the kingdom, within a walled island that is far more private but then has no view, on an estate of luxury homes on a lower platform island, a larger property on a smaller island and a few others.
I made a trip out and visited all the types of sites that would suit our needs and be sensibly within our budget.
The low platform houses were on a pneumatic platform, this is best explained as a giant version of a tile with a lot of plastic cups stuck on places upside down, so that the bottom end is open to the water. Sitting on the air cushion, over the water, makes it very smooth, and many have some extra gubbings that allows air to move from one giant cup to another, making it even smoother. With a descent sized island it was rock steady, you could just as well have been sitting on land.
Some while moving the air about to keep it all still, used this to create electricity, so for most of the time your electric was all completely free. It doesn't add much to the property prices, as the people who can afford these houses can afford the electric, but considering the unknown and one day we may not be as well off for some reason, then it could make the difference between being able to live there and having to sell up.
I must say I was terribly impressed with these platform properties, and the space you got, most with their own boat dock or water garage or both.
On the other hand some of the properties on top of larger structures had rooms and staff accommodation on the floor below, no one seems to have yet realized they could build an island one floor up with staff accommodation under the garden. On suggesting to an agent he offered to put me in touch with a builder who would build what I wanted and I arranged to go out on a later trip to look at ideas with him.
I put the idea to him of a property one layer up over staff rooms and he said he could do that on one of the islands he was building, and build it into the landscaping of the island. I wasn't sure on reflection that I really liked the idea of being the oddity on the island when most were very similar. Other ideas he suggested was a larger house, apparently that was what most did, getting a property but also nearby apartments in a nearby island for staff of building a staff house within the grounds.
He took me to an island he was developing that had four homes on, each with plenty of space, and there was one plot available. The island had service runs to get to the house but not to a second property of the type I was considering. He said this was not a problem as it just meant adjusting the landscaping and balance of the island slightly. He had another island with five plots on three at the front and two at the back accessed from the sides. This was a larger island so the plot sizes were greater and its landscaping was raised in the center with trees and walls on the property lines. The center front property was still available on this one, and I had a look at the boat dock area to see if it could be both enlarged and have staff accommodation built over. It was difficult to do what I wanted on an island that was already being built, but I was able to explain to the builder what I had in mind.
The deal when they construct these islands is that they have to build two identical islands, one is given to the kingdom and one the developer keeps, what I had not realized was that the island I was looking at was the one being given to the kingdom, and the next one that was at a far earlier stage was the one I was actually being offered a unit on. This was really lucky as it made alterations that much easier.
What I wanted was the house higher and gardens in layers running down towards the front, so we could see over the front of the island, and have a stream with waterfalls in the garden. At the front I wanted instead of a large boat house, an archway built so as to hold staff accommodation, and a cutting through this archway into a small marina giving parking room for a number of craft, with outer doors. The pool would be next to the house. We would have less trees, allowing a sideways view as well.
The developer could do most of this, basically all except the side ways view as it would have meant from the higher position we could look into other homes, and the idea was that they were all private.
There is such a wide range of properties already that for most people whatever their budget, there is something for them. With the lack of state interference, beyond checking it is safe, you have a lot of freedom to get something made to your requirements or altered. In my case I had a particular idea and was able to meet it.
I wont tell you what I spent, and if you need to ask you couldn't afford it, lets just say it was a lot less than a river side property in a nice area back home, and here it cannot flood.
The property was built, turned out great but I sold it about a year later. A guest who was visiting me just wanted it so much and even for me the amount he offered was beyond what I would feel I could turn down. I done a deal where we could go on living there until we got a new house built.
The house we have now is similar, again built on what we call the magic carpet, the pneumatic platform, but the house we have now is slightly larger and on a much larger part of an island and we had it moated which is something rather unique here this was done by taking out one section of the platform and dropping in a box, with a raised central section, which was fixed so as to be a part of the platform and at a level where it appears to contain sea water, however it doesn't as we wanted fresh water so that we could have fresh water fish in it. The house is on the raised section complete with drawbridge. The house is an extra floor higher which gives us the views from upstairs and we have extra guest rooms on the ground floor. In order to make the moat look right we kept the land level instead of being on a hill but have some landscaping with rocks etc to have a waterfall and pool, that feeds ultimately via another waterfall into the moat. Both the house and moat walls have been faced with thin stone, so looks really historic and solid. The roof has got turrets on each end and in the center that are seating areas.
At the front of the property we have two gateways allowing an in and out route to the marina, again created as a sunk box with two holes in the side fixed to the platform. This marina is larger than the first one we had. What's more we got this house created for less than I got for the other one. I think its just a case of having the imagination and being able to say what you want, while others would rather choose from choices offered to them and then fall in love with what they see.
Will I sell this one, well I wasn't popular last time I sold the house. This time, so far I have been offered three times what it cost me, however I don't think it would be worth the trouble I would be in. However who knows, I may not need the cash, but the habit of making it is hard to forget. What I have done is to sell our other properties as we never used them any more, and I have been playing with the idea of creating another home here just for fun, parties and for sale maybe.
Copyright New Atlantis.