HGTV to feature SJI tiny, floating home

Wendy Beckler’s home doesn’t just have a waterfront view – it has a waterfront yard.

“I see starfish when I’m doing the dishes, rivers of fish run through my yard,” said Beckler. “That’s life in our house.”

It’s the life HGTV’s “Mighty Tiny Houses” captured on Beckler and her partner Rick Thompson’s small, floating home, last August. The episode, which features the nation’s top seven tiny homes, runs Jan. 1 as the series’ season premiere.

The two-story home includes vaulted ceilings, skylights, a solarium, a built-in bookcase and awasher and dryer, packed into 600-square feet, sitting atop plastic floats on Capron’s Landing Warbass Way Marina. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most Americans live in a home between 1,000 and 1,499 square feet.

That is starting to change.

“People want a simpler living,” said Sybil Mager, a Windermere realtor. “If you’re looking to downsize, this could be a condo alternative.”

Mager has seen buyers more interested in purchasing land and bringing tiny homes to the islands, instead of building them here. Floating homes are no longer legal under Washington State Administrative Code, but Beckler’s home is one of three on the islands built before the law and grandfathered in.

It took Beckler five days to decide to purchase her tiny home when she discovered it was for sale 20 years ago. Beckler and Thompson sold their cabin on Hood Canal in Puget Sound, and eventually their 1948 Chris Craft boat, to buy the floating home she dubbed Otter Magic, thanks to her otter neighbors who also wade in her yard.

“I got my floating Taj Mahal,” said Beckler, who owned the gift shop Mystic Mermaid for about 17 years.

Now, they’re looking for another change, and selling Otter Magic for a small house on land, as well as the 50-foot slip it’s located on and the 40-slip next door for a boat, or as Beckler refers to it, a guest house.

“I’m never going to be happy that I sold this place,” said Beckler. “But it’s time for a new chapter.”

And for the new homeowners, perhaps a taste of celebrity.

“The hosts considered the home for a lifestyle show,” said Beckler. “They might want to come back and do it again.”