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Come sail away… on this land-locked Michigan houseboat

by Emily Mack

In the charming town of Au Gres, Michigan, a one-of-a-kind home is up for sale. But it’s not just a house. The property at 5629 E. Au Gres Ave is in fact a 74-foot “land yacht” constructed to serve as a single-family residence. It takes the meaning of “houseboat” to the next level.

Laura Kempf/EXP Realty

The houseboat – boathouse? – was built in 1936. And according to local legend, it was meant to keep the original owner at bay. Literally. The man loved to sail but his wife wanted to him to stay “grounded,” explained EXP Realty agent Laura Kempf. “She told him he’d have to build his boat on land!” Kempf said. And so he did. The wondrous, nautical lodging was carved into the earth near Saginaw Bay, outlooking Lake Huron. Peeking out from the trees, there, a ship deck points out toward the nearby water. Naturally, the living room is affixed with a massive steering wheel.

Laura Kempf/EXP Realty

Au Gres, Michigan is like a land “back in time,” according to Kempf – and this property is no exception. Kempf is handling the sale along with her partner (and husband) Martin Kempf. The current owner is a widow whose husband, Eddie, truly appreciated the houseboat. Having discovered the property at an open house, Eddie was delighted by the possibilities and excitedly moved in. While adding some renovations of his own, Eddie truly committed to the home’s seaside aesthetic, referring to the bedroom as the “captain’s quarters,” the kitchen as the “galley,” etc. Chuckling, Kempf says that for Eddie, the place was a dream come true: “it was his baby… like a little boy and his train set.”

Laura Kempf/EXP Realty

Sadly, Eddie passed away four years ago. Now both his family and the Kempfs are hoping to find “another Eddie” who will boldly steer the residence onwards. The house at 5629 E. Au Gres Ave is currently listed for $750,000.

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