A Cantilevered “Boathouse” by Harry Gesner Is Up for Grabs at $920K

A Cantilevered “Boathouse” by Harry Gesner Is Up for Grabs at $920K

Built by Norwegian craftsmen in the ’50s, these quirky, boat-shaped residences in Los Angeles are rarely on the market.

Self-taught architect Harry Gesner has always done things his own way. Inspired by a lifelong love for the ocean, the surfer and architect’s memorable designs often convey a deep sense of connection to the water. Case in point: Gesner’s so-called "boathouses" that cantilever over a canyon in the Hollywood Hills. Featuring a distinct, boat-like shape—which was built by Norwegian craftsmen in the late 1950s—one of these rarely available homes is now up for sale.

The stilted structures extend from a hillside near Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, California. The boathouse currently for sale is second from the left.

The homes were built in 1959 by Norwegian craftsmen, who opted to complete the timber frame and woodwork with hand axes instead of saws. 

In a 2012 interview with real estate broker Jimmy Bayan, the now 95-year-old architect described the lots as originally intended for cabins, each with a width of only about 25 feet. Always looking to do something different, "I took the challenge," he said. For the construction, Gesner hired a crew of Norwegian craftsmen who had just moved to L.A. and had prior experience in the traditional styles of Nordic woodworking. "They loved the idea of raising the beams and working with hand axes," said Gesner. "I was amazed at how they worked."

A galley-style kitchen runs opposite the entrance. The updated countertops and backsplash complement the refinished cabinetry and wood-clad walls.

Glass fills the hexagon-shaped structure at one end of the living space. The open space currently accommodates a living and dining area, as well as a workstation.

Freshly renovated, this particular boathouse features new bamboo flooring and finishes throughout the interior, along with a rebuilt deck and reinforced structure. The 1,136-square-foot home features two bedrooms and one bathroom spread out across two levels. The central location also offers easy access to the highway, and several hiking trails are within walking distance. Keep scrolling to see more of the unique property, currently listed for $920,000.

A look at the dining area and work station. Exposed rafters and beams extend across the ceiling and down the walls on both sides. 

A view looking back toward the kitchen and entrance. A corner of the living area features exposed brick and a fireplace.

A closer look at the original, wood-burning fireplace and brick hearth.

Sliding glass doors provide access to a deck. Views from the covered space extend out over the canyon, where two more "boathouses" are located on the other side.

Stairs lead down to the home's primary bedroom. A ledge provides an extra sleeping area.

The home's bathroom is located along the landing. Stairs continue down into the main bedroom, which occupies the lower level.

The principal bedroom features an angled wall of windows along one side.

A look at the updated bathroom. Storage compartments fill negative spaces along the wall.

Another view of the bathroom.

A frontal view of the home shows the carport and main entrance.

The rear of the home cantilevers over the canyon. Gesner designed the shape of the boathouses to sit on a single foundation at the bottom of the interlocking stilts.

7031 Woodrow Wilson Drive in Los Angeles, California, is currently listed for $920,000 by Jonathan Ruiz and Jessica Koltsov of The Agency.

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