Shel Silverstein’s Former Houseboat Built on a WWII Military Barge Wants $783K

Shel Silverstein’s Former Houseboat Built on a WWII Military Barge Wants $783K

By Kathryn M.
Once a balloon barge during World War II, this recently renovated houseboat in Sausalito, California, was the floating home of Shel Silverstein.

There’s no doubt the floating home that once belonged to Shel Silverstein, beloved author of The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, comes with a boatload of history. Nicknamed Evil Eye, the 1,200-square-foot abode was built on top of a retired World War II balloon barge.  

The former houseboat of late poet Shel Silverstein currently floats at 8 Liberty Dock in Sausalito, California. Silverstein purchased the two-level residence in 1967 and owned it until his death in 1999.

Silverstein acquired the converted houseboat in the late ’60s, when he decided to forgo San Francisco’s Haight District for a quieter life in Sausalito. Years ago, the writer’s friend—and fellow Sausalito houseboat resident—Chris Roberts dubbed the home Evil Eye, reportedly because of the eye-like, stained-glass window which can still be found inside.

After years of neglect, the home was recently brought back to its original glory by the current owners, who purchased the space in 2017. 

The 2007 biography A Boy Named Shel talked about the poet’s time living in the floating home: "In the beginning, the houseboat community was essentially a community of squatters who had only salvage rights. [...] The whole place was a bit like living in Never Never Land. Since Shel was a modern day Peter Pan, the two fit together perfectly."

Dark hardwood wraps the home's walls and ceilings, providing a warm, cozy aesthetic, while skylights and windows invite plenty of natural light throughout the 1,200-square-foot interior.

Once Silverstein passed away in 1999, his friend, artist, and photographer Larry Moyer owned the home until his own death in 2016. The houseboat's current owners treated the space to a renovation and reimagined floor plan. Featuring a sleek, contemporary kitchen, an open office area, two bedrooms, and one bath, the home was just put on the market for $783,000. Scroll ahead to see more of the updated interior.

A new, light-filled office space is located near the rear of the home. Original wood paneling lines the walls.

A small breakfast bar sits on the opposite side of the kitchen. Handcrafted metal carvings hang in between a wall of windows.

The kitchen was completely transformed as part of the top-to-bottom renovation, including all-new appliances, cabinets, lighting, and flooring.

A metal staircase leads down from the kitchen to a spacious living area. 

Also on the lower level, the light-filled master bedroom features another small office area in the back. Porthole windows pay homage to the boat's previous life as a balloon barge.

The remodeled bath features a small soaking tub and custom-designed, stained glass windows.

At the opposite end of the lower level, a twin-sized bed hangs from the ceiling in the second bedroom.

Set in the heart of Sausalito’s houseboat community, the home is surrounded by breathtaking views of the bay and hilltops.

8 Liberty Dock in Sausalito, California, is currently listed for $783,000 by Dianne Andrews of Engel & Voelkers. 

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