I sold £400,000 house to live on barge boat – then discovered I get sea sick’

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Rosie Coombs and boyfriend Callum fell in love with the idea of living on the water after lockdown made them crave a calmer life.

So the couple, from Bridgenorth, Shrops, decided to bite the bullet and go for it – selling their £400,000 newly renovated detached cottage with a roof terrace to buy a £75,000 narrowboat.

They commissioned their perfect 60ft barge boat, and couldn’t wait to start their new lives – until Rosie, 27, realised she gets really, really bad sea sickness.

The pair admit they had never stepped foot on a canal barge before deciding on the huge lifestyle change.

But the finance worker and her 29-year-old architect boyfriend are determined to enjoy a ‘calmer pace of life’ after renovating their three bedroom property and two rentals whilst working demanding jobs.

The couple decided to put their rural home on the market during last year’s lockdown with the sale set to be completed by the end of this month.

They plan to be living on the water later this Spring.

Rosie said: “We honestly don’t know where the idea to buy a boat came from.

“Callum joked he’s always wanted a fishing boat and it made us start to think about a life on the water and lockdown made us realise it is the right time to move and try a different lifestyle.

“I hadn’t even been on a narrow boat holiday or day trip and the first time I stepped foot on one, I felt really sea sick.”

But determined to follow their new dream, Rosie said that they decided to commission a new build after researching the prices and problems with older boats.

She said: “We started looking at second hand boats but they were 30 or maybe 40 years old and we didn’t know quite what we would be getting.

“You have to pay to get the boats out the water and for a full survey and when we looked into the cost, we decided to buy new and we could decide exactly how it looks and fits us, rather than compromise and with Callum’s expert skills we are looking forward to creating something really contemporary inside.”

“The costs of previously owned boats are at an premium right now because I think a lot of people are assessing their current lifestyles and lockdown has given everyone time to think about what they really want from life.”

She added: “One thing that often causes sea sickness is the small windows, so we have designed our boat with much larger windows.”

The project will cost them around £70-£75,000.

Rosie explained: “It will cost around £52,000 to build, insulate, paint and fit the engine and then the rest of the money will be spent fitting it out. We are going to do all the interior work ourselves and we hope it will be a really cool space.”

The couple have been together for five years and purchased the three bed rural cottage, near Bridgenorth, Shropshire, four years ago.

The property hosts an impressive open plan kitchen, dining room and lounge with inglenook fireplace. The home also showcases a beautiful bathroom, large gardens, driveway and garage, overlooking fields and woodland.

Meanwhile their new downsized home will have just one bedroom, one bathroom, lounge, kitchen and dining area, but the couple are excited for the new challenge.

Rosie admits a narrowboat doesn’t match her glamourous look and former lifestyle, but says she is ready to embrace the change – including only having space onboard for two pairs of shoes and just a handful of clothes.

“We are completely downsizing every aspect of our home life, but my wardrobes have taken the biggest hit. I have had to dramatically reduce the amount of clothes and accessories I currently own.”

Friends and family were shocked at the couple’s decision.

Rosie laughs: “My dad is not impressed because he is really tall and my mum thinks it will be rather impractical, especially as we are using their home for a lot of our storage and may have to stay with them until the boat is ready.”

“But they are supportive and our friends know we are quite a quirky couple so why not! We don’t have any children and we can both work from home, so we don’t have to be tied down to one place.”

The couple’s Border Collie will be joining them, although Alfie hasn’t got used to his sea legs just yet.

Rosie added: “We are trying to teach him how to get on and off safely but he has ended up in the water more than once.”

Rosie added: “We are so excited and can’t wait to start our next adventure, we want to go everywhere and explore as far as we can.”