J.D. Hamilton

Lee’s Ford Marina owner J.D. Hamilton stands in front of the “tiny” houseboat that will be featured Monday, November 13 on HGTV, on the program, “Tiny House, Big Living.” The two-bedroom houseboat was made possible by legislation passed last year allowing floating cabins on the lake.

Sometimes big things come in small packages. And being featured on one of cable television’s most popular broadcasters is pretty big. That’s the position Lee’s Ford Marina is in, as it’s set to appear on the HGTV program “Tiny House, Big Living.”

A viewing party will be held at 8 p.m. at the Harbor Restaurant at Lee’s Ford on Monday, November 13 to watch the episode, which is scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. on HGTV.

Titled “Luxury Tiny Houseboat,” the episode features just that — not merely a tiny home, but one that floats on water. It was a houseboat created and crafted by Lee’s Ford Marina itself, and is currently on display at the dock.

The road to this point was a long process, noted Lee’s Ford Marina owner J.D. Hamilton, with legal hassling over what could and couldn’t be made. But a law passed last December as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act approved “floating cabins” on Lake Cumberland, clearing the way for Lee’s Ford to move ahead with Harbor Cottage Houseboats.

“We started off building a five-bedroom, 84-by-16 terrific boat, but we had a lot of requests wanting just two bedrooms,” said Hamilton. “There are a lot of people downsizing.

“My son, Jimmy, said. ‘Let’s jump on this ‘tiny’ craze and I thought that’s a great idea,” he added.

Indeed, the tiny house movement is big right now, ironically. “Tiny House, Big Life” is only one of a number of television shows related to the idea of saving money and clutter by living in a compact-sized domicile. The houses are often considered not only more affordable — both up front and in utility costs — but more environmentally-friendly and can be constructed relatively easily.

Tiny houseboats are also less pricey than many of the larger vessels. Hamilton said that depending on what features you want, a boat like that can run from $119,000 as the base price to $400,000.

Hamilton said that while building the houseboat, they were approached about doing the show.

“We signed up with them, and the show was filmed over the summer,” said Hamilton.

The show will focus on Jimmy and his wife Erica, with the tiny houseboat serving as a residence for them. However, following the events of the episode, the vessel seen on TV is currently being used as a showcase model at Lee’s Ford Marina, and will be available for a weekend’s stay as a giveaway drawing at the viewing party Monday for those who spend a minimum of $25.

The houseboat has a 575-square-foot lower level with a deck and on top a grill, diving board, hot tub, and more. It has an expansive kitchen with combined living area, bathroom, and two bedrooms, including one downstairs.

The show’s description on its website is, “ A young Kentucky couple wants the freedom of the tiny house while exploring the lake where they live. They decide to build a tiny house on a boat, complete with a full-size kitchen, master bedroom and even a fishing hole in the living room.”

The episode has already aired on the DIY Network, but HGTV has a larger viewing audience, and Hamilton said he’s “excited” about the marina and the houseboats being seen by so many people.

“It’s the top tiny show in the country,” said Hamilton.

Visit harborcottagehouseboats.com for more information on the tiny houseboats available.

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