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Island real estate is hard to afford and in many cases difficult to even find on the market, so for those who buy a private island it makes sense to make the most they can out of their luxury land acquisition – in some cases creating amazing houses on tiny island lots.

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This wood home-on-a-rock in Nicaragua is a great example of leaving just enough space around the core to walk the natural edges of the island without letting any other part of the property go unbuilt as the photos above illustrate.

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Along the St. Lawrence River at the border of the United States and Canada there are many luxury estates and private castles but some of the most impressive buildings are the little residences people have set down on everything tree-covered islands to tiny rocks barely sitting above the surface of the water.

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In other locations people have made entire villas from the limited land available to build on, such as the 23-room island home in Rhode Island (in the image above) or the modern four-story residence on Lake Michigan (pictured below – images via BusyBoo and TinyHouseBlog).

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Of course, not all buildings on tiny islands are homes – there are luxury resorts and even churches designed to work on the smallest building footprint possible, and then there are lighthouses which can be wonderful but dangerous places during storms as the incredible image above shows.

Another Rhode Island home is appropriately known as Clingstone (below), built in 1905 and perched atop a small rocky island in Narragansett Bay. It’s set among a group of islands known as the “Dumplings.”  If it looks familiar, that’s because Wes Anderson based the home in his film Moonrise Kingdom off of it. Though not quite as small as the rest of these homes, the island it perches on certainly is.

Clingstone Rhode Island

Via Wikipedia, “The dwelling, designed by Philadelphia socialite J. S. Lovering Wharton and artist William Trost Richards, is a three-story 23-room 10,000-square-foot shingle-style cottage. The structural system of heavy mill-type framing was designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.”