Over my (now years) of research, I’ve gone through several phases of the type of boat I liked (wanted, drooled over, whatever). I’ve slowly become a bit (lot) more untraditional, if tradition is referring to the standard U.S. centric idea of cruising boats. I have never been greatly drawn toward the larger, go-fast boats… they are quite nice, just not "my thing".
My wife and I are both big fans of England and Europe, have traveled there several times, love the cultures and some of the "differences", and look forward to being able to go back. I would love to cruise the canals, both UK and mainland. A close friend has rented a narrowboat in England for a week and had a blast… we may get to do that someday.
Anyway, all of this has led me to researching the "dutch" or European designs more. Some of my current leanings come directly or indirectly from those areas.
I’m going to list a few links and some comments about them here, as a starting point. I’ll probably expand on this post and add some links from it to more detailed pages over time.
Euroship Services has some very interesting designs, from the small to the very large. They are fairly widely built, both professionally and by amatures. They have a large selection of "modernized" Dutch Barges. I have been particularly attracted to the Dutch Barge look/design. I feel that it could make an excellant coastal cruiser (maybe more than that if weather was watched closely). Not everyone agrees, but some do (check this thread).
Narrowboats (sized to fit the quite narrow U.K. canal system) are less interesting to me, but many of the ideas translate well from them to larger (wider) vessels. An interesting forum site is the Canal World Discussion Forums.
For kits, in addition to Euroship Services, Branson Boat Design Limited offers a smaller, but very interesting range of craft. I have exchanged email with them, and they are willing to work with me and a local steel supplier/CNC cutting house to have a "kit" produced locally to me, which seems more practical than shipping it across "the pond" (the Atlantic).
Lastly, for this article I’ll bring MacNaughton Design Group to light. Most of Mr. MacNaughton’s designs don’t fit in this arena, but he has one design, the Eventide, listed on his design page (scroll down). In correspondence with him, he has indicated it would cost a small amount (I don’t know that its a public figure… contact him through his web page for details) to finish this design. A very fair price for custom design work, I think.