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Further Reading


Remodelling a Houseboat
Photo Pseudotriton at English Wikipedia

A houseboat is neither your typical form of transportation nor a traditional habitat. Then again, no one who owns a houseboat cares about typical. And while houseboats seldom act as transportation, they are used as part-time and full-time living spaces. As such, they have to be treated as any other living space. That includes the occasional remodel.

But make no mistake about it: remodeling a houseboat is nothing like remodeling a house. In addition to finding a contractor that has a marine craft specialty, there are things you need to carefully consider, especially if you are new to living on the water. You can’t just pick up the latest, “Better Homes and Gardens” for inspiration. You have to think like a boat person. And that means keeping these three things in mind:

It’s Going to Get Wet

The first thing you need to bear in mind is that whatever you choose is going to have to be able to withstand getting wet. There are more opportunities for the outside to get inside. You will be in the water quite a bit. You live on the water. Things get wet.

You will want to choose marine flooring that is non-slip and easy to maintain. But because it is where you live, you also want it to look like something that belongs in a home, not just on the deck of a boat. Teak is out. Luxury woven vinyl is in.

Apply this thinking to everything from tabletops to window coverings. Everyone deserves to live in a beautiful environment. But even more important than beauty, is practicality. Remodel for a space that is prone to getting wet.

It’s Going to Move

Your houseboat may never have to endure a rogue wave. But it is not exactly sitting on an immobile, concrete foundation either. Your houseboat is moored to a dock for a reason. If it wasn’t tied down, it would happily float away.

A good rope keeps it from traveling. But it doesn’t keep it from rocking and rolling with the waves. For many, that is part of the appeal of a houseboat. Things are going to move, sometimes in unexpected ways. Anything not nailed down will shift and sometimes fall with that movement.

Think, magnetic salt and pepper shakers that won’t end up on the deck. Don’t hang large, framed pictures on the walls with a single nail. Secure furnishings so that they don’t slide across the floor, you know, just in case you encounter that rogue wave. Remodel with movement in mind.

It’s Going to Take Up Space

Your houseboat has limited space compared to your 4,000 sf. McMansion. You don’t have room for that oversized sectional. You probably don’t have room for all those accessory tables and floor lamps to which you’ve grown accustomed.

You need to save space to move safely about your living compartment. You can achieve this space by thinking like the designer of a tiny home. A houseboat is but one expression of the minimalist lifestyle. Once you embrace that concept, other ideas will come more naturally:

Less is more

  • Modularity
  • Multifunction

When remodeling for small spaces that have to be highly functional, these concepts will serve you well. Consider letting go of anything that takes up space that is not also highly functional.

Living on a houseboat is not just a housing choice, but a lifestyle choice. You are choosing to live in a relatively small space. You don’t have a yard. Forget about a garden. Your neighbors are closer than you would have first imagined. You have practically no privacy.

But for the right person, there is nothing quite like it. When it comes time to remodel, keep in mind that things are going to get wet. Things are going to move. And space is at a premium.





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