37 years ago when my parents divorced, I went house hunting with my dad. High-tech had not yet come to the shores of Seattle – there was more moss and less gloss back then. Dad had always loved the water, especially boats and sailing, so we began looking at houseboats instead of apartments. I had never been on a houseboat before, but I loved how exotic they felt, even though most of them were pretty funky. Some docks had up to 15 or more houseboats attached to them, but the one we finally liked the best was on a dock with only 2 houseboats. It had 2 little bedrooms, and postage stamp-sized bathroom, and a small galley kitchen. Dad got a metal-framed bunk bed for the guest room – the kind I slept on at camp – and a small sign for the kitchen that showed a boat captain holding a pint of beer which read, “We Run a Tight Ship”. That was Dad’s pad.
Since then, he went through one remodel and then a complete tear down in order to rebuild it into a beautiful 2-storey floating home. The cool thing about his location is that he also has access to the hillside leading down to the dock for gardening.
The kitchen, dining room, and living room are on an open floor plan.
Looking out the corner windows in the early morning when the water is smooth, one can often watch the UW Crew team practicing their drills.
My step-mother wisely decorated with lots of smaller mirrors to reflect the light shining off the water as it comes through the windows.
Somewhere along the way, the We Run a Tight Ship sign got relegated to the guest bathroom and was replaced by this metal fish.
The stairway leads upstairs to a small landing office and the master bedroom and bath.
Dad built this little float off his back deck which serves as an outdoor seating platform in the summer. It also serves as an anchor for his many water plant containers.
For a while, there was some sort of otter or water rat living under the little bridge who liked to nibble on the plants.
“Front” door which never gets used because it’s on the side of the house.
This is looking at the front, or bay side of the house. The front deck is the launch pad for diving into the lake on hot days. One of my favorite things to do is to swim off the houseboat with my dad, whose grace in the water is an inspiration. Countless times out in the bay, he has shown me how to do the butterfly with slow, graceful strokes as I tread water with the the lake grasses tickling my feet. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I keep asking him to demonstrate.
Houseboat living certainly has its challenges, but it’s as “off the grid” as you can get in an urban environment and it delivers the most peaceful sleep I’ve experienced anywhere.