Vacation homes aren’t always perched on a beach or a hillside, and don’t always rest on a foundation. Every year, many happy sojourners take to the water in their houseboats, enjoying each and every cove, bend and shoreline of the grand lakes and waterways they explore.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a houseboat, or are thinking of purchasing a used one, you may have questions and concerns about updating or remodeling. A houseboat is basically a floating house, but there are a few different considerations when remodeling a houseboat versus remodeling your permanent home.
Your choice of materials in a houseboat home improvement will be influenced by factors such as weight, water and space. Using a lot of heavy granite or marble on one side can cause the boat to tip or be unstable. Consult a kitchen remodeling expert about lighter alternatives for countertops and cabinets. Exposure to moisture and bright sunlight can cause many materials to fade or disintegrate prematurely, but you can use special marine-grade fabrics, for example, to combat these effects.
Having plenty of storage on a houseboat is essential for an enjoyable vacation or excursion. If your current storage situation is lacking or hard to access, a skilled carpenter can custom design some new storage solutions, taking advantage of every available nook and cranny. In addition, they can also build custom furniture like built-in dressers, drawers and other helpful elements.
Tip: Before ordering ready-made items and furnishings, measure room openings and passageways between upper and lower decks to make sure you’ll be able to fit them through any tight spaces.
To get ideas for remodeling your houseboat, visit a local marine dealer, talk to houseboating friends or check out a houseboating website or magazine. Dealers can also refer you and your contractor to sources for replacing smaller appliances, accessories and furnishings that are specially made for houseboats, yachts and large motorboats.
As you plan out your remodeling project, don’t be afraid to experiment with non-traditional designs and décor (not every boat has to have a nautical theme). Consider adding a small skylight or two, a quaint woodstove (for chilly nights) or custom painted wall paneling. Kids and adults alike would love a plexiglass window in the floor so they can watch the fish swim underneath the boat.
For more information and ideas on houseboat remodeling (or other boat remodels), contact your local home improvement contractor or marine center.