Living on the water is a unique lifestyle and the owners of this brand-new houseboat couldn’t imagine living any other way. After 40 years in their first floating home, the couple was ready to upgrade the structure but knew that the location – and the view – would remain home.
Beginning with the float, the homeowners personally sourced the logs from Western Washington to provide the foundation for the new house. The design was created with efficiency in mind that fit within a compact footprint. The space was maximized without compromising the open flow with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an office with a built-in desk and shelves. Energy efficiency was also a leading design element with radiant flooring throughout, a heat pump, and interior and exterior high-efficiency light fixtures.
Every inch of the space was carefully designed to maintain a clean, minimal, and open quality while providing a warm and inviting home filled with treasures from the family’s life. Elements including floor-to-ceiling built-in closets, cabinets, and shelving also help to increase the feeling of height and volume in the smaller home without sacrificing storage and display space. Large windows help to create a sense of transparency and connection to the world outside – visually extending the interior space and creating the sense of a larger living space. An ipe deck wraps around the entire perimeter of the home with doors connecting it, and the water, to every room in the house. The building is clad in horizontal cedar siding that adds style and warmth to the structure sitting on the year-round cool tones of Lake Union. A cedar slat screen provides privacy from the dock and additional details.
The design and construction of a floating residence present unique challenges, unlike those on solid ground. In addition to watching the structure's weight to maintain buoyancy, the float structure sits directly in the lake. The extra pressure from the water looking for cracks to seep in meant that the waterproofing needed to be well thought out and much more robust. Even the construction process was more complicated since the home was built in the water from the float up to the roof, which meant that it was constantly moving, and different techniques and non-traditional tools were required to build things level. Despite the complications that go into a newly constructed floating residence, the result is a tranquil home that feels anything but complicated and completely connected to its unique surroundings.