Life aboard an old, creaky 1919 bungalow often feels like living on a boat to me.
Many years ago we were actually this close to buying an old wooden boat to live on and sail, called the “Anteak.”
I’m still not sure which antique would have been more labor intensive to maintain, the old wooden boat or this old wooden house.


I’m never more under the illusion of living on a boat than on a rainy day like today.
The view through the “bath house” windows (a small, glassed-in porch built off the master bedroom) feels especially like being on the bridge or “wheelhouse” of a boat, notwithstanding the impressionistic blur of the garden outside.


Some of the similarities: I’ve felt this house roll and sway gently on the waves that earthquakes bring. Termites would be the equivalent of dry rot chewing away at the ribs of a vessel. And with quarters similarly confined in a 1,100-square foot house, there has to be optimal cooperation among its crew. Also like boats, our house has built-ins for efficiency of storage. In a lot of the old bungalows, these built-ins were removed some time mid-20th century when television arrived, and placing the t.v. set became the supreme design consideration for living areas. The built-ins became cumbersome obstacles to prime viewing placement. Our house still has most of the old built-ins, though admittedly scuffed around the edges. We figure at least two prior owners stood firm and resisted tearing out the hand-made cabinetry — or maybe they just didn’t care enough either way. Maybe they enjoyed a certain amount of stasis in life. Who can say?

Living room built-in bookcase and bathroom built-ins (and bulk head lights, another nautical similarity)


Maybe this house is training me for a life aquatic in the confined quarters of a real houseboat some day. Imagine a rainy day on a real houseboat…with a choice collection of potted plants on the foredeck, of course.

Image found here.

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4 Responses to houseboat

  1. linda says:

    Funny to see this post. I’ve just finished watching ‘The African Queen’ . Which got me thinking about barge living on English canals. Or perhaps a house boat in chelsea…

  2. Denise says:

    Linda, that engine on the AQ is as much of a character as Rosie and Mr. Alnutt! I like your idea of barge living, maybe Amsterdam too.

  3. hoov says:

    Mom and Dad’s house had a built-in ironing board. To me that seems a wonderful idea that needs to be revived.

    Your home is as lovely and unique as your garden.

  4. Denise says:

    Hoov, if Marty had his way there’d be a Murphy bed in every bedroom. He’s nuts about Rube Goldberg inventions that do double and triple duty. And what nice compliments, but trust me, it’s neither a show house nor a show garden!

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