Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Houseboat Update

For some reason, the phrase 'Occam's razor' has been coming into my reading life on a weirdly regular basis in the last few weeks. I knew the basics, but it was becoming so prevalent I needed to look it up and find out more. There is way the hell too much for barely a sentence a lot written about Occam's razor, the original statement being "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." Isaac Newton rephrased it "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."

No one seems to agree on exactly
what was said by William of Ockham
My favorite (if you exclude the KISS option) is a quote sometimes thought to have come from Einstein, but no one knows for sure - "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." 

And away we stray from Occam's razor! But I've thought a lot about it in terms of tiny homes, mainly about making them work. In this case, about making the renovation and repairs on the houseboat. Constrained by time and finances, simple, well done, just works. But not simpler, meaning, not sacrificing integrity for either time or money. It doesn't bode well for much of anything, but particularly if you plan on living in a home on the water, rather than a home in water. It has taken longer, way longer, but in exactly the right time. Funny how that works.

I hope that makes some sense, because being simple without being too simple was and is a constant in this rebuilding of what is basically an unarchitecturally-graced-with-flourishes box into a home. 

Let the update begin!

After a priming, the entire boat is painted in elastomeric.
It will get another coat when this one totally dries.
Pan came up with the window surrounds, that serve a few purposes. They keep out the weather, which is the biggest purpose. Window, set in holes in whatever the structure , any windows but especially on boats, draw rot like, well, I was going to use a pretty gross analogy, never mind that. Point being, this boat is made of wood with fiberglass over it on the outside. Wood + water = bad wood. The rebuild, both inside and out, was mainly because of water damage, a long boring story that I will spare you.

Hence, anything that keeps water out is good. And if it can soften up the boxiness of the shape, which the surrounds do, even better. I'm not sure if you can tell, but Pan added some cool little overlaps at the top. The theory (which he says he saw work in the rain) is that the windows can still be partially open while it is raining. Which will keep me from being shriveled in a steam bath. Good thinking, Pan!

Oh, by the way, the surrounds are made of a PVC type of material. Now painted with the elastomeric (and continually maintained for as long as I live aboard), they won't rot or crack in our very hot sun.

Oh, it is calling for color!
Blue doors? Red doors? Murals on the doors? Trim color? Oh my!
There will still be a lot of white for the cooling factor. 
The gap between the two doors is now covered in a metal sheathing. A little crude but it will do the job for now. Metal doesn't rot either. Well, it does, but not for awhile. Especially when coated. 

I could go into a long explanation about elastomeric because truthfully, it's a learning curve as far as what kind to use and where to use it. After a lot of research, I picked the one that seemed the best and said, Screw it, let's cover the whole thing with the stuff. Sort of like shrink wrapping it. This one says it has a primer in it, but Pan insisted on using a primer first anyway. I like that, even if it does defy Occam's razor.

The elastomeric went on just like paint, I was happy to observe (hey, I don't do big painting anymore, if I did, I'd still be sailing). I've seen some brands that are much thicker and more difficult in application, and this type was exactly what I was hoping for, so hooray for research that sometimes works out right.

Back on the inside, I'm finally getting some order happening. 

Looking to the bow.
No, the floors aren't painted yet, the first step before some sort of wood flooring. Sure, I should have done that already. It will happen. I have the paint; that's half the battle around here.

Looking aft. What happened to the sweet little fridge? It's gone.
When the solar is hooked up, I'll need a different one anyway.
Some sanding, ospho and stove paint and it too will be new again.

I already know this is going to be a place I spend a good amount of time.
I could have had the option for this to turn into a bed, but chose not to. For now.

So happy with the galley split!
It is off center on purpose, to keep wind away from the flames, as well as leaving a space for a trash can, broom and mop between it and the hanging locker.

Hello world! Eventually there will be a futon there, but it's a wonderful perch for now
with plenty of storage while I sort out things into their new homes.

While this may not look pretty to some, any boater knows it is beautiful. A dry bilge. This one hasn't been dry in a long time, so I am thrilled. Pan drilled holes between the ribs to let any water that might accumulate (WHAT????) go to the lowest point, making pumping easier. The hatch cover is on now, but I forgot to take that photo. It has been reinforced, but still needs some attention. It's a heavy, strong piece though and does its job well. This is where the water tanks and eventually, the batteries for the solar panels (along with other stuff) will live.

And this is what its all about. Home. On the water. Yes, there are plans for a
sleeping area and small 'porch' on the roof. All in good time.
Leaving my oh so comfortable, full of mod cons, large caretaking digs, where I could almost fit the houseboat in the bedroom alone, as well the bedroom being bigger than my entire home when home was the shack, for this tiny space might seem like it would be confining, but after I got things put away (no sorting or decorating until I get back in the fall from Turtle time), it felt good. The spareness feels right and comfortable. Small inside spaces suit me when the outside is water.

(There aren't as many around who remember Nancy, who owned this houseboat before me - and Harold of course, but it was, as we know, Nancy's. I think of her often when I'm aboard and I know she is approving, feeling her over my shoulder on occasion, sometimes bitching, sometimes grinning, and best, sometimes a pat on the back when I least expect it. Thanks, Nancy and Harold, for helping this dream come to be my reality.)

2008, brand new to me
Next update on the as yet unnamed houseboat (shall we have a contest?) will be when I'm living aboard, which is an amazing sentence to write. I've been blessed in so many ways on this journey of life, it's almost time for this new adventure to begin. I'm ready. 

Well, after the Turtle road trip adventure. Then I'll be ready. 

Have a tried and true Tuesday. Do something tremulously tremendous.


  1. I love the window surrounds! We are planning on a major remodel of our houseboat, Hippie H2ouseboat II, this fall. New roof, paint job etc etc, I may incorporate window surrounds, too. Love the 4 burner stove. Is that a giant SUP, surfboard or ironing board beside counter beside stove?

  2. It worked! Thank you.

  3. Glad it worked David! I've had problems with comments since I started this blog, nothing ever seems to work for everyone...grrrrrrrr.

    Wow, I'd love to see pics on your houseboat! Yeah, the surrounds work, I was on it today after a shower, windows half cranked open, they work.

    The board belongs to my son, it's a foamy surfboard. My last ironing board is probably in a museum now!