The newly renovated hull ready for rooms.

House Renovation Highlights featuring Houseboat in the City

Oh wow! This week I’m featuring something a little different on the series, sharing Becky’s @houseboat_in_the_city stunning renovation of an 87 year barge into a family home. Not only is Becky renovating this boat she is also snagging their current boat to become a family holiday home and AirBnB.

It’s incredible to feature Becky to see this amazing and unique renovation, and to understand a little more about why Becky is doing this and what goes into a renovation of this scale.

Here Becky shares with us her renovation story of how they quickly got going with the project after her builder had a cancellation, to how it was a challenge getting all the rooms in to the hull of boat. Becky enlisted a marine architect to help with the design, which was vital for this project to design the best layout for all of the rooms taking into consideration how the boat sits in the water.

There are some really helpful top tips that are useful for any renovation project, and I completely agree with her approach to doing a lot of research and creating mood boards to help find your style and for inspiration. I would love for you to have a read of Becky’s story and to pop over to her Instagram to follow the rest of this renovation.

Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?

We’re in the process of converting an 87 year old grain barge into a family home for my husband and me, our three young children and our dog. We have a mooring on the Thames in London where the new boat will be moored. We actually already live there on the houseboat that was here when we bought the mooring. We’re renovating this boat and when the new boat is done we’ll move it down to the Isle of Wight as a holiday home and rental property. 

Most people think we live on a canal boat, but the current houseboat has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and is connected to all mains utilities except gas. The new boat will have 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and we’ll connect it to mains gas so I don’t have to lug 20kg gas canisters around every 3 days for heating!!

House Renovation Highlights featuring Houseboat in the City
The exterior of the barge that Becky is renovating to make into her home.

What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?

The current boat was renovated on very short notice. Our builder had a cancellation and said he could start in 3 days, so we had 3 days to design and order the kitchen, 2 bathroom suites and tiles, flooring and internal doors and move the whole family out of the boat so it could be knocked about! So I’m really enjoying taking my time and making sure the layout, design and decoration of the new boat is exactly how we want it. 

The old hull of the boat before the renovations started.
The old hull before the renovations started.

What was your biggest challenge?

By far the biggest challenge has been getting the rooms we would like in a hull that has sloping sides and swim ends (the ends of the boat curve into a point) as well as thinking about the configuration in terms of head heights. We’re putting a lot of ballast in it so she sits lower in the water so we get decent head height on both levels, whilst still respecting the maximum height the boat can be for our mooring. So the end rooms will both have a step down into them with most ballast in the middle of the boat – needless to say, a marine architect has been vital!

The newly renovated hull ready for rooms.
The newly renovated hull ready for rooms.

Is there anything that you would have done differently?

I wouldn’t have gone for a pure white worktop. Yes it can be bleached, but I spend my whole time cleaning it! It shows up every speck, which when you have 3 children and a chocolate brown dog is not ideal!

Tell us your top tips?

If you can afford it always employ an architect. We thought we’d nailed the layout of the new boat, then the architect totally changed it and it looks so much better with ideas that we would never have thought of. 

Try and get everything planned, designed and furnished in your mind/on paper before you start. Changes cost time and money so although it’s a lot to do at the beginning it will make the project run a lot more smoothly. 

I find myself becoming a bit overwhelmed by things like Pinterest, but they are really great sources of inspiration. To narrow things down try doing a mood board, even on the computer to work out what style you’re going for. 

Becky's current houseboat that they are snagging and ready to turn into a family holiday home and AirBnb
Becky’s current houseboat that they are snagging to turn into a family holiday home and AirBnb.

What was your best renovation purchase?

The hot water tap – it’s changed my life!!

Would you do it again?

Yes, but maybe not 2 at the same time!!

What’s next? Any future renovation plans?

We need to finish the new boat and there’s still a few snagging issues on the current boat before we can have her as part family holiday getaway / part Airbnb so for the next 6-9 months that’s the plan. 

The bathroom in Becky's current houseboat
The bathroom in Becky’s current houseboat.

Thank you so much Becky for being party of my series I have loved featuring you on my blog today. Good luck with the rest of your renovation and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished houseboat.

Please do all head over to Becky’s Instagram @houseboat_in_the_city and I’m sure that she would love a follow where you can stay updated with her renovation progress.

If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email and take a nose at my last renovations highlight post featuring Architect V Engineer.

Claire x

House Renovation Highlights featuring Houseboat in the City

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