Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2016

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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What began more than 100 years ago as a community of crude, one-story foating homes inhabited predominately by struggling seasonal laborers, has transformed into one of Seattle's most highly prized neighborhoods with quaint, lavish and sometimes eclectic houseboats dot- ting the shores of Lake Union and Portage Bay. Today only about 500 of the more than 2,000 foating dwellings remain. Many of them have undergone extensive renovations that equal, if not rival, the amenities of their land-lubber counterparts. Such was the case with this houseboat transformed by Marie Lail Blackburn, CMKBD, CID and owner of MLB Design Group in Seattle, who worked with architect James Jessup, who is well known for his work designing/renovating houseboats, and Schaefer Industries, who served as the general contractor. ENGAGE NATURAL LIGHT The remodel began with a complete overhaul of the entire structure, including adding insula- tion and a heat source as well as rebuilding the foor. "This is one of the original houseboats, and as the foor was being fxed, you could see the huge logs it foats on," she says. A second foor was also added to accommodate a sleeping loft, which meant the owner could move his bed upstairs, freeing up more space on the frst foor for living and socializing. A new spiral staircase provides access to the loft, but accord- ing to codes, the loft technically isn't considered living space so the addition still left the house- boat with a footprint of about 545 square feet. While small, the owner wanted a space with a kitchen that worked well for entertaining, a bathroom that had all of the amenities he'd experienced at fne hotels, and a place to work from home as needed, "without having to pile things on the dining room table," Blackburn states. Storage was much needed as well. To start, Blackburn assessed the overall space, considering opportunities to improve trafc patterns, take advantage of interior and exterior sight lines and enhance ease and efciency in how tasks and social functions are accomplished. "Very importantly, too, I am always on the lookout for ways to engage natural light in de- sign planning because it's such a big challenge in our low-light environment," she says. To address the natural light issue, Blackburn focused on a design that would allow her to keep the window in the kitchen, while add- ing one in the stairwell. The designer also purposefully located his desk underneath a window. "There was some conversation about eliminating the kitchen window in favor of storage," she says, adding that she added an open shelf above the main sink to make up for some of the lost space. "But we kept it for good reason. It adds natural light into an otherwise dark space. We are coming to realize how Designer Makes Every Inch Count BY KIM BERNDTSON A houseboat transformation embraces all of the amenities of its land-lubber counterparts, with a kitchen that facilitates entertaining and a bathroom with all the luxuries of a fne hotel. KNOTTY ALDER CABINETRY Mixes with teak and cherry to minimize a 'matchy-matchy' feel and 'quiets' the hickory foorings SPIRAL STAIRCASE Provides access to the sleeping loft EXPOSED BEAMS AND WOOD-FINISHED WALLS Support a nautical feel for the space Photo: Roger Turk, Northlight Photography 26 Kitchen & Bath Design News • April 2016 PROJECT CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT ON CREATIVE, PROBLEM-SOLVING KITCHENS AND BATHS

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