This all started with Dianne, my wife. I loved to sail and I’d take her out on my boat. She put up with it for awhile, but she didn’t like the wind, the work. She wanted to relax. So I set out about making a boat just for her, and called it Dianne’s Rose.\
I’m a cabinet maker, so projects like this come easier to me than most, but the idea for the design and construct were simple. The big decision you need to make in building your own house boat is what kind of hull you want.
I chose a barge styled hull, which you can glide along with a small engine and just cruise. Most of the parts can be assembled on a flat bench, making it easy to build. The paneling sort of “bends” around the framework.
As new sections of the hull were completed and finished, I began the process of sanding, sealing with epoxy, fiberglassing, priming, and painting.
5. CABIN STRUCTURE
It is not a jungle gym, but the cabin structure is lightweight and definitely sturdy. The decks help stiffen the hull, and I also used parts of an old cottage I found for reclaimed wood, making it a true houseboat.
6. CABIN STRUCTURE
I get a lot of people asking me, “Can I use the roof as a diving platform?” It could theoretically hold the weight of someone jumping in the water, but its purpose is to be permanent, which a canvas top would not be.
7. WINDOWS & DOORS
The large windows do a great job of bringing the outside in, but you can close all the curtains and have complete privacy. The glass is also fully tested as bulletproof, and protects against duck hunters and strong waves.
The wood flooring is structural, making the floor a solid inch thick in the aisle. The boat is fully equipped with storage areas, an enclosed head, and a small kitchen. It easily converts from a living room feel to fit a full size bed when the party is over.
9. FINAL TREATMENT
I used marine grade paint for below the water line and for the top I used exterior house paint. This way I can touch up at my convenience, which isn’t possible with marine paint.
10. THE REWARDS
My wife is a great advocate for the boat. You wouldn’t believe how many wives call us with the intent of having their husband build them a houseboat. It’s a chick magnet of sorts.
11. NEXT STEPS
I want to build another boat. I want to build a big brother for Dianne's Rose. I’m thinking twenty feet, find a few dozen people that want to learn how to build a houseboat, and put the sucker together. Let’s do it.
As told to Ethan Blau, True Contributor