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Lake Union Floating Home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Seattle, WA                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Residential

Living on the water is a unique lifestyle and the owners of this brand new houseboat couldn’t imagine living any other way. After 40 years in their first floating home, the couple was ready to upgrade the structure but knew that the location – and the view – would remain home.

Beginning with the float, the homeowners personally sourced the logs from Western Washington that would provide the foundation to the new house. The design was created with efficiency in mind fitting within a compact footprint. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an office with built in desk and shelves, the space was maximized without compromising the open flow. Energy efficiency was also a leading design element with radiant flooring throughout, a heat pump and the interior and exterior high-efficiency light fixtures.

Every inch of the space was carefully designed to maintain a clean, minimal and open quality while still providing a warm and inviting home filled with treasures from the family’s life together. Elements including floor to ceiling built-in closets, cabinets, and shelving also help to increase the feeling of height and volume in the smaller home without sacrificing storage and display space.

Large windows help to create a sense of transparency and connection to the world outside – visually extending the interior space and creating the sense of a larger living space. An ipe deck wraps around the entire perimeter of the home with doors connecting it, and the water, to every room in the home. The building is clad in horizontal cedar siding that adds style and warmth to the structure sitting on the year-round cool tones of Lake Union. A cedar slat screen provides privacy from the dock and additional details. 

The design and construction of a floating residence presents unique challenges that are unlike those of one on solid ground. In addition to watching the weight of the structure to maintain buoyancy, the float structure is sitting directly in the lake and the extra pressure from the water looking for cracks to seep in meant that the waterproofing needed to be well thought out and much more robust. Even the construction process itself was more complicated since the home was built in the water from the float up to the roof which meant that it was constantly moving and different techniques and non-traditional tools were required to build things level.

Despite the complications that go into a newly constructed floating residence, the result is a tranquil home that feels anything but complicated, and completely connected to its unique surroundings.



PROJECT NAME Lake Union House Boat, New Construction

PROJECT TEAM Michelle Linden, Kathryn Benson

DATE OF COMPLETION 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT Eirik Johnson