A Renovated Boathouse on Seattle's Portage Bay

By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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A once-plain floating home on Seattle’s Portage Bay receives a much-needed renovation ten years in the making.

The floor-to-ceiling windows at either end of a Seattle boathouse allow light to stream through the entire 1,000-square-foot space.

In 1999, native Seattleite Denise Draper fell in love with the location of a prime end slip in a marina on Seattle’s Portage Bay. She was less enthusiastic, however, with the existing fixer-upper floating there. "I love being close to the water. There’s constant change, with boats and wildlife passing by," Draper says, so she purchased the home. It took her ten years before she could renovate, but with the help of architect Ryan Mankoski of Ninebark Design Build, his wife, interior designer Kim Mankoski, and local builder Dyna Contracting, Draper ended up with a 1,000-square-foot place that’s tuned in to its surroundings and wears its strong sustainable ethos on its walls.
Ninebark and Dyna salvaged as many components as they could from the original structure, including the turn-of-the-century cedar floats that buoy the home from below­—one of the 60-foot-long logs was milled and turned into interior finishes. On the exterior, they opted for salvaged Cor-Ten steel and cedar, both of which will age well in the notoriously rainy northwestern climate. With east-facing walls that are almost entirely glass, "I’m surrounded by natural light all the time," Draper says. The interior is complemented by a 400-square-foot rooftop deck that provides ample views of the waterfront and the snowcapped peaks of the Cascade Mountains off in the distance.

“I love being close to the water. There’s constant change, with boats and wildlife passing by,” says Denise Draper about her floating home on Seattle's Portage Bay. Read the story on the renovation 10 years in the making here.


Material Pleasures

Countertops: Squak Mountain Stone
Floors: Marmoleum
Cabinets: Plyboo
Windows: Custom designed by Ninebark Design Build and fabricated by Dyna Contracting
Bathroom tiles: Pental
Interior ceiling: Salvaged fir and cedar
Exterior wood rain-screen: Salvaged cedar

Diana Budds


A New York-based writer, Diana studied art history and environmental policy at UC Davis. Before rising to Senior Editor at Dwell—where she helped craft product coverage, features, and more—Diana worked in the Architecture and Design departments at MoMA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She counts finishing a 5K as one of her greatest accomplishments, gets excited about any travel involving trains, and her favorite magazine section is Rewind. Learn more about Diana at: http://dianabudds.com

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