Life in This Renovated Houseboat Would Be But a Dream

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By Melissa Dalton
Stealth storage and a color palette borrowed from nature lets this Australian houseboat live larger than its 495 square feet.

For this houseboat's renovation, led by Kate Harry of the Adelaide-based interiors firm Fabrikate, function was critical. Harry started with careful spatial planning of the 46 square meters, or 495 square feet, which included the captain's driving area. Within that petite footprint, she fit a kitchen with an integrated fridge, concealed pantry, and range; dining space for eight; a lounging area and reading nook; two bedrooms with queen-size beds; as well as a bathroom with separate spaces for the shower, toilet, and vanity. Both built-in and vertical storage were integrated to utilize all of the available space.

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While researching houseboat design, Harry and her team "found Australian houseboats [to be] notoriously dark and heavy spaces." Instead, they turned to the houseboat's setting on the Murray River for inspiration, combining a color palette of mint green, white, caramel, and driftwood. 

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Upon visiting the finished design, the Harry and her team were struck by how the project had come together. "The morning sunrise, the reflection of light off the water throughout the interior was truly a memorable moment for us as designers," the designer said. "The houseboat felt completely at one with it's environment." 

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A drop zone across from the kitchen run

A drop zone across from the kitchen run

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The reading nook

The reading nook

MDF panelling also allowed for contraction and expansion of the moving vessel.

MDF panelling also allowed for contraction and expansion of the moving vessel.

"Laminex Aquapanel was selected in wet areas to meet the weight restriction and potential of cracking tiles," says Harry.

"Laminex Aquapanel was selected in wet areas to meet the weight restriction and potential of cracking tiles," says Harry.

Bedrooms capitalize on river views and built-in storage.

Bedrooms capitalize on river views and built-in storage.

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Before:

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Project Credits:

Design: Fabrikate

Stylist: Emily O’Brien 

Structural Engineer: McDowall Engineering and Construction

Cabinetry construction and installation: Module Dezines

Photography: Jonathan VDK