Saturday, August 17, 2013

Making a Boat a Home: The Art of Decorating A Boat

Many of you write us asking what the inside of our boat looks like.  I've got some older pictures posted on our "Boat" page, but - as I mentioned back in the British Virgin Islands - we have been doing some redecorating, so things look a little different.

Let me start by saying that I am the type of person who revels in her surroundings.  I need to live in a nice space.  It doesn't have to be expensive or fancy or perfectly coordinated, but a clean, cosy and organized living space is a must for me.  Some might call it a a trait of the "fairer sex", but believe me when I say I've met several women who could care less about their boat's interiors.  To each his own.  But for me?  It's gotta look nice and it's gotta be comfortable.  To me, comfort is synonymous with happy cruising.  Call it OCD, call it 'being anal' call it what you will - but clutter and chaos make me edgy, antsy and all out of sorts.  Luckily, we bought a boat with so much storage we still have a load of empty spaces, so being clutter-free is not a problem for us.  Point for the bigger boat...

Even still, when living on a boat function must always take precedence over form, so the phrase "interior decorating" is laughable.  While there are plenty of ways to personalize and get creative, when it comes to a boat's insides, for the most part, what you see is what you get.  There's no moving things around or rearranging furniture and your affinity for feng shui will have to fly out the porthole. You must be very mindful of anything frivolous and non-essential that you mount, place or hang, lest they become projectiles on a rough passage.   That said,  the inside of a boat and how "pretty" it looks should be the least of your concerns when boat shopping, but still - gorgeous interiors have sold more of their fair share of shoddy boats so it goes to show that not everyone is all function out here.

I like to think of us as a little of both (form and function); sure Scott could care less about our new throw pillows or the colors of our bedspread, but he also knows these things make me happy and so he let's me go about my meager decorating attempts with little resistance.  I tend to veer away from the "nautical" theme that so many seem to favor out here...after all, we do live on a boat, I don't think we need lighthouse pillows and seashell wall accents to punctuate it - but that's us.  To personalize our space, we added some cheap non-skid floor mats, some professionally framed posters that have special meaning to us (we are from Chicago, we met and married in St. Joe).  We also added some nice, colorful throw pillows, some custom baskets and storage containers and a few special knick-knacks we've collected here and there throughout the islands.  Everything is mounted either with industrial strength velcro or museum putty (I love the stuff!!!) and we have been in pretty rough seas with nary a casualty.  "A place for everything and everything in its place" as they say...

So with no further ado, here are some pics and a little tour of how we made our boat our home...
Looking forward into the salon from our to our starboard settee which we converted from two seats to one.
The same view, port side.  We made the custom sink cover/cutting board out of starboard.  Extra counter space!
Our navigation station with all of Isla's toys underneath.  We plan on converting this to a forward facing nav station with a be continued...
Our walkthrough to the aft cabin.  This is where our computers usually live.  We keep the shelf behind here very organized and neat with baskets.  "A place for everything and everything in its place" is our storage motto.
This is looking aft at the expanded view of our walk-through - TONS of storage here.  Full engine access is to the right.
Looking froward through the walk through from the aft cabin.  Note the double doors to engine room.  Awesome.
Looking aft again from the walk through into our aft cabin.
Aft cabin. Again, tons of storage, king sized bed and we each have a built in "night stand" of sorts (not pictured)
Our aft head with separate shower
Another view of the aft head - we have old fashioned rum labels mounted on wood on the starboard side - you can only see one but there are four.  Very cool and brighten up the bathroom.

A view of our main salon as seen emerging from the walk through, companionway stairs to port (left).
Our galley.  As much as I despise cooking, I love this galley.  Huge refrigerator with top and bottom door access as well as a HUGE locker for pots, pans and all the other kitchen equipment I hardly ever use.
Our bookshelf got pared down when we both got e-readers.  But reference books are best kept in book form in our opinion.  Ganesh, the "remover of obstacles" sits contentedly in the middle.  Our boat full of Hindu and Buddhist influences, we have three Ganesh's throughout the boat and we're also big fans of the "eye of Rah".
Our little Buddha sits happily atop the small desk light in the nav station - thanks to museum putty.
The "om" symbol is affixed to the door of Isla's room.  It carries with it a lot of meaning and symbolism, but suffice it to say it embodies the "essence of the entire universe"
Isla's room.  The one place where clutter reigns.  She loves her little area and we are firm believers that while you CAN have too many toys, you can never have too many books!
Her collection of books and binkies.  She is almost paci-free now, only for naps and bed.  Baby steps...
The forward "guest" head.  Very light and roomy.  Again with tons of storage.  A full length mirror is on the left.
This is what I remind myself of always.  It is hanging in our forward head.


Michelle said...

Looks so nice! And very homey :)

Tytti said...

Very nice! Do You have vacuum cleaner or use sweep and mop? Only a small one for bread crumbs? (I hate vacuuming).

What is the material of the sofas? (ballpoint pens seem good to keep clear of those and Isla!) White gives light.

Carolyn - The Boat Galley said...

Love it! Literally the first thing I moved onto Que Tal after we bought her was a bunch of photos in plastic frames that I put up with poster putty to make the boat "ours."

Rebecca said...

I totally get the need for a nice, uncluttered space and perfectly understand that it can be tiny and inexpensive, as well. Yours is lovely, great job!

One thing that caught my eye, though, is that your laptop seems to be sitting on a cushion of some kind. That is not a good thing to do, as it can restrict the airflow from the fans and cause overheating - which can kill your laptop. You should try to avoid placing it on soft surfaces for extended periods of time whenever possible.

Everything else looked wonderful, though. I can certainly see why Isla loves her space, what a wonderful area for a child her age. And what a fabulous way to spend her earliest years. Even though she will probably not remember much of it up to this point, except for photos, they are certainly contributing to her development in the most awesome way.

I know you've mentioned that returning to land life starts to look appealing when things get rough on the water, which is easy to understand. But I can't help hoping you can all hang in there at least a little bit longer, until Isla is of an age where she really will be able to remember some of her childhood on the boat. Not that I doubt she will have a great childhood wherever you and Scott choose to bring her up. She just seems like such a natural born sailing vagabond! :)

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff said...

We Love it. Very nice and cozy. We too agreed to have nothing of a nautical themed décor aboard Cream Puff. Personal artifacts with fond memories attached is the way to go.

You have very nice taste.

Thanks for sharing your personal space.

Mark and Cindy

Kristen said...

This is great, beautiful boat. I'm noticing some similarities...moo baa la la la, busy bee, and the binkies. Freja (29 months) has taken to sleeping with 3 binkies. She demands that she goes to bed with "so many binkies." come h*ll or high water, she'll be binky free by 3. Okay, not high water. that has bad implications for a boat. :)

boatbaby said...

(if this double posts, I am sorry. the computer ate my first comment)

Ok, first of all... St. Joseph MICHIGAN? Really? So I am from Chicago too and my family has had a beach cabin in St. Joe since I was 7 years old. I just got back from a week there with the kids

Next, I just wrote an article for SAIL Magazine about interior decorating on a boat. It hits the stands Sept 3 (in their new Multihull mag). One of the major points I make is that using nautical themed decor on a boat is a DON'T!

And finally, we were all just chatting in the Kids Aboard group on Facebook about decorating berths for kids. When Naia was born we did a big kid make over for Zach's berth and got a little crazy with the color. Two words... chalkboard paint.

enjoy your cozy space!

Unknown said...

Hey There! Can you confirm the official headroom throughout your Brewer? I am 6'4" and on the market for a boat, however, my broker has mentioned that Brewer 44 is not very generous on the headroom. Thanks for all your great blog work and sharing your life story!

Carol Florida U.S.A. said...

Love the tour of your home, Brittany!! As I've told you before I really like that you have pictures on the walls and rugs on the floor and have made it so comfortable, and so beautiful!! I like your colorful new pillows, but I miss your pretty blue and white pillow . . . or, maybe it's up on deck on the cockpit seats!! :-)

My Caribbean Wall said...

Oh... such a lovely interior!

Anonymous said...

You have a very nice home. I have enjoyed you blog. David P

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy your blog. We hope to one day soon join the live aboard club. Your blogs are both instructive and personal. I like the mix. For those of us new to sailing but with dreams of making our on experiences, hearing the ups and downs, negatives and positives helps keep the dream based in reality. No crazy belief that we can run from every problem to a fantasy land. Thanks for not letting that be all you share. So sorry Isla has been sick. Hope she stays on the mend. One question on your boat decorating . I did not see curtains, do you not need them to help cool or darken the cabin?
Thanks for sharing

Behan - s/v Totem said...

Love this. Stepping on a boat and seeing how it has been made into a home- or not- speaks volumes to me.

I'd love to know what you used on the settees. We'll redo ours soon, I'd love to use a very light color but was concerned about them getting marked up/dirty from the kids. You must have something bombproof for Isla! Please share.

Plastic Floor Covering said...

Decorating a boat definitely makes it more homey. You did a really great job doing it.

Unknown said...

I'm loving how you've decorated your boat! Everything looks extremely cozy and has a real sense of "home". Hoping to get ours decorated and feeling like home soon too.

I do though have a question for you, that I am hoping you can answer for me.

In the very first photo that you have posted here, I see you have glass balls hanging from the mast. Pardon my ignorance, but can you tell me the name of what those glass balls are called?

As many times as I have seen them, I have never known what they are called and I would really like to search for some online to buy for our boat. I have googled several different key words in hopes to find out what their name with no luck. So I am hoping you can help me with this simple request.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you for being so open and sharing your life adventures and stories on your blog. I have learned an incredible amount from your posts and look forward to following your family in all future posts to come! I'll be eagerly awaiting your reply, as I'm really looking forward to adding this little bit of décor to our boat as well!


Unknown said...

We just bought our first sailboat yesterday and it needs some "sprucing up". Naturally, I turned to the internet for ideas/tips/etc. and stumbled upon your blog. I really love everything (and am fascinated by the fact that you sail with 3 wee ones!). I was wondering where you found your "cheap non-skid rugs". Our boat currently has some carpet remnants along the bottom that I'm not to fond of.

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Cally & John Rivett said...

It really an art and your boat is stunning! Thanks for the sailing inspiration!

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