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Tour This Houseboat on The Rockaways

Tour This Houseboat on The Rockaways


Many of the windows in the home are not windows at all—they’re doors, turned sideways and repurposed as large awning-style windows. Margaret adds, “We don’t use air conditioners. We have no need for that in the summer because we get such a wonderful breeze through the house.”

Ty Cole

“We built it to have every modern convenience, so in that way, it doesn’t feel different than our old Brooklyn apartment. We wanted it to feel like a real home and not like we were living on a boat,” shares Margaret. The house boasts a full-sized bathroom and kitchen, two outdoor patios, and a spacious bedroom and living area.

Adam describes the home as “bohemian modernism with coastal accents.” Bohemian is a nod to the maker culture in Rockaway; coastal touches speak to traditional boat design; and modernism shows up in the space’s clean lines.

Without a shower curb, the bathroom is a full wet room. The airy, modern space includes classic penny tile on the floor, a custom fabricated sink basin, and a roomy shower. It features an asymmetrical sconce from Schoolhouse Electric.

Ty Cole

The home is filled with custom- and artisan-made pieces, including the massive front door. “We built it oversized to open up onto our entryway and stairway. The whole house, in a way, opens up so there’s a way to quickly get in touch with the water and our surroundings,” says Adam.

“Unlike a lot of New York residences, it’s very much an indoor-outdoor home,” agrees Margaret. “We have these big awning windows that we open up, the big front door, the big patio doors on the second floor, and in the warm weather, which is when we’re here the most, it so fits our love of nature and our desire to be outside.” The boat is located on a fishing dock. Different species of migratory birds frequent the neighborhood throughout the warmer months. When the weather is nice and the sun is out, being on the houseboat is akin to a day at the beach or spending time in the nearby wildlife refuge. “We try to have as many of those moments as possible,” adds Adam.

The couple describes the space as an “upside-down house. The bedroom, bathroom, and living area are downstairs, and the kitchen and entertaining space are upstairs.” The interior walls are clad in humidity-tolerant maple plywood, and the seams were left exposed adding to the modern appeal. The floors are made from mahogany, typical of boat design.

Ty Cole

⚒ Do It Yourself

Think outside the box Adam and Margaret repurposed recycled doors into large awning windows. They hung them horizontally instead of vertically and added a mechanical hinge. Don’t be afraid to use an item for a different-than-intended purpose.

Take inspiration from your surroundings The Kairu house’s exterior and interior design were inspired by its location among nature.

🛍 Shop It Out

Inchyra Blue Modern Emulsion Paint, $115, Farrow & Ball

RUNNEN Decking, $24.99, IKEA

Go-Cart Rolling Counter Table, $179, CB2

Washed Linen Curtain, $189, Parachute

Simone Double Sconce, $379, School House Electric

The “super structure” consists of two recycled shipping containers, cut in half, stacked and welded together on top of a steel barge.

Ty Cole



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