The day you hear someone call me captain is the day I buy a boat. -Guy Lafleur

Yep. We are decidedly crazy.

We spent the four years previous restoring a one hundred year old house; the culmination of which seemed to be the hosting of our eldest daughter’s wedding. Not that that was the last event held there. It just seemed to be the perfect climax after all those years of working to put things to right in the old house. And not that it is yet all right. There remain (will always be) windows needing touch ups and a front porch that needs to be replaced. But for all practical purposes, it is completed. It is now in the maintenance stage – something it desperately lacked prior to our guardianship.

Apparently, since Handi-man and I now have nothing else to do, we bought a boat. Yeah, I know. It sounds like we have completed our labors, rewarded ourselves, and are now ready to set sail …sail off into the sunset …dip our toes in the water. … no! Wait! Not any boat, mind you. A 1970 houseboat. A houseboat that needs a lot of work. A houseboat that we never intend to put in the water – pretty certain she would not even stay afloat.

USS Minnow
Let me explain how our swashbuckling, tall tale began.

Sometime in the early part of this year, while making upgrades to our home (paint, which leads to new decor), I wrestled with the idea and finally decided to rent a booth at an antique mall. Through our experiences in restoring The Farmhouse, we found a knack for salvaging and repurposing – almost everything in the old house. And, I needed an outlet for all the pictures and decor that I was or would be changing out in our home, as well as all the duplicate and extra pieces I had accumulated and stashed away in the restoration of The Farmhouse. If you’ve ever had a booth at an antique mall, you know that there is a lot of work (and “stuff”) involved. I began to accumulate my items in, what I thought was, a central location in order to sort and price my inventory – my dining room. Needless to say Handi-man was not overly fond of the piles all over the table and stacked in every corner, overflowing into chairs in the study. Neither was he fond of my “stuff” taking up precious room in his work shop.

I declared that I must have a place to work and store my pieces as they were gathered for transformation into the booth. My initial thought was a cute little camper. Old camper restoration seems to be the thing these day and boy, are they cute! Apparently the law of “supply and demand” has driven the cost of old campers as my initial search revealed some pretty high prices – prices for which you could almost buy a new camper! And then Handi-man had an idea! Our neighbor (and Page cousin) had an old houseboat parked in his yard for over a year. Handi-man reasoned that it would have much more space than a camper and was considerably cheaper than the campers we were seeing.

Our initial inspection was what you might imagine for an old house boat – dank and smelly! There was green (I think it was green at one time) carpet on the floor, as well as the ceiling. Yes! The ceiling! It was painfully obvious that she was leaking from the top down. But, there was potential. After some negotiations we purchased the 1970 Fish-n-Ski, sans the outboard motor, and pulled her home. Thus began our new adventure.

First we gutted her, salvaging all her parts – sinks, faucets, “head”, etc., saving the “wheel” for decor. The only thing we left was one port wall where one of two closets were, and the dinette. Good bye green carpet! (Shiver-me-timbers! What were they thinking!)


She was pressure washed to remove all the years of nasty,

and received a coat of cool-sealed on top in hopes to stop leaks.

The surface of the hull of the boat was badly crackled, especially the white (or what once was white). Two coats of a nice, thick exterior paint was liberally applied.  The nondescript blue was not bad, just very faded and hazy. I washed the blue areas with TSP to remove any existing wax. I painted the white areas – being the largest areas, then taped off the areas for the existing blue and added back a stripe that had at one time run the entire length of the boat. She came out gleaming!

I chose an ocean turquoise – Sherwin Williams “Surfer” and as bright a white as you could get – “Super White” in a best exterior brand house paint. House paint you say? Well, she is a houseboat! And she would not be seeing water, except for that which falls from the sky.


The only foreseeable issue is that she is parked under shade trees (for Southern coolness sake!) which emit sap and other earthy dribble that will stain the boat. Hopefully with the semi-gloss paint which is touted to be stain resistant and washable, she will hold up. She, like a lot of other out door structures, may have to be washed often and touch up with paint periodically.

Before and After:


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