Making a boat a home

The most substantive modifications to our boat have been aimed toward improving her performance and safety. However, we’ve also devoted a bit of time during the last year to making subtle changes and practical renovations that have helped to make The Red Thread feel more like home. Although the modifications described below are not exactly groundbreaking, it has been interesting to notice that making a few small changes to the interior has really made her feel like home for us.

We hung some hooks
Putting holes in the walls of any home is significant, but the thought of creating holes in a boat home is anxiety provoking for reasons unrelated to aesthetics – boats need to float, after all, and holes in hulls can be disastrous. After nearly two years of owning The Red Thread, we built up the courage to go for it. Motivated by the jacket pile that seemed to be ever-present on our settee, we purchased some brass hooks off eBay and got out the drills. The first hole was the most difficult, but we are happy with the attractive and functional results.Hook collage

The microwave got the boot
I never thought I’d say this, but the damn microwave just had to go! On land, having a microwave felt like a staple appliance. We cooked regularly, but used our microwave frequently, often for warming up leftovers and defrosting meat (I know, I know, maybe not the best approach…). Our boat’s microwave, on the other hand, was used far less frequently and was a source of frustration, as it demanded a significant amount of power and was not particularly efficient in warming food. Two thumbs down! Equally important, it occupied eye-level space that could be used for dry storage. On a boat, that type of space is prime real estate! Microwave collageWe removed the microwave, sanded and stained new railing, and sewed decorative curtains. Mind you, the curtain rod is easily knocked out of place, but it looks good as long as you don’t fuss with it too much. We now have a nice space to store dry snacks, something that will be especially helpful on passages when seasickness is likely to be worsened by retrieving food from our main dry storage…which involves hanging semi-upside down between our sink and gimbaled stove.Microwave collage2

We hung a paper towel rack
Before we added a rack to our galley, we stored paper towels in a cubby shelf next to our olive oil and a few other bottles. Although this technically worked fine, every now and again one of us would drop the roll and watch it go sailing across the floor and down a couple of steps. IMG_9789_Paper towel rackThen it was time to re-roll the towels (not pleasant when heeling) and to later pretend [while wiping one’s face] that they had not been rolled across our dirty floor. We’re not really that messy, but I shed like a golden retriever…just ask our bilge pump! Our days of chasing escape-prone paper towels are over! We found a discrete but easily reachable place to hang it. This has been a simple but really useful addition to our galley.

We figured out how to store our spices
We like to eat and, perhaps by proxy, we really enjoy cooking. We have a couple dozen spice bottles that have been longing for a better home for some time. In addition to storing our garbage bin (which was one of Jerry Douglas’ excellent ideas when designing the interior of the CM440), there are two flip-down cubbies in our entryway staircase. Our spices had been living in a plastic tub in the bottom stair until about a month ago. Getting down on my hands and knees and reaching blindly into the bottom stair every time I needed a spice was about as convenient as changing our impeller (eh, that may be a slight exaggeration). This was vexing for both of us, and Neil will attest that I spent far more hours than I care to admit obsessing over how best to remedy this problem. We toyed with the idea of bolting a spice rack to the underside of the cabinet that previously held our microwave (see photos above) but decided against that idea because we didn’t want to lose 2.5 inches of height above the counter top (and the cost was prohibitive). I liked the idea of having our spices visible, as I think most things that have to do with food seem inviting and “homey”; however, we ultimately could not find a better alternative and were too cheap to splurge on a teak rack that would suit the space options available. We settled on a drawer rack. Hesitant as I was to give up drawer space, it seemed like the best alternative. So far, so good – the photo below looks messy, but the spices lay at a bit of an angle, keeping them organized and making them easy to grab. Right now we have 24 spices of varying sizes, and there is still room for a few more. Best of all, they are easily to access and are completely stable. What’s more, I no longer have to perform downward dog or go into child’s pose in order to prepare a decently spiced meal.IMG_2303_spice rack

We were inspired by
When I say “we”, I mean “me.” Neil was a slightly amused and cooperative husband who entertained my desire to recreate something I saw on and performed more than his share of the work in actually making it happen. One day, I stumbled across a cute cork/memo/white board that I LOVED. Given that we’re doing our best to rub pennies together for the sake of our sailing kitty, we agreed that we could not afford to purchase the board and decided it might be a fun project to do together. Well, let’s just say that trying to recreate the board took far more time than buying one and nearly as much money. I recommend you contact this shop if you’d like one for yourself. Nonetheless, after our grand adventure into craft land, we now have a cutesy, semi-functional wall-hanging that holds a couple of magnets, corks from wine we enjoyed together (including some of our wedding wine), and some photos of our adorable nephews. Winning.Cork-memo board collage IMG_9970_edit

We’d enjoy hearing about ways in which others have made their boat home feel cozy. Thoughts and ideas are welcome!

2 thoughts on “Making a boat a home

  1. Can ‘t wait to show Uncle Ray the picture of your revamped microwave space! We never use the one in our trailer so he puts the bread and peanut butter in there and calls it the sandwich safe.


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