Fixer Upper: It Floats!

Chip and Joanna take to the high seas (well, at least Lake Waco) when they help a friend turn an old houseboat into a home, Fixer Upper-style.

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Anchors Aweigh

Getting their feet wet? Dipping a toe in the water? In over their heads? Without a paddle? The puns just keep coming. Bottom line: For this project, Chip and Joanna take on a new niche in home renovation when they help a friend find and build a home on the water — literally. They help a young father of four find a used houseboat he can afford, and then (as is their forte) transform it into something well beyond his expectations.

BEFORE

Chip's long-time friend Brett Swartz is a Waco native who had a yearning for the lake life. He was looking to downsize and provide a simpler and more nature-driven life for his four beautiful kids. After looking at a few houseboat options, Brett settled on this (temporarily, at least) landlocked craft. "The Double Decker", as Chip dubbed it, was 43 feet from stem to stern. It was built in 1970 and had an asking price of $27,000. Brett's all-in budget was $85,000, leaving a renovation budget of $58,000.

AFTER

A key question for Chip was whether the boat was structurally sound and, after all the additions and improvements, would it still float? Cutting to the chase, it did. Chip and Joanna transformed the boat that homeowner Brett initially described as "big and pretty ugly" into this visually stunning and contemporary home on the water.

BEFORE

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

The main living area was reconfigured, with the stairs relocated to the rear of the boat and the first floor ceiling raised by about a foot. A sizable cut-out was created to open up the transition between the downstairs and upstairs, giving the space a loft-like feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows — on both levels — also help serve to give the entire area a dramatically open feel while providing tons of natural light and amazing views.

Living Room, AFTER

Homeowner Brett's renovation wish list included a home environment with modern flair, a good flow, family friendly living area and some spaces that afforded privacy. The main living room was updated with dark paneling replaced with new wood surfaces painted in bright white. The old floor was removed and replaced with vinyl-plank flooring that's water resistant but still has a natural wood look.

Living Room, Detail

Joanna incorporated a lot of natural wood accents, both inside and out, to provide warmth and provide a soft balance with the modern and industrial touches.

Living Room, Detail

A modern styled sofa and arm chair placed under the stairs create a cozy sitting area.

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Simple metal railings and open stairs, both in black finish, provide visual contrast and help imbue the space with a decidedly modern feel. 

Bathroom, BEFORE

Bathroom, AFTER

The bathroom was essentially gutted and made over in grays, black and natural wood tones. A sliding door on rollers was installed both as a stylistic touch and to save space. Other new features include gray concrete top for the vanity and dark gray subway tile for the shower.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

Like the bathroom, the kitchen was entirely made over, with the old cabinets removed and replaced with modern black cabinetry and lots of open shelving. Wall-to-wall windows spanning the entire length of the kitchen bring in lots of natural light and afford wraparound views.

Before

This former breakfast nook was incorporated into the enlarged kitchen and living space. The original stairs seen here were removed and replaced by the new metal stairs at the rear of the space.

Kitchen, AFTER

A serving bar with barstools is incorporated into the kitchen floorplan to serve as informal dining space. In a last-minute addition, and to provide more kitchen work surface, Joanna commissioned this small custom island with welded metal base and natural wood top.

Kitchen, Detail

The kitchen features a miniature apron-front sink that's ideally suited to the small space.

Kitchen, Detail

The open metal shelving provides a modern touch and ties in with the black metal window frames. 

Kitchen, Detail

The open shelves incorporate a lip to help guard against items falling off during the rocking of the boat.

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Bedroom, BEFORE

Bedroom, BEFORE

This upstairs bedroom would become a bunk bedroom for Brett's kids.

Bunk Room, AFTER

The updated bunk room offers plenty of sleeping space for the kids or guests. Joanna incorporated natural wood elements, iron railings and fixed metal ladders in black finish.

Bunk Room, Detail

Master Bedroom, BEFORE

Master Bedroom, AFTER

The master bedroom was enlarged by removing an exterior wall and framing in and enclosing what had previously been an upper deck. The space is not only expanded, but given a whole new look with white paneling, black interior awnings and an accent wall in natural wood "skinnylap" — one of Joanna's new favorite wall treatments.

Master Bedroom, AFTER

The master features new windows and French doors that open onto a private balcony.

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bedroom, Detail

BEFORE: Drab Dwelling on Pontoons

Brett (and Chip) had some misgivings about whether this sad looking boat could be made seaworthy, much less turned into a modern, stylish home. Ultimately they decided to take the plunge. (Sorry.)

AFTER: Curb Appeal Without the Curb

The new exterior offers a beautiful visual balance between the modern black siding and the natural wood of the trim and planter boxes. The wood siding is, in fact, not painted but instead treated using a natural preservation process called Shou Sugi Ban. The traditional Japanese technique involves burning the surface of the wood to create a protective seal as well as a visually distinctive finish.

"Chip and Joanna really captured just the simple, subtle, modern design that I wanted. I didn't want anything flashy. I didn't want anything shiny. I just wanted it simple and I feel like they really got it perfect." —homeowner Brett Swartz

Finis

If you enjoyed seeing what Chip and Joanna could do with tiny spaces and on a tight budget, we bet you'll also like this  project: Fixer Upper Takes on a Vintage Tiny House.