Have Home, Will Travel

Property Watch: Lake Union Houseboat You Can Actually Drive

Built by a local family of craftspeople, this cabin-like home sits on a pair of pontoons and can travel around the lake.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd July 13, 2022

Image: Virtuance

This little cabin floating just off Westlake Avenue is the quintessential houseboat, with a nautical interior, crafty small-space solutions, and plenty of opportunity to dip your toes in Lake Union. It’s also an actual boat, which is, counterintuitively, a pretty rare thing in a houseboat.

Named Out of Time, this craft is one of just 11 houseboats in the entire city that’s allowed to move freely about the lake. Unlike many houseboats, for which present or past propulsion can be a complicated issue, this one must always remain navigable with inboard engines. The city classifies it as a VDU, or Vehicle with Dwelling Unit. In simpler terms: You can drive it around. The big, beautiful steering wheel in the living room is not just for show.

Image: Virtuance

Out of Time is on the market for the first time since it was constructed in 2015, just before a pretty big shift in houseboat policy. It got its name from builder Haggard Houseboats, a small, family-run local business whose other projects include houseboats Nick of Time and Big Time. It still has the vibes of a more classic houseboat, with a boxy exterior, a curved roof, and even portholes in the front and back doors.

Image: Virtuance

Inside, all 420 square feet are covered in very ship-like, richly grained cedar wood beams and fir beadboard. Its navigation station is right by the front door, with a large wheel that’s attractive and functional in front of the requisite gauges, knobs, and switches, all styled in a sleek way that fits in with the decor. Large three-window banks line either side of the living room, leading to a small, open kitchen that looks like it belongs on land.

Image: Virtuance

Cascading back to the end of the boat are two more rooms. The bedroom, in true houseboat style, has a built-in full bed nestled up along its own window bank with drawers below for storage. A washer and dryer sits behind a curtain on the opposite wall—another unique feature in a houseboat. The bathroom takes up the back, with a pretty generous shower (read: not cramped) for the home’s size.

Image: Virtuance

Decks line both the bow and stern, the former partially covered and with enough space for barbecuing or a very small gathering. The back deck is larger and fully covered, and could store boats, small watercraft like kayaks, or, perhaps, a well-secured container garden. There’s a skylight toward the back that offers full access to the roof, which isn’t so rounded that you can’t get some cautious sunbathing in.

Image: Virtuance

Before it transformed into Out of Time, it was a Kayot pontoon houseboat, a readymade series of homes popular during the 1960s and 1970s. It still sits on top of a pair of pontoons instead of having a more traditional hull, which typically makes boats in sheltered waters like lakes both stable and easier to drive.

It’s nestled between two stretches of tall, covered moorage, making it look a bit like the home in The Little House (or, for those that need a later reference, the Up house), but it does get open sky above and some extra shelter. Just outside, the Cheshiahud trail makes it easy to walk or ride to downtown, South Lake Union, Fremont, the U District, and (via the Burke-Gilman) even Ballard. The leased slip allows rentals and pets, and because nothing is immune to Seattle rent prices, costs $1,382.50 a month.

Image: Virtuance

Listing Fast Facts

2710 Westlake Ave N, Slip 84
Size: 420 square feet, 1 bedroom/1 bath
List Date:
6/29/2022
List Price: $400,000
Listing Agent: Linda Bagley, Special Agents Realty

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