Sailboat – Less is More

by Cheryl

My life was wearing me out, so four years ago I left a high-rise condo in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and moved aboard my Valiant 40 sailboat, Koyah. My condo was 750 square feet, which is small enough… but Koyah has less than 250 square feet of living space (though it’s hard to be precise about living space on a sailboat.)

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I’ve moored my home in various neighborhoods around Seattle and the Sound, from Fremont to Shilshole/Ballard to Anacortes up north, but I’m currently living in La Conner, Washington.

I’ve made the living space on Koyah comfortable with small but pretty decorative touches. Many people who come aboard are surprised by how homey it feels. The bunks are cozy, the narrow salon makes a great conversation pit, and the galley is always well stocked. We’ve got everything we need to be happy in this small space.

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Compared to life in a condo in the big city, life on a boat is simpler and more meaningful. The living space is small, so my boyfriend and I spend plenty of time out in our environment. We’ve built a small hydroponic garden on Koyah’s aft deck and use what we grow to supplement foraged meals. Fresh-caught Dungeness crab is a favorite, and we love gathering mushrooms in the woods near us around La Conner. We’ve both taken up the hobby of carving wooden spoons from driftwood and other found wood, too.

One of the best parts of living on a boat is the view. It beats looking at city streets and traffic any day, and if you get sick of looking at the same waterway, you can head for the islands and anchor somewhere else for a change of scenery.

Since downsizing and simplifying, I’m working fewer hours, but I actually keep more of my paycheck than I did when I was paying for a condo and living in the city, working 40+ hours a week. Changing my lifestyle and going small has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I feel like I’m finally living my own life instead of allowing my lifestyle to control me.

By the way, for those who are wondering, it takes more moxie than money to make a change like this. You can follow us at http://facebook.com/handsandropes for tips on how to live well by living with less.

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My Yurt Project on Whidbey Island

Guest post by Eric

I recently bought a 1/3 acre on Whidbey Island in Washington. It was raw land, I cleared a driveway, put gravel down, and built a 16′ yurt. I did all of this myself, with help from generous friends! This is an off the grid, weekend getaway. I have a vintage ice box for refrigerator, sink with 5 gallon tank and valve (drains in a bucket), futon, recliner chair and a 12 volt lighting led strip which uses a 12 volt battery.

This is the first part of a three section of my yurt build. This is the 12,000 square foot lot, approximately cleared 3000 square foot for the yurt. This is the clearing process, all done by myself and two other friends.

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This is the yurt building job. 16′ yurt, 200 square feet, no building permit required as long as it doesn’t have a permanent heat source. $7,750 cost of yurt from Pacific Yurts in Oregon. Approximately $2,500 for cost of building materials and tools. included is the cost of generator, as there is no power on the property. Free labor from myself and gracious friends!

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Complete yurt….has a futon for sleeping, chair, vintage ice box, stainless sink and countertop with a five gallon container, drains into bucket, 12 volt LED lighting ran from AGM 12 battery (I charge it at home). As for facilities, a five gallon bucket, compostable bag lining, with toilet lid outside, enclosed in a 4’x4′ pop up tent. Uses sawdust, then is disposed of after the weekend.

This is mainly an overnight/weekend getaway….perfectly located one hour from Seattle!

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Lake Union Floating Homes

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My wife and I are on vacation and have spent the day in Seattle, Washington. We took the Duck Tour which is both educational and entertaining and I would highly recommend it if you are spending any time in downtown Seattle.

One of the perks of the Duck Tour is that you get to go out onto Lake Union and see the floating homes (view some interior photos at this link). Originally the cheapest place to live in town, no longer. It is now the most expensive place to live. Most of the floating homes cost over a million dollars. The exception is the barge homes that start around $150k and go up to around $800k if you can get one. Though out of most of our price ranges I think the designs are inspiring and I hope you enjoy the following photos. Unfortunately no interior photos as we were not allowed into the homes.

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Duck Tour

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Barge Homes

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Larger homes

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