A comfy theater room perfect for viewing movies on a rainy Seattle day. built with grandchildren in mind. As much as that sounds like every kid’s dream, Mike points out that the laundry chutes are sized to be too small for adventurous kids. There are 26 varieties of wood used throughout the home, with a minimal amount of painted space. Mike says, “Wood is sustainable, warm, comfortable and never goes out of style.” The flooring includes cherry, hickory and fir, while the walls are primarily birch, maple and cherry. The ceilings throughout are clear cedar. Despite the Arts and Crafts styling of the home, it is a model of modern technology and energy efficiency. Solar panels generate a share of their electricity; two pellet stoves provide most of the heat; rainwater is captured for watering plants; and all of the lighting is low (12-volt) voltage. Aurora is named for the 2,500 foot-
long bridge that passes almost directly overhead; the path of Aurora Avenue, also known as State Highway 99. It’s one of 17 houseboats built by Mike’s company – the suitably named Sherlock Homes. A dozen can be found on Lake Union, three are in Alaska and two are afloat in Portland. Mike, who was raised in Washington on Whidbey Island, is a cross between a rugged Pacific Northwestern fisherman/boatbuilder and a Renaissance man, who says that “everything that someone does is a form of art.” Aurora’s design was hatched from Mike’s imagination. He used pencil and paper to produce properly scaled overhead views of each room, including furnishings. He also hand drew each wall surface to consider details and to make the design come to life before it was turned over to architects for construction specifications.
It took five years to build, using an eight-person full-time crew. The Sherlocks say they are often asked what Aurora would sell for; they won’t speculate. Their first houseboat was “Alice”, an 1,800 square-foot home they describe as a “cool little cabin,” built to see if they would like it. Mike says, “We didn’t realize how much we were going to love it. We immediately began asking, ‘How fast can we get rid of our house in Mukilteo?’” Among the things that captivated them are the sights and sounds of their dockside home, including the neighboring rowing club; the horn on the nearby Fremont drawbridge; seaplanes flying overhead; and a nonstop stream of boats ranging from kayaks to barges laden with gravel and sand. (Surprisingly, there is very little noise from the bridge, more than 150 feet above.)
A special real estate section of unique waterfront homes. 52
The Seaplane and Boating Destination Magazine