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My New Houseboat!

A few days ago, I shared on Facebook that my husband, very generously, offered to rent a houseboat for the fall as a place for me to write my fifth novel, which, as you know, is set on a houseboat in Seattle. At first, being the thrifty person I am, I said “no way!” After all, we just bought another property in town, and it seemed like an outrageous additional expense to take on, but then I thought about it: What would be more amazing than having my own houseboat for the fall? A place I could sneak away to and work on my new novel? A place to uncork a bottle of wine on the rooftop deck with friends and watch the boats go by (while thinking about plot points, of course)? A place to invite friends and family to have dinner and even stay the night in the upstairs loft? Dreamy, right?

So, thanks to some wonderful encouragement from my pals on Facebook (and in the real world) who encouraged me to take the plunge (quite literally, here), today I got the keys to a beautiful, cozy, unbelievably quaint little houseboat on Lake Union. The owner happens to be a book publisher who is a dear, and when not living in this gorgeous floating home, she lives in Canada. We’ll be renting her houseboat for four months—just enough time for me to submit my manuscript to my editor, and time enough to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve on our little lakeside oasis.

“You only live once,” my husband said today, and he’s so right. I not only believe my new novel will be richer for this experience, but I also think this will be a time my family and I will treasure for a lifetime. Obviously, houseboats and little boys don’t really mix that well, so we’ll have to watch them like hawks when they visit, and we won’t be living there in any permanent way (we’ll still sleep at our permanent residence in Seattle), but I’ll plan to spend as much time as possible there, and plan frequent stayovers (for research, of course!).

I took some photos of our new houseboat and the surrounding floating home neighborhood today, and wanted to share them with you here:

I got the mattress from mattressnextday, for those who are wondering.

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39 comments… add one
  • brianna >> September 3, 2012, 2:23 pm

    Eek! You are one lucky lady. I would kill for an opportunity like that, even if my next book isn’t set on a houseboat. I guess a cabin in Tahoe would be the next best thing, since my book is set there.

  • Gibby >> September 3, 2012, 2:24 pm


    I am now considering selling my house and buying one.


    Have fun!

  • Lori >> September 3, 2012, 2:25 pm

    This is SO beautiful!

  • Julia Munroe Martin >> September 3, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. What an amazing and magical place. (Can’t wait to read the book!)

  • Nancy H >> September 3, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Love it! And, I totally agree with your husband, you only live once! Enjoy it. πŸ™‚

  • Lisa Milstead >> September 3, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Enjoy- It looks fabulous! I think it was a terrific idea, and one that you will always cherish.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy) >> September 3, 2012, 3:05 pm

    It’s gorgeous! I’ve wanted to stay on a houseboat ever since I saw Sleepless in Seattle.

  • tessa s >> September 3, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Looks like it will be an amazing experience for you and your family! Enjoy and thanks for sharing a glimpse into your inapiration- it will be a unique little extra for when we read the book!

  • Laura Kay Bolin >> September 3, 2012, 3:07 pm

    So glad you decided to “take the plunge!” looks like an amazing little getaway! Enjoy!

  • Glenda >> September 3, 2012, 4:25 pm

    Amazing!!! Can’t wait to read more about the next four months of this journey. Can’t wait for the next 4 books!!! Best to you always!!!

  • Donna >> September 3, 2012, 4:35 pm

    Hope you know how lucky you are; not only to be able to live on this charming houseboat but to have the gift to write as well as you do and for a thoughtful husband and two beautiful boys. Please never forget your fortune. Live well. Live happy. But above all live
    with a grateful heart.

  • Stephanie S. >> September 3, 2012, 4:52 pm

    That looks like heaven!! Enjoy it!

  • Gerry Verhoef >> September 3, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Check with your tax accountant but in my opinion all the rent should be tax deductible business expense….so says Uncle Rich…Aunt Gerry.

  • Ashley >> September 3, 2012, 5:39 pm

    Gorgeous! It’s a terrific and idea and will be so great for you and your family. Thank you for sharing with us! πŸ™‚

  • Jessica >> September 3, 2012, 6:58 pm

    I LOVE it! Wish I could visit, I am homesick now!

  • Hallie Sawyer >> September 3, 2012, 7:53 pm

    How exciting!!! I’m so glad you did it! What an exciting adventure and one sure to give you tons of great memories as well as inspiration. Can’t wait to read more “Houseboat Hiatus” posts. πŸ™‚

  • Laura >> September 3, 2012, 7:53 pm

    That is so awesome! I hope you thoroughly enjoy it :-).

  • Diane Siniscalchi >> September 3, 2012, 8:17 pm

    This is adorable! A dream come true! It looks so cozy, and I love the light filled living room. Although I am not a writer, I do believe that this place would inspire me!

  • Anita >> September 3, 2012, 8:32 pm

    I am so excited for you!! My husband and son loved the pictures when I showed them earlier…both of them thought it was so very cool.

  • Zsuzsa >> September 3, 2012, 9:16 pm

    Is it expensive to rent a boathouse like this?

  • Renee Taylor >> September 4, 2012, 7:56 am

    I totally agree with your husband… life is so short not to take what life offers you! Enjoy this journey!! This book will be amazing. We all now can only dream what you are going to put on these pages… can’t wait to see what it will engage us with. The beauty in these photos, only you will be able to capture and bring us there! Love what God has blessed you with Sarah and WE are truly blessed to receive!!

  • Chris Hutson >> September 4, 2012, 10:56 am

    Wow! Looks so beautiful. Please put more photos to show the changing season as you work there. Will have to put Seattle on my ‘to see’ list when we do our big USA trip.

  • Jenn >> September 4, 2012, 5:17 pm

    So adorable! You would never get me out of that living room. Please tell me it has some enchanting nautical name to go with it.

  • joanna >> September 7, 2012, 11:36 am

    wow, this is amazing! super jealous!

  • tunie >> September 7, 2012, 4:12 pm

    The houseboat looks fun but what I’d really prefer is a husband like yours! How thoughtful of him! You’re so lucky… : )

  • Allison >> September 8, 2012, 9:14 am

    This is an amazing idea! Where did you come up with such an idea? I’m on the east coast (MD) and have never heard of house boat renting. How’d you find one to rent?

  • Cynthia Ematrudo >> September 8, 2012, 11:55 am

    Your houseboat is absolutely gorgeous! I’d like to know (approximately) the cost of renting such a home…

  • Jenna >> September 9, 2012, 7:47 pm

    Well, now I want a houseboat!

  • Di >> September 10, 2012, 4:45 pm

    Ooh lala. I love it and also that everyone has a small boat or kayak out back. That’s so cool! Enjoy!!

  • Melinda >> September 19, 2012, 10:33 am

    what a neat location to inspire greatness πŸ™‚

  • Toni Kenyon >> September 22, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Sarah, what can I say except, “Wow! I’m utterly jealous.” I just found your post c/- Jane Porter.
    I think your husband is a wonderful, wonderful man. I love reading about the support that writers receive from dedicated spouses. Most people don’t realize that behind every good author there is a family who patiently wait for their Mom/wife’s attention.
    You have a special husband and family. Enjoy.

  • Gina >> October 10, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I love this! Looks like you are on the East side…my office is (dangerously) located near the little park by Pete’s wine shop…best.wine.shop. πŸ™‚

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