We talked with PJ Forgione last week about what it’s like to live on a houseboat. It’s such an iconic image of living in Seattle (Sleepless in Seattle, anyone?), but surprisingly, most people I know haven’t been in one before.
PJ gave us some insider information about what it’s like on the inside. He’s lived in his houseboat for the past four years and raves about his experience. Seattle Freeze? According to PJ, it doesn’t exist in the houseboat community, at least not his. Neighbors leave their doors open and talk with each other when they pass by, maybe even stop by in the evening to share a glass of wine. Everyone is welcoming and and they help each other out. He’s made some lifetime friends here.
I’m not surprised when he tells me that he becomes super popular around July Fourth. His place is 1/4 mile from Gasworks, with only a tiny fraction of the crowd. Friends and family come out and they have a great time hanging out and partying on the dock.
He describes living in a houseboat like dining at your favorite waterfront restaurant (at the waterside table) every day. He can go from couch to kayaking in seconds and has even kayaked to work. Other water activities include paddle boarding, canoeing, boating, and of course, hanging out on fun floaties. A cool unique thing is that he got to name his space. PJ’s boat is named Wildest Dream after the Taylor Swift song.
We asked him how he came to owning one. He had lived in Seattle, but was living in San Francisco when he came back to visit. He was paddling around the lake, really missing Seattle. The pieces just clicked and it was the right next chapter.
Of course there are some drawbacks with this life. His houseboat is one-bedroom, 432 square feet, so he’s had to sacrifice space and storage. The former is basically justified by all the pros. He solves the latter by renting a storage unit on-land. Living on a houseboat also means you need to check the weather more often because you want to know if a windstorm is coming. And finally, if you’re walking to your apartment or house and you drop your keys, you can just pick them up. No big deal. But if you drop them when you’re walking down the dock to your houseboat, you’re SOL.