A Pacific Northwest Photography Blog

Dining for One on a Lake Union Houseboat in Seattle

This small green metal table and chair grace the deck of a brightly colored houseboat on Lake Union’s north shore. Seattle has long been familiar with houseboats or housebarges, as early well-to-do Seattleites lived aboard floating summer homes in Lake Washington around Leschi, Madrona, and Madision where the Victorians called them ‘Amphibian Houses.’ Whereas the hard-scrabble working man and ne’er-do-wells would live in locations such as the Duwamish River, Salmon Bay, Lake Union, and Portage Bay. At the turn of the new century in 1900 there were about 1,000 houseboats in Seattle. Through the years zoning laws, freeway construction, and shoreline development have shrunk the colonies significantly. These days there are less than 500 houseboats still clinging to the shores around the city and if the city had their way there will be much less.

Lake Union House Boat With a Table for One

Lake Union House Boat with a Table for One - (Click on the photo for an enlarged view)

This small houseboat (with the table for one) is moored along the north shore of Lake Union, just a few hundred yards west of the Montlake Cut which connects Lake Union with Lake Washington to the East.  These houseboats have a sweeping view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle to the south.  You may recall the popular movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ starring Tom Hanks featured a houseboat in Lake Union.  That houseboat really does exist, it is moored on the west shore of Lake Union and is one of the largest houseboats on the Lake at just over 2,700 square feet.  I, for one, would love to live in a small place, having less stuff to attend to and clean, and a houseboat would fit the bill nicely and be the cats’ meow! Would you?

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18 Responses to Dining for One

  • I’ve tried living in a small space, the theory is OK but in practice as soon as you move one thing the whole place looks a mess! Believe it or not I used to lose more things in a small place than I ever do now. But some of the old habits are still with me – don’t buy things till you’ve thought about where you’ll store it – throw things out when you don’t need them – spend as much time as possible outside!

    • Madge says:

      I’m sure you’re right John, often things that look very attractive on the front end are not so much once entered into. Even though moving to a smaller space is not in my immediate future, I’m still taking time to sort out, sell, donate or discard items that no longer serve a good purpose for me…

  • Bruce says:

    Great colors in the shot, Madge. I like walking the docks and checking out the house boats when I am in the area.

    • Madge says:

      I saw people walking their dogs out to the parking lot area and beyond… horses, well that would be a another story…

    • Madge says:

      If you moved the table and didn’t spread out much, you could probably lay down in the morning sun, but you probably wouldn’t get an even tan! 😉

  • JoJo says:

    I came here via Victoria Daily Photo. I just moved back to Cape Cod after 12 years in WA state (22 on the west coast) and saw you live there. I love your photos and have added you to my blog roll.

    • Madge says:

      Cape Cod… I’ve never been there but the photos I’ve seen, it is a beautiful place! Thanks for including me on your blogroll…

  • Ms. Becky says:

    Hi there! I love the colors of this houseboat. that one featured in Sleepless was a wonderful houseboat. I’d always had the romantic notion of living on one but now? not so sure. it would be fun to do for awhile, but not as my permanent residence I don’t think. I love your close-up shot of the green table for one. happy day to you Madge.

    • Madge says:

      Yes…this one is small, but it is still attractive, not a floating mansion… most of the houseboats are around 900 square feet, that’s about the equivalent of a 12×50 single wide mobile home.

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I've been publishing 'The View From Right Here' in one form or another since 2007. I hope you find images you enjoy from my travels around Seattle, Puget Sound and the greater Pacific Northwest, giving you a glimpse of the beautiful region of the United States of America, where I have always lived.
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