A North Olympic Peninsula cottage industry — and it floats!
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A floating home built by Little and Little Construction was put into the water at the Port Townsend Boat Haven on Wednesday in preparation for towing to Seattle. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
A tight fit as the houseboat is launched Wednesday in Port Townsend.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Since there isn't a lot of prime urban land left for building new luxury homes, some in the wealthier economic class are taking to the water, with a Port Townsend company taking the lead.

“The floating home community is going through a transition toward more upscale housing,” said Bob Little, president of Little & Little Construction, as the second home he has built slipped into the water at the Boat Haven on Wednesday.

“We want to take the lead on this.”

The first home he built, a 2,000-square-foot luxury home commissioned by a family as its only residence, was completed in February 2012.

This new unit, which is a second home, is a more modest 1,500-square-foot, one-bedroom, two-bath structure.

The house has a flat roof with a sod surface that can be used as a garden and a small crawlspace that can be used for storage and utilities.

It barely made it into the water Wednesday.

It was just a little too wide to fit between the dock's structure, and the lift had to be backed up and repositioned.

Along the lines of the old saying that if you have to ask, you can't afford it, Little won't divulge how much the homeowner is paying for the fancy new digs.

As a special-order project, the cost is between the buyer and the seller and is not part of the public record like a regular landlocked house.

The 180-ton house measures 30 feet by 40 feet and extends 18 feet above the water line.

After being set into the water, the house was docked in the Boat Haven.

It will be towed to Seattle in about a week. After the 12-hour tow, the house will be installed in a floating home community on Lake Union.

It will be hooked up to city utilities: gas, electricity and water — and will stay in place permanently.

Little said there is still some interior work to complete: finishing up the inside with wood from the Sapele tree of Africa and putting the final touches on the custom cabinets and a masonry fireplace.

When it entered the water, a slight list was detectable, but this was to be expected, Little said.

“We will fix that with flotation and ballast,” he said.

“When we are finished, it will be within a half-inch of level.”

It took about a year to build the new home.

Little — who would like his company to be known for the construction of floating homes but who doesn't plan to ramp up production so he can maintain the quality — has one more client waiting.

The home he just finished has a poplar siding that belies its luxurious contents.

“The next one we build might be fancier on the outside, but this one is like a jewel box,” Little said.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 23. 2013 7:35PM
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