EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) - Ian Handley is used to people stopping by, scaling the makeshift wooden stairs and touring the impressive two-story houseboat he's developing in a driveway.
"It's a lot of work, but it's fun," said Handley, a financial consultant by trade and creative houseboat renovator on the side. "How many chances do you get to do something like this? I just love it."
Handley, 33, came to Eau Claire about eight years ago after an eight-year stint with the U.S. Army. He admits he had little training or expertise in design, but he has surrounded himself with others who specialize in engineering, design and construction, and who are helpful with his endeavor, including engineer Clayton Revelle of Elk Mound.
"Clayton is so good," Handley said. "If you can think it, he can build it."
"I'm taking two months off for this project," he said, adding that he's about six weeks into the effort and plans to have it docked soon on the St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minn.
"I'm single, have no kids, I've been very smart with my money and I have the time and energy to work on something like this," Handley said. "This boat is going to be something that will stop people, and when it's on the Mississippi (river), it is going to be pretty impressive."
Handley renovated a houseboat last year and stationed it at Lake Holcombe. He eventually sold it to someone in Houston.Read more at http://dailyreporter.com/blog/2010/08/22/wisconsin-man-renovates-two-story-houseboat-
He bought this fire-damaged 50-by-14-foot houseboat and believes it will be worth $400,000 or more by the time he's finished. He estimates investing $275,000 in improvements.