My girlfriend and I spend our summers on Lake of the Woods, Canada, and have decided to stop renting a cottage each summer, and instead buy an older houseboat to turn into a modern floating home. When I say modern floating home, I'm referring to the type of stuff you'd expect to see in Seattle on Lake Union. Here's a website of an Australian architect who is designing houseboats similar to what we want: http://www.arkiboat.com.au/index_files/Page953.htm
When it's done, it will in no way resemble an old houseboat!
However, it does have to be powered, and operate as a houseboat. It also needs to be relatively tough under the waterline, as most of our lakeshore is rocky and that's where the houseboat would spend most of it's summer tied up.
The way I see it we have two options:
1. Buy an old houseboat with a good hull and good bones, and do a major remodel
2. Start from scratch with a new custom home, and set it on top of a new aluminum hull
I have a feeling that option 2 would cost way more than I want to spend, so I'm looking for advice as to which inexpensive older houseboat would make a good remodel opportunity, considering our circumstances. I like the idea of an older houseboat because all of the fairly expensive systems are already there, ie: motors, tanks (water, fuel, holding) plumbing, electrical, generator, etc.)
A few other notes: Our ideal size range would be 34-45 feet long by 12' beam. Fairly shallow draft is a feature we'd like. It also has to be pulled out of the lake each year for on-land storage.
I'm anxious to hear your thoughts, and if you have further questions, shoot away. Thanks in advance for the advice!