Lake Living and Boathouse Essentials

Take a look at some beautiful boathouse architecture and necessities for a comfortable life on the water.

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Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Photo By: Bob Farley

Boathouses Make Good Neighbors

Lake living is all about spending time outdoors. Lake towns foster tight-knit communities made up of part-time and full-time residents. And as they share the seasons and the lake, folks also share ideas of how to build their lifestyles into their boathouses. Boathouses are a bit of utility and amenity, shelter and exposure, beckoning portals to quiet respites and fun adventures. They are storage sheds and gathering places. Boathouses are front and back porches with shade and sun, for recreation and relaxation, for restful retreat or ruckusy revelry, each reflecting the character of the families who own them. Boathouses are peacemakers. There is friendliness around the water that hardly exists anywhere else. People gather and talk. Folks borrow and lend. Kids, dogs, and golf carts cross lawns, and fences between yards have wide-open gates. As boats near piers, people and pets jump in. Alabama's Lake Guntersville is the backdrop for this gallery of boathouses and boatload of ideas for lakeside fun and comfort.

Extended families gather and blend for a weekend at the lake. Borrowing the Caudell family tradition of bobbing, adults turn lifejackets upside down and wear them like shorts to float effortlessly as they watch over the kids.

Cooling System

With PVC pipe, a couple of elbows, an end cap, low-pressure mist nozzles, mounting clamps, and a hose, Andy and Suzan installed a DIY misting system to keep their deck cool. Composite deck boards replaced wood years ago for lasting durability.

Isolated Retreat

Heavy timbers and cantilevered lofts give this boathouse its architectural charm. A rope hammock, a porch swing, and Adirondack chairs are comfortable and heavy enough to withstand winds coming off the main channel of the Tennessee River.

Architectural Tie-In

The timber columns and arch were repeated in the Smith's boathouse to mimic the unique architecture of their house. Deck-mounted mooring whips and cleats hold boats away from the dock to prevent damage from waves and wind. Super-sized floating mats are for kids' play and sunning.

Serene Setting

Mark and Ginger's boathouse is equipped with recycled poly-composite chairs, a hammock, and metal loungers. Heavy and durable, the furniture will stay put during a storm, and it stands up to the constant moisture from the lake.

Paddle and Play

A paddleboard, a canoe, and the jet ski each have their own place at David's boathouse, and dock-mount lifts keep the watercrafts high and dry.

Vintage Lake Life

Many of the original boathouses on Lake Guntersville were small and practical for their time compared to the newer styles that accommodate today's lifestyles. These boathouses stir nostalgia and lend an idea of what life on the lake was like in yesteryear.

Cedar Clad

Builders of new developments and homes that are close to the lake but don’t have individual waterfront are providing homeowners options of shares in boathouses, wet slips, and community outdoor spaces. Here, three identical boathouses with arches and battered walls, clad in cedar shakes, stand on a point with a fire circle and other amenities between them.

Rambling Rafters

In a quiet cove off the main channel of the Tennessee River, this rustic open-air boathouse allows for the total embrace of nature. The layered beams, rooflines, and decks provide plenty of storage and entertaining space, and the top deck allows for optimal views of the surrounding nature.

Updated Vintage

A vintage boathouse gets a redo without losing the charm. A larger deck, pool ladders, and mooring whips provide modern convenience while the metal loungers with cushions, planters and hanging baskets, party lights, and plenty of decorative knick-knacks help retain vintage flair.

Bird B&B

Purple martins rest on a wire. Some residents encourage swallows to nest on and around their boathouses. They allow barn swallows to build mud nests on eaves, encourage tree swallows to take up in nesting boxes or they install purple martin hotels at the shoreline. These birds eat insects on the wing all day long providing natural pest control, and people value this service of taking care of pesky mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Night Fishing

Lake kids are willing to spend more time outdoors than indoors. This group gathers on weekends at twilight to ready rods and reels and chicken, shrimp, or hotdogs to fish for catfish, and parents allow them to stay out late without worrying.

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