How do you make a boat feel like a spacious city apartment? That’s the conundrum that was at the very core of our thought process when we first started our journey on designing an upmarket and functional living space on the water. And whilst we had plenty of ideas and thoughts, to deliver on our vision, we had to bring in the experts. So acclaimed designer, Gemma Hill of Bayswater Interiors, an award winning interior design company (having recently been named a winner in the 2021 International Design & Architecture Awards) joined our team to work alongside us and sprinkle some of her magic on the interior of our boats. With our wide beam boats creating a remarkable amount of space to play with, she has worked with us to combine function with beauty, creating a living space that is not only homely – providing all the familiar elements you need to live and relax comfortably with – but a unique, stylish space in which to entertain and socialise.
Having worked with Waterspace since its inception, Gemma has brought her signature contemporary and luxe design style to the interiors, as well as an understanding of the constraints of designing for a floating apartment – and how to overcome them to create an elegant and spacious environment. Responsible for the immaculate styling of our show boats, she also inputs into the functional design of the space – which seems like a good place to linger a little longer on, given it’s probably one of the aspects that we frequently get asked about.
So let’s talk about the general perception that living on a boat means you need to compromise on space – and therefore functionality – and punt that idea into the deep water (so to speak!) The Waterspace boats provide as much space – if not more – as a standard 1 or 2 bed London apartment. Much time and effort has gone into meticulously space planning the boats, ensuring that every square inch is used efficiently and effectively, allowing for surprisingly large living and comfortable sleeping areas, without any sensation of being cramped or constrained. Large windows allow an abundance of natural light to fill the rooms, with the use of mirrors throughout and the intelligent open plan layouts continuing to build that feeling of space as you make your way through the boat.
The recent redesign of the second bedroom on the Greenwich is especially pleasing – and is now being rolled out as the template for second bedrooms across the range. By adjusting the configuration, it’s avoided the fact that many second bedrooms only have enough space to give you access to one side of the bed. Now, as with the master bedroom, there is space for guests to move around the whole bed with ease, whilst still easily incorporating those essential items of furniture such as dressers and bedside tables. And after a night of being entertained – either in the roomy living area, around the kitchen island or on the outside seating area on the stern – a good and comfortable night’s sleep is what you and your guests will get.
Without compromising on style, storage solutions have also been optimised – you still need somewhere to store your vacuum cleaner after all – but it’s been done in a way that doesn’t scream “static holiday caravan”. Discreet cupboard space and open shelving meld perfectly into the wider design, with cabinetry being created specifically by local suppliers to create pleasing solutions to the issue of having too many belongings!
FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES
This seems like a good segue into our next topic – furniture and accessories. If there is one way to really emphasise the luxury design of these spaces, it’s with the incorporation of bespoke, statement pieces of furniture – from fitted cabinets to large comfortable sofas to tasteful lighting – much of which is sourced and made locally. These pieces are complemented with the astute use of high street accessories such as vases and artwork, working together to create a style that is unique and exudes high quality.
Local furniture makers create pieces designed to suit the size and shape of the boat, with consideration given to things such as open shelving or how a fireplace integrates with the living space. A plethora of mod cons makes living on water an attractive alternative to city centre living – wood burning stoves; wine coolers; fully integrated kitchens; underfloor heating in a bathroom complete with full size bath tub, separate shower and elegant black faucets; or the 42 inch televisions that adorn the walls of the living and master bed rooms to name but a few.
It’s not just the fixtures, fittings and furniture that have been carefully curated – curtains, cushions, sofa and bedroom fabrics are thoughtfully chosen to create a sophisticated effortless style using high quality linen and manufacturers, which are mixed with interior art and accessories in a way that is unique and one of a kind.
With the ability to personalise much of the fixtures and fittings in all of the rooms, with a range of exquisite options to choose from, it is easy to create a space that suits your own creative style. And if that all feels a little too daunting or time consuming, you can simply do what many of our clients do – and buy the boat lock, stock and barrel, complete with all furniture, décor and soft furnishings, as seen on the show boat!
How we want you to feel whilst living here is also at the forefront of our mind, whether it is through the ease at which you can purchase both boat and mooring or through the way the interiors make you feel. This is why being design-led is so important to our approach. Gemma has given careful consideration to each of the boats specific aesthetics to elicit feelings of comfort and sophistication. Whether it is the Scandinavian simplicity of the Hoxton, with its clean lines, muted colour palette and harmonious use of natural materials to create an airy and contemporary feel; or the prestige luxe of the Greenwich, where the emphasis is on luxury and comfort, as seen with the glamour of the upholstered walls in the master bedroom, complemented by concealed down-lights that provide a soft glow, creating a sumptuous sleeping area.
Colour schemes, for both interior decoration and exterior paintwork, are influenced by the latest in colour trend. This years Pantone selection being shades of yellow and grey, but previous variations of classic blue and coral/orange have all been used to tastefully decorate the boats, with accents of colour drawing the eye to key features without overwhelming the light and airy space.
The interior style will undoubtedly continue to evolve, as Gemma seeks inspiration from the annual London design shows and keeps her eye on upcoming trends, in order to bring something new to the interiors of each showboat as they are released.
With the effort and consideration that goes into creating a Waterspace Living boat, we like to think that our original idea of creating a floating city apartment that provides for comfortable, relaxed and stylish living has been realised. After all, what more could you want? A beautiful location and that familiar feeling of a home where you’ll want to relax, unwind and entertain in equal measure – a luxury lifestyle at an affordable price.