Over four years, Todd Biernacki and his wife Krissy renovated their small houseboat on Seattle's Lake Union to make room for their growing family. While the family saved money by using salvaged and recycled materials and doing the majority of the work themselves, they also splurged on items such as huge windows and skylights, which in turn would help save money down the road by cutting down on electricity use, thanks to the natural sunlight they'd provide. Overall, the addition cost them $250,000.
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The extra weight from the addition required more floatation devices for the houseboat, which had been originally built on a "raft" of old-growth cedar logs 100 years ago. The solution came with 80 new 55-gallon plastic barrels, recycled from a local soda-bottling plant. The family used recycled and salvaged materials throughout the home, including recycled wood floors. They saved space throughout the renovation by using multiple built-in cabinets and drawer systems. Undoubtedly, one of the coolest parts of the addition is the inch-thick, two-foot-square Plexiglas window in the floor, where the whole family can check out fish as they swim through the boat's raft timbers.