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You Can't Miss Custom Houseboat 'El Niño' & Its Garden Room

There aren't many houseboats that come with garden rooms

There aren't many houseboats that come with garden rooms; especially, ones with palm trees.

Okay, so the palm trees are cut out of metal, but at least they're easier to maintain that way. El Nino is a custom Mike Kelly design for a houseboat on Lake Union. The bright blue cedar trim is distinctive, but relatively common - at least compared to the metal room with the sloped roof added to the upper deck. That's the garden room, where the windows are partly shaded by those palm trees. Of course, you could always plant some real ones in pots. They do grow here.

The asking price is $365,000 (plus $450/month) for the 570 square foot floating house. One way they made the most of the space was to use a ladder instead of stairs to get between the two levels. The upper deck is the garden room and adjacent bedroom. Downstairs is the kitchen, living space, and bathroom.

The appliances fit the mid-size nature of the space. They fit that medium space between conventionally large, and maritime tiny. The fridge is big enough to include a freezer, but isn't full height. The stove has three burners, not four or two. The oven is convection, which can do a lot in a small space.

Relaxing is the theme with little decks, lots of light, and a necessary minimalism that simplifies life. Maybe that's why the used cutouts for the palm trees. They take up a lot less space that way.

· Gas Works Park Marina, 2143 North Northlake Way [El Nino]