I’ve always had a list of things I’d love to build. Some make it to paper, and some actually do get built, but ultimately the list is too big: some things on my list I’ll have to categorize as retirement projects One such project is a yacht: something out of William Fife’s playbook, like a 26-foot cutter with one of those sexy swooping sterns.  

I was working on an extension for a particular client when they asked me how they might acquire a rowing-themed light fixture. Naturally, I referred the client to myself. Initially, I was thinking of something quite conceptual, but when the client sketched out a literal boat outline, my daydreams of boat building surfaced, and I thought ‘why the heck not? Let’s build a boat!’

The client’s house had a Matai floor with window trims to match, so Matai was an obvious material. However, it presented me with some particular construction challenges – as did the positioning of the LED strip and its diffuser.  

I was looking for a literal, beautiful solution to that literal, beautiful project: ‘let’s build a boat’. In the finished object, the visual complexity of the unclad frame contrasts with the simplicity of the kitchen joinery behind it. Its length, at half scale, competes with the monumental kitchen island it illuminates. I still love to walk around it and see the curves of the gussets’ and stringers’ softly changing down its length: curves that are soft; almost female.
Project Info
Completion: 2015
Photos: Josiah Watson
Builder: Gerard Dombroski