Home Sweet Houseboat

November 2021 Own Web Exclusive

Three weeks into her new life at the Gangplank Marina in Washington D.C., Shashi Joshi is happy and content. She is finally settled into her new home, a houseboat she helped plan and envision with the expert services of Destination Yachts.

Shashi especially loves the breeziness of her houseboat, the spectacular view of the Washington Monument outside her window and the gentle rocking motion of the boat as she’s lying in bed at night. She’s also a big fan of the warm and welcoming community at the marina, a plus she didn’t fully anticipate.

Ready for a Change

Before the marina, Shashi recalls mildewy, dark and cramped living quarters that took a pretty penny from her bank account each month. Dissatisfied, she relocated three times in three years and eventually moved in with her daughter and grandson in Arlington. 

Shashi began searching for her own space. Along the way, she learned that living in a houseboat at the marina could save her a significant amount of money. Though the idea was new and somewhat far off, Shashi was intrigued. She decided to give it a go.

The Right Manufacturer

The first thing Shashi did was purchase a slip at the marina, a process she says took about a year. Meanwhile, she began looking at houseboat plans. 

In her initial search for the perfect houseboat, Shashi found limited options with inflexible floor plans. She began talking with one manufacturer in Kentucky but was quickly disappointed by their inability to work to her preferences. This seemed to be the case wherever she looked, and she was beginning to feel frustrated and stuck. 

That’s when she found Destination Yachts. 

Destination Yachts is not your average houseboat manufacturer. When they say they customize boats to fit their customers’ needs, they really mean it. Destination Yachts Owner and President Sheldon Graber started the company with the goal of providing high-quality, customizable houseboats at an affordable price. As soon as Shashi began talking with Sheldon about their personalized options, she knew her search for a manufacturer had ended.

Building a Houseboat

Shashi was relieved to have found her manufacturer, but her journey was far from over.  

In October of 2020, Shashi began working closely with Sheldon to customize a layout and plan for her new home. Most of this process played out long distance. Not only was there a pandemic keeping the world under lockdown, but Shashi was still living and working in D.C. and could not be present in Indiana to make in-person decisions. Shashi chose paint, flooring, and fixtures online and watched her home come together virtually. 

The process wasn’t without its challenges. Because of the limitations of collaborating virtually, details were sometimes missed, such as the gray paint Shashi chose that came out as more of a pink color. While this was frustrating, Shashi was grateful for the help of the staff, particularly the officer manager, Cheryl, who noted that the color was probably not what Shashi had in mind. Communication became essential throughout the process to ensure that Shashi’s home was coming together as she wanted it.  

Home Sweet Home

After a long year of planning and working and waiting, Shashi’s beautiful houseboat was finally complete. She glows when she talks about it now.

“This is what I wanted,” she shares. “It’s beautiful and comfortable. There’s also a lot of natural light—I love natural light. This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Even my dog is adjusting well.”

Shashi worried that 900 square feet might not be sufficient, but she’s no longer concerned. She loves that her houseboat contains all the conveniences and appliances of a regular home or apartment, such as a washing machine and dryer. Everything she needs is right there with her, and her space is cozy and not overcrowded.  

When she talks about the journey now, Shashi’s attitude of surprise and wonder seems to say repeatedly, “Who knew?” Who knew that Shashi would finally find the tranquility she had been craving in a quiet houseboat looking on to the stunning view of the city. Who knew the marina would provide such a loving community of helpful neighbors.

“It’s amazing how many people have lived here for decades,” she says. “They’ve really learned to make it work, and they have fun with it. Many have even raised their kids here. They’ve helped me a lot already. I didn’t expect to feel so instantly welcomed, but I do.”

Shashi is particularly excited for Christmas, when everyone at the marina will decorate their houseboats with lights. This will be her first Christmas at the marina. She couldn’t be more excited. This is home. 

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