“Originally, the house was built on the shore near the marina, filled with furniture, and then pushed out to the current site,” explains Rich. When purchased, the floating house had an “ocean beach feel. Now, cedar siding and faux rock on the front columns give the exterior a “lake house” look.
One of Marlas water-skis, hand-painted with the motto “Life Is Better at the Lake,” hangs over the front door. Accents like Marla’s childhood skis and Rich’s fishing rods and lures add a personal touch. The coffee table is a U.S. Marine Corps
Plenty of color amps up the Thomases’ retreat summertime factor.
The balcony off the master bedroom is the best place to watch the sun rise over the lake.
“Its a nice way to keep his memory alive at a place we know he would enjoy,” says Marla. Making the cabin feel like their own, though, was no easy feat. “For our renovations, everything we needed had to be brought over by boat,” Rich notes. (While the Thomases are able to tote groceries and nominal supplies in their boats, Stardust rents pontoons lor larger cargo.)
Though Norris Lake is a seven-hour drive from home. Rich and Marla make the trip every chance they get.
“We re both retired schoolteachers,” says Marla. Although we bought the floating house two years before retirement, we are still on a school schedule due to Katelyn.” The family spends the entire summer, as well as school breaks, at the lake. Once parked at the marina, the family hops aboard one of their two moored boats to reach the cabin. To fully enjoy the lake, their “fleet” also includes a personal watercraft, a paddleboat, and two kayaks. Boats and toys are docked on all sides of the floating house, then stowed away during the off-season.)
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THE UPS AND DOWNS OF OWNING A FLOATING CABIN
Most floating cabins are not located within catwalk slips/docks, but since they occupy space within a marina’s harbor, owners still pay a mooring fee. Typically, an annual lease is needed to rent the space.
Utilities consist of waste pump-out, water, and electric. All floating cabins are required to have waste pumped out regularly. While some marinas include this in their monthly mooring charge, others charge an additional cost. For example: On average, in the Norris Lake Marina, this amounts to about $450 per season in addition to the mooring fee.
Water may be provided by the marina, and it may be included in the monthly mooring fee or billed separately monthly or annually. For floating cabins where water is not supplied by the marina, typically a lake water pump will be installed. These pumps allow the lake water to be used for sinks or showers, while residents carry in water for drinking or cooking. Another option is installing a system that treats lake water for drinking.
Additionally, electric/shore power is not available at every marina. When power is available, electricity is metered and read monthly or quarterly by either the marina or local utility company. Most marinas require the owner to purchase and maintain the shore-to-cabin power cable, which consists of underwater mining cable. If a retreat is for sale and is hooked to power and the cable is being included in the sale, the listing will usually state: “Shore Power Included.”
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