Project Boat: Turning An Old Trawler Into A Tiny Home

Not content with converting a rusty old van, the obvious next step was a huge retired fishing trawler. You might be thinking that we don’t like to make things easy for ourselves, and you’d be right. This is no easy job, and it’s going to take a lot more elbow grease and cash than either of us can afford. Luckily, we’ve been given an enormous hand with the project thanks to Jackson’s incredible mum and dad, Bob and Ange. Bob and Angela are both respected artists and with Angela pretty experienced in making what most people (mistakenly) think looks like a pile of useless crap into awe-inspiring sculptures, this was exactly the kind of experience that we needed.

Jackson found Embrace when he was walking Carney around a boatyard in Gweek, on the Helford river. She was in a pretty bad condition but the yard wouldn’t take anything lower than £500. Deciding that was too much, Jackson forgot about the boat for a year until one day he got a phone call The woman who had eventually bought the boat from the yard couldn’t decide what to do with it and was trying to sell. She’d got Jackson’s number from the yard and was wondering if he was still interested. He was, and he bought Embrace for £200.

Meet embrace as she is now…

Fishing trawler on a farm waiting to be converted into a tiny home
A freshly painted Embrace, making herself at home on the farm.

After a life on the ocean waves catching fish, I bet she never thought she’d end her life in a field on a farm, but things don’t always work as planned for anyone.

Embrace in her glory days

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Since Jackson managed to get her back to the farm, Embrace has been hanging out in the corner field, patiently waiting. After doing a few jobs on her and gradually fixing her up in his spare time, she started to look like a viable project. This summer, Bob and Angela built a safe and sturdy staircase leading up to the deck, adding some concrete pillars to add stability on both sides. Bob also fixed most of the gaps in the rails on the top of the boat so we’d stop feeling like we were only one lean away from a smashed skull and a ruined vegetable patch.

Staircase leading up to the deck of embrace

Boat conversion, staircase with rope handles leading up to the deck of Embrace

The huge fuel tanks inside were still full of 400 litres of red diesel, which we had no idea what to do with (Jackson thought we could put it in the car but luckily Bob stopped him). We eventually managed to find someone who would burn it for us and dispose of the unusable tanks properly. The interior is now stripped of all its previous trinkets, furnishings and fittings – apart from a hideous mahogany cabinet, which Angela assures us she can make good use of.

Renovating a fishing trawler into a tiny home on a farm in Cornwall
The overly mahogany interior of Embrace, facing what was the bedroom.

Jackson removed most of the engine however, it was so incredibly heavy no one knew how we would get it out. Eventually, a few friends bribed by a BBQ and a few beers helped to lug the enormous lump of greasy metal out of the bowels of the boat. This meant that there was actually enough space inside to fit in a living area and maybe even a tiny (tiny, tiny, tiny) kitchen!

Inside of a boat before she was converted into a tiny home
The fuel tanks used to sit on either side of the hull with the engine in the middle.

The wheelhouse at the top of the boat is everyone’s favourite room right now because of the incredible views it commands over the surrounding fields. It’s also the only part of the boat that is pleasant to sit in after being painted, decorated and furnished with some beautiful old oil burner lamps. It’s actually quite romantic to sit in there on an evening with a glass of wine as the oil lamps flicker a welcome light over the whitewashed walls.

Inside of embrace, a wilder life blog, cornwall, tiny home conversion

We’re still really far away from designing the interior on the boat but the outside has been painted and almost waterproofed so we should be able to work on this throughout the winter. The plan is to totally waterproof the outside, strip the interior and insulate it well. Once that’s done we can put the floor down and fit the cladding, eventually making some kind of plan for the layout of the inside (we’re leaving this till last).

One day when Embrace is finally finished we’ll decide where she can live full-time, but for now, she seems to have made herself snugly at home on the farm!

Boat conversion, tiny home on a farm in Cornwall
Jackson, warming himself by the fire pit.

For anyone that would like to help out on the boat, you’re welcome to stay in it for free, anytime!

Categories : Projects, Sea to Land
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