Mollie and Jason are all about that boat life. Imagine waking up surrounded by nature, the gentle lapping of water, and the freedom to decide: “Where to next?” Drop anchor here? Why not! It’s the perfect combo of a laid-back lifestyle and the perks of off-the-grid living, all without breaking the bank.
So far, they’ve called 13 boats their home, each lovingly restored and renovated. Their latest masterpiece? A gorgeous wide-beam boat christened Ophelia.
With five years under their belt the couple have turned boat renovations as well as campervan conversions into an art form through their own company, Marwood Makes. They would buy boats, fit them out, make them look beautiful, then sell them. Ophelia was their final build, and it was undeniably one of the most beautiful. This boat is wider and more spacious than any others they had ever worked on and would eventually become someone’s permanent home or home away from home.
Mollie and Jason built Ophelia, the wide-beam boat, from scratch. They connected with a boat builder and received a bare shell to work from at a cost of £78,000. Over a period of several months, they slowly turned that empty shell into a beautiful house on the water.
But it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing, pardon the pun. At the time, Molly was pregnant, and they were already living in another narrow boat with two children. They moored their boat behind the wide-beam boat, worked on it over time, and eventually moved into Ophelia before selling their narrow boat.
Six months passed, and they decided to sell Ophelia for £150,000 after spending £40,000 on it. However, after steel and building material price increases, Ophelia is likely now worth in the vicinity of £180,000 to £200,000.
Ophelia is a 60-foot by 12-foot wide-beam boat set up for permanent living or occasional vacationing. Owners can enjoy unlimited energy in the summer courtesy of the 1,600-watt solar setup. Even powering Ophelia in the winter isn’t a hassle. While the days are shorter and the sun doesn’t get as high, you typically only need to run the engine for an hour a day or every alternate day. You can then enjoy hot water and a form of central heating.
When you think about life on a boat, you might picture cramped quarters with barely enough space to move, let alone entertain. The internal layout of Ophelia is in direct contrast to a more traditional boat layout!
It’s open, spacious, fresh, and modern while retaining rustic charm. Mollie and Jason wanted to appeal to their target market – young, professional, and ‘cool’ couples who wanted to entertain, have dinner parties, and host friends and family. The open layout makes the boat feel much larger than it is, especially with the central walkway that guides your eye down the middle of the boat. There are also doors out to the front, enabling you to use the whole boat rather than just sections within enclosed rooms.
Mollie and Jason wanted to incorporate as many natural materials as possible, which guided them towards using solely birch ply interior. All flooring materials and cabinetry are birch ply, while the counters feature Iroko worktops. The kitchen also boasts a Smeg five-hob burner and oven as well as a 12-volt integrated fridge and freezer.
The same birch in the kitchen area is present throughout the rest of the living room. Mollie and Jason love the Scandinavian feel of these materials while also making the boat feel clean, simple, bright, and airy.
Winters in Britain can be cruel, but Jason and Mollie thought of everything to ensure the boat’s occupants would be comfortable. They installed a seven-kilowatt Andorra multi-fuel stove and several radiators. The radiators are fed from a diesel heater akin to those you’d find in a campervan. However, they opted for a water one that works with the plumbing to heat the radiators and hot water.
While access to the bathroom through the central walkway is unusual, it works for the boat’s unique layout. Their floor plan meant they could install a bathroom that was the entire width of Ophelia for maximum use. It feels like an extension of the main cabin and an ensuite bathroom from the bedroom at the same time.
Whether you’re entering from the living area or the bedroom, you’ll be greeted by a large shower cabin. The beautiful pastel-colored tiles were Mollie’s idea, and they work in harmony with the natural wood ply. The circle window is the only reminder that you’re on a boat when in this area.
Adjacent to the hallway is the toilet and vanity. This area, too, features natural birch ply for the flooring and cabinetry. Because being on a boat sometimes means you’re unsure where the nearest pump-out station is, Mollie and Jason opted for a composting toilet called So Simploo.
The only separation between the bedroom and the bathroom is a simple, nature-inspired curtain. Its color blends in so seamlessly with the boat’s décor that you wouldn’t even know it leads to another room.
Super King Bed and Plenty of Storage
The bedroom is a standout feature of the entire boat. Mollie and Jason chose a unique tiering system that put the bed in the middle of the room. It offered the perception of space, enabled them to have a super king bed, and provided loads of extra storage! The white and birch ply color scheme also makes the bedroom look serene and relaxing.
The multiple tiers in the bedroom serve more than one purpose. Storage is undoubtedly the primary purpose, with drawers on each side. However, you can also use the tiers as steps into the ship’s bow. The tiers also function as seating. The occupants can relax with a cup of coffee in the morning and enjoy their beautiful surroundings.
Drawers on either side of the super king bed aren’t the only forms of storage boat owners will have at their disposal. Jason and Mollie also installed large ‘his and hers’ wardrobes from the floor to the ceiling. Inside these wardrobes are full-length hanging mirrors, more drawers, and shoe space.
And here’s some exciting news: Marwood Makes is hosting a competition. If you’re in the UK, grab a ticket and you could win a bespoke Marwood Makes boat, either wide-beam or narrow, stretching up to 60 x 12 feet and powered by a Canaline engine. Fancy a shot? Dive into the competition details right here.