Friday, February 26, 2016

Aft Cabin Redesign

Anyone who's lived on (or spent extended periods of time in) a boat, RV, or small apartment knows that storage space is extremely important. The original Andromeda/Christina layout for the aft cabin had ample storage, but modifications that were started by a previous owner dramatically changed Phoenix's aft cabin, with some changes for the better and some that needed improvement.

In the typical Andromeda/Christina master stateroom, the bed is to port, there are three hanging lockers (1 to starboard, 1aft and 1 to port), and a large set of drawers to starboard. The head is also on the port side, just forward of the aft cabin. Bruce Bingham designed three alternate ways to enter the head -- from the main cabin only (depicted below), from the aft cabin only, or dual entry from both the main and aft cabins. In Phoenix, access to the head is through the aft cabin only.
Original Andromeda interior layout. Notice the three hanging lockers and bed along the port side. In this version, the head access is through the main cabin. Aboard Phoenix, you access the head through the aft cabin.
One of Phoenix's previous owners built a pedestal bed in the master stateroom, so our bed is on center line, with a TON of under-the-bed storage. We really prefer the pedestal bed -- we both have better ventilation and no one is sleeping up against the hull or climbing over the other person to get in/out of bed. The only drawback is that we lost the aft hanging locker and the large set of drawers with the change.

Our port-side hanging locker was also converted to a large vanity. This moved the sink out of the head and into the aft cabin, which made room for us to design a spacious shower enclosure (in progress) instead of showering in the middle of head as originally designed. So we essentially gained a better bed and head layout that we love, but lost some cabinet space in exchange.

The initial aft cabin modifications gave the aft cabin a very open, airy feel; there were small lower cubbies, open shelves, and short upper cabinets along the hull on both port and starboard sides. We initially made teak and caning doors for the short upper cabinets when we made the first 26 cabinet doors and weren't planning to do any major changes to the design. The only plan was to add trim and a few finishing touches.

Aft cabin "before" with pedestal bed, but prior to our redesign

The small upper cabinets and shelving before our redesign

Lower, open cubbies and shelves before our redesign

However, as we spent more time aboard, our feelings towards the aft cabin layout began to change. We had plenty of open storage to accommodate our clothes and other "stuff" but the aft cabin looked messy with everything out in plain view. No matter how organized we were, the aft cabin looked cluttered. We decided we needed more (and larger) cabinets to properly stow our belongings and keep things neatly placed behind closed doors.

The first step was deconstructing our current cabinet facing and removing the teak fiddle rails. Once that was done our friend Kurt helped Bill rough in new cabinets along both sides of the hull.

Old cabinet facing and trim removed along the port side-- ready to start building new cabinets!

Port side cabinets roughed in.
Once the cabinets were built, I painted the insides, and we then faced the cabinets with teak ply.

Port side cabinets with teak facing
Starboard side cabinets faced, finished and ready for trim
Next, Bill custom milled and installed teak trim around the cabinets.

Teak trim installed around our new aft cabin cabinets

Next came teak trim for the ceiling panels, around the aft hatch, and mizzen mast, followed by teak and caning doors to match the others that we installed previously. We were able to salvage one of the smaller caning doors on each side that we previously made for the short upper cabinets.

New port side cabinets with doors installed

Starboard side cabinets and ceiling trim

I love all of the new, organized space we've created!
I can't wait for the warm weather to return so we can start utilizing our new space! Our new cabinets and aft cabin redesign provide a ton of room for us to properly stow clothes, eliminates the cluttered look we once had and gets us one HUGE step closer to becoming full time live aboards!


  1. Looking very good. Can't wait to see it when the floor is finished

    1. No spoiler alerts Dad! :-) But that will be very soon.... at least the install...

    2. Hahaha..."Spoiler Alert" ... um, what floor?

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Gary! Everything is really start to come together :-)