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Mark Ungrin

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  1. Thanks very much everyone. We're going through the various links. Just to clarify, she's not necessarily looking to get into designing narrow boats specifically, but she's interested in the fact that people in this area have faced a lot of challenges in efficiently fitting various functions plus storage plus people into a small space, and some of these solutions may be generalizable to other "small-is-beautiful" architecture (whether on land or on the water). This is also primarily about blue-sky / planning ahead ("what might this career look like?"), it will be a few more years until she has to actually choose a program at university. She is generally avoiding "large-scale" architecture - on her own initiative, but also reflecting my concerns that there can't be as many opportunities to lead projects in those areas. If you want to exercise your creativity in designing small houses, live-aboards, caravans etc there is some opportunity to go out and find a customer. If your dream design is for a stadium, or a mega-yacht, or a skyscraper, your chances of ever getting to build it seem fairly slim just because the budgets to do that are not that common, and will be going to big established design houses. Some of the concepts may be portable, but at that scale I can imagine many of the challenges get beaten into submission with a chequebook... I probably should not have specified narrow boats in particular - we're here for year from Canada, and they are the design that I associate with the waterways over here, but that's a good point, designers of river-craft in general we could talk to would be of interest!
  2. My teenager is thinking about various career options. Architecture is at the top of the list (and has stayed there for several years, so fairly serious), and she has an interest in the possibilities and constraints as relating to design of live-aboard boats. She's quite organized, and has just done an informational interview with a land-based architect about his career; she has now indicated she would like to meet and discuss with a narrow-boat designer if we can find one. Can anyone recommend a good person to talk to about this? Ideally, we'd want someone innovative (i.e. not just producing minor variations on the same plan), and associated with a yard so she could potentially see a boat in progress to get a feel for how the designs are translated into reality. We're in Oxford so something around here would simplify things for the chauffeur (me), but since she's taking such an interest I'm willing to travel further afield if needed. Thanks! Mark
  3. That was fast – lots of good advice already! We’re definitely thinking about the cabin fever angle, if we wind up not doing it, that will be the likely culprit… How much of the UK can you access in a wider boat? We’ve looked at some designs, but it would defeat the purpose a bit if we wound up dramatically limiting where we could go with it. Also, could you expand a bit on the flooding? I suspect I would not qualify as experienced (lots on small boats, canoes, sailing dinghies etc but nothing this big). How does storage work for uninhabited narrowboats over the winter – would it be expensive if we bought now? Also, the trim level looks pretty fancy in those pictures. If I were to let’s say modify the two single berths to function as sitting / homework area during the day, I’m not sure my fine woodworking skills would be up to the level of the rest of the interior. How much is resale impacted by trim / woodworking vs layout and functionality? thanks Mark
  4. Hi everyone. I am a Canadian academic who will be spending a year in Oxford on sabbatical starting in July 2018. My wife will be home schooling our 3 children (they will be ages 8, 11 and 14) for the year, to follow our home curriculum and also to make travelling easier. We hope to make a lot of use of museums, historic sites etc in their education. While I will be geographically limited to Oxford a lot of the time for work, we're contemplating some combination of a narrowboat and a small motorhome, so we could all live in the boat, but if the rest of them wanted to wander off for a bit while I am working, they could take off in the boat, and I could stay in the motorhome and catch up with them on the weekend. I recognize there will be all sorts of pitfalls here (and probably lots we haven't thought of, one of the reasons I'm posting here!), but it is the sort of opportunity that doesn't come around very often and we'd like to do something that will give the kids a really different experience to remember. I would like any advice people here have on the practicalities of doing something like this. I know long-term moorings in Oxford are likely a lost cause, but I was there earlier this summer and the whole area seems very bicycle friendly, and I bike commute year-round here ~6 km each way rain or snow so hopefully we could find some options not too far out (either long term or just periodic short-term stays in between sending the family off to explore the UK). What sort of boat should we be looking at? Where should we get it? I'm comfortable making some modifications (e.g. adding a bunk etc) but probably won't have time to do any really serious remodelling. What sort of things would we need to think about that might not occur to the novice narrowboater? When would be the best time to buy & sell, given that we will be in the country July 2018 through June 2019 (I am assuming this would make more sense than renting for that long but maybe I'm wrong?) and would have to store it if we took ownership before / after that time? Thanks very much Mark
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