The design of Iris N o3 reflects the working tug narrowboats used on the canals in the UK around the turn of the 20th century but she was actually built in 1989. The long, low foredeck and small portholes with recessed panels are the details that distinguish it from a more traditional narrowboat. Simon Sparrow calls Iris N o3 home at Willowtree Marina in west London. She is 53ft (16m) long and he has lived onboard since 2006. Because of their width restrictions, making a home in a narrowboat can be a challenge. Simon’s approach has been to make the interior open-plan with white painted walls, and thanks to a large skylight in the roof and lots of portholes, Iris N o3 feels light and spacious. Simon has renovated and remodelled several areas of the interior, including using some wood he shipped over from his native New Zealand (Rimu), which he used to build a worktop and the fold-out table in the saloon. Simon has done a lot of travelling in Iris N o3 , with his girlfriend, and this is one of the aspects that he loves about boat ownership. Some of the trips have been long ones but others have been a quick trip to the local pub. The decision to buy a boat to liveaboard wasn’t an easy one but it is one Simon doesn’t regret. ‘I thought if I didn’t try it now, when would I? It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m very happy I took the risk and did it. Some of my friends don’t understand, but most think it’s great and enjoy dipping their toes into the boating world when they visit. ‘I enjoy being close to water and seeing all the wildlife that lives in the marina, even in a city like London. I find being on the boat quite relaxing and peaceful and it makes a welcome refuge from my corporate life, which involves a lot of travel and meetings. Being able to go away on trips and take your home with you is still a fantastic novelty.’
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