Design & DIY

This guy turned an old boat…into a shed?

What do you do with a boat that doesn’t float? Consider taking inspiration from Brian Robitaille, who converted a derelict aluminum watercraft into striking lakeside storage.

Long-time regulars at Monck Lake, Ont., Brian and his wife, Dana, acquired a cottage of their own there in 2018, which came with the patched-up old vessel. “I didn’t want to throw it out,” Brian says.

Cottage Q&A: Where can I dispose of an old boat?

So, he began repurposing it last summer, with no blueprint but a clear vision: a boat standing proudly upright and converted to a storage shed. “It’s just odd to see a boat sticking out of the ground,” Brian says. “And that’s kind of my personality.”

The project wasn’t especially challenging, Brian says, but the curvature of the boat meant he had to work slowly and precisely while fitting both the door frames and the interior storage. All of the Robitailles’ boating gear fits inside the nooks of the two cedar shelving units. And in the middle, there’s a spot for waterskis and oars.

These cottages maximize space with built-in storage

While Brian is a precise builder, the shed is anything but delicate. A rebar and concrete base keeps the boat firmly upright. It’s already come through one winter undamaged, Brian says with pride.

In total, the conversion took about four weekends of work. Brian repurposed nearly all the materials—aside from the cedar doors—from previous projects.

While the Robitailles repainted the cottage itself, they preserved its previous red-and-yellow colour scheme when they painted the shed. “The owners we purchased from were one of the original families on the lake,” Dana says. “It was special to us that we kept something of theirs to be a permanent fixture.”

This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of Cottage Life.

Featured Video