How Kristine Irving and Marcel Albanese Revamped a ’60s Houseboat

The Boston designers behind Koo de Kir Architectural Interiors and Studio FKIA embrace easy coastal living.

Photo by Joyelle West

As designers, Kristine Irving and Marcel Albanese often create gathering places for their clients. So when Albanese (a cofounder of Studio FKIA) purchased this 1969 Nauta-Line houseboat from a retired sea captain, the couple seized the opportunity to design an entertainment space of their own. Plus, the vessel was in dire need of a makeover: With Formica countertops, shag-carpet ceilings, and a foul stench, the interior screamed “Brady Bunch meets Home Depot,” says Irving, founder of Koo de Kir Architectural Interiors.

The pair soon got to work, gutting and rebuilding the 350-square-foot boat with wide-plank floors and painted mahogany cabinetry. Dubbed the p/v Num Num, the remodeled craft includes a custom dining table and a banquette, which doubles as storage for a queen-size mattress. The Num Num also boasts an oak-topped bar and a kitchen equipped with a cooler and grills for charring the fresh fish served up during frequent dinner parties. “All of our [clients’ homes] have Sub-Zero refrigerators, but I’m [content] with a cooler,” Irving says, with a laugh. “[The boat] is not as high-end as our professional work, but it’s where we’re happy.”