LIKE THE GLIDING DUCK of countless motivational memes, Real Quiet, the newest floating work of art built by the virtuoso father-son team of Haggard Houseboats, moors serenely these days in its new slip on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, all gorgeously crafted and thoughtfully designed, idyllically riding out time until her fortunate new owners come aboard.

You do know what’s going on underneath the surface of that deceptively gliding duck, right? Well, Bill (father) and Riley (son) Haggard are just now resting their own weary sea legs after paddling feverishly (sometimes literally) for months following our Spring Home Design story on their work, and the evolution of Real Quiet.

“It has been a wild ride since May 9th,” Riley reports.

Everything was smooth sailing at first, in October 2020, when the Haggards started work atop a custom-built steel barge hull trucked in from Indiana. By January 2021, the talented team was wrapping up the clear cedar siding, the port side’s crown and trim work, and all the windows. By spring, the pandemic had delayed some material shipments, but this is nautical miles from the Haggards’ first rodeo (Real Quiet is their 16th Seattle houseboat and the ninth built from the hull up), and completion still felt enticingly imminent.

But then, Riley says, “In mid-June, Dad and I both got COVID. Even with both of us being vaccinated.” Father and son had to quarantine until early July, and Real Quiet had to idle. “Nearly lost a month of work,” he says. “We then worked pretty much every day from July until October to finish.”

Riley ticked off 17 projects they powered through in that time — and some have subprojects under other subprojects. Among them:

  • varnishing the western red cedar interior walls;
  • building and installing the custom Douglas fir finger-jointed dinette benches and booth (with a tabletop crafted from ceiling beam scraps);
  • hooking up electrical and plumbing systems;
  • pounding out and installing the custom stainless-steel countertops;
  • repainting the hull, the cabin exterior and the interior French doors.

And more. So much more. For one thing, once you finish the “house” part, you have to launch the “boat” part.


“We moved the houseboat via Associated Boat Transport down Shilshole Avenue to the CSR Marine boatyard,” Riley says. “Then CSR travel-lifted us into the canal. Fremont Tugboat Company then moved us to Nickerson Marina. That was a massive day for us. Pretty nerve-wracking as well.” 

And even all that “won’t totally capture what we went through,” Riley says. But admiring Real Quiet now — softly afloat atop unruffled water, her soothing teal hull matching the custom entry door — you’d never know it. These days, like a lucky duck who’s finally caught a tailwind, she’s her own motivational testament to resilience — and the power of paddling.