This is how it is at Candice and Barry Peterson's place, 2,200 square feet of floating contemporary on four floors, if you count the underwater basement(!) and 400-square-foot rooftop deck.

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“We went to see a houseboat on Guemes Island, and I felt so giant. I said, ‘Tim don’t make me feel this way. And then I took Tim to the closet at my condo and I said, ‘Look at this. Build me a closet to hold all of this.’ ” This is client Candice Peterson, who comes with a shoe and a bag for every occasion.

“Candice is my favorite client. She’s wonderful, trusting and understanding, and she’s got a sense of humor. And the success of a project is a client: We cannot do anything a client is not willing to do.” This is architect Tim Carlander, who calls them as he sees them.

And with this, we’re off to see what they have wrought.

“Now, imagine waking up to this,” Candice says. We’re prone on the master bed, our feet a few feet from Lake Union. The view is to buy for.

This is how it is at Candice and Barry Peterson’s place, 2,200 square feet of floating contemporary on four floors, if you count the underwater basement(!) and 400-square-foot rooftop deck.

And you should.

“It’s extremely peaceful here,” says Barry.

“But there’s a lot of activity, too,” says Candice.

“Both,” he says.

Barry owns Barry Peterson Jewelers in Sun Valley, Idaho, and the Seattle floating home is their retreat. You know, to get away from Sun Valley. But Barry can watch the shop via computer in the kitchen workstation.

“I have always wanted to have a houseboat,” he says. “I had a friend years ago who lived on a houseboat in Sausalito. It broke loose in a storm and sank to the bottom of the bay.” Barry was undaunted then and smiling now.

He and Candice were dating when the project began three years ago and got married almost two years ago. They are a social couple who need room to entertain and storage for the gear.

Carlander, of Vandeventer + Carlander Architects, placed the main living space on the upper floor; a kitchen, living, dining area and deck. One spiral flight up is a rooftop deck. A limestone counter 4 inches fat wraps across the bar, through the kitchen and around the living-room fireplace. The stately line that sets the tone for the neutral backdrop. Kitchen drawers are hidden behind zebrawood cabinets.

Candice had worked with interior designer Jean Anderson on her Lake Washington condo, creating custom pieces for a blend of antique and contemporary, and she wanted to keep those. But she also hunted down new pieces with her new husband: “Barry was so into it with me.” Now 18th-century Italian chairs sit near Philippe Starck Charles Ghost Counter Stools.

“I wanted Tim to design the house around my furniture,” Candice says. “But I wanted the colors to go with these pillows.” She nods at the cushions cradling Honey Bear, a Brussels Griffon pup. The pillows are iridescent burgundy-brown and green-turquoise in Jim Thompson silk.

The water-level floor is reserved for the master suite with a walk-in closet. There’s also a vanity, bathroom and large shower.

One flight down we are underwater and walking on terrazzo. Here is a bathroom, laundry room, closet, wine cellar, mechanical room and space for a home theater and bunk beds for the “kids” (hers are 23 and 31, his are 21 and 19) or guests. Two portholes are windows to the underwater world.

Because the Petersons divide their time between Sun Valley and Seattle, they wanted a home that required little maintenance. Aluminum panels and SlateScape Xtreme, a fiber-cement siding, sheath the exterior. Even the front-door planter is filled with fend-for-themselves succulents.

Candice and Barry adore their Seattle place. Won’t even go out the first night they’re in town. That’s saying something for the Petersons, who love to go, and go fast.

“When I met Barry, my friends and I were on the way to Peter Fonda’s ranch. Peter was leading a ride for the 30th anniversary of ‘Easy Rider.’ Barry’s a member of the Hamsters (motorcycle group).

“I went up to Barry and said, ‘Would you like a martini?’ “

The party continues.

Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.