I had spent nine months working with a contracting firm called Envirotecture, which specializes in houseboats, but I'd never done any designing. So I spent months doing research, teaching myself to use a CAD program, and consulting my old boss, contractor Eric Hogeboom. All that work paid off when an engineering firm and the building department signed off on my design. The addition's extra weight meant I'd need more flotation. Our houseboat was built on a raft of old-growth cedar logs, but after a century underwater, they weren't very bouyant. About 85 steel drums and some Styrofoam had been added over time, but it was all poorly placed, and the barrels were rusting apart. So, armed with scuba gear, I removed this extra flotation from half of the house. I did several dives to add and move around 80 new 55-gallon plastic barrels, recycled from a local soda-bottling plant.