Before and after

One year on from moving aboard Narrowboat Swallow, I thought it would be fun to do some before and after shots to illustrate the changes I’ve made to my tiny floating home.


I’m really proud of the new entrance hatch, built by my friend Noah Rose. Here’s a little more about that.



When I bought the boat, there was no easy way in. Those oak doors were balanced over the engine compartment, but to the side were open holes down into the hull! Here are the steps dad built so we could get in and out.

Living room


What else has changed? Pretty much everything. Swallow started out as a shell – over the past year she’s gained (in order of installation) a stove for heating, 12v electrics for lighting, a gas boiler, a gas hob and grill, a new entrance hatch, running water, 12v electrical sockets and a whole new paint job. Looking back on the early pictures it’s hard to see how I ever thought I could live in this space, but one year on, everything works and she’s looking pretty darn cosy.


  1. Peter Knowles says:

    It’s a truly outstanding transformation. You should feel exceptionally proud of all your hard work


    • Beth Maiden says:

      Thank you so much Peter – it means a lot when people compliment the work as it has been a lot of oil, sweat and tears (mostly tears to be honest ;) but yes, I do feel proud and very happy with little Swallow.

  2. Sonia says:

    Hi Beth I’ve followed all the work and progress of this lovely boat, looking at the photos today she looks beautiful and your hard work has definatley paid off.

    I wish that this was a year on as I’m still saving for my boat, and I would have been proud to have swallow, but sadly my budget doesn’t stretch that much yet.

    Anyway I wish you well in your new home and hope that swallow finds a new owner who will love her as much as you do.


  3. Brenda says:

    This is so inspiring to see. I hope that one day I have the guts to follow in these footsteps and take the plunge! Did you do a lot yourself and with friends or outsource the work to “professionals”? Have you done major DIY like this before?

    • Beth Maiden says:

      Thanks Brenda! It was a mixture. Emma did my plumbing, but I got pros to do the electrics and gas. A friend resealed and reglazed the windows. Another friend who is a steelworker made the hatch. The woodwork I did myself, the kitchen my dad built (I helped a bit!)…the exterior paint job was all my own work. I’m sure there were 10000 other jobs too but I can’t remember them now!

      I’ve never done a project like this before but I’ll try anything once – it usually works out well :) I was more phased than I expected to be by the DIY but fortunately I have an amazing and supportive partner who kept me going at many low moments.

      Really hope you take the plunge and get your own boat – I’m sure you won’t regret it!

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