As yachts get bigger, designers find they have more space for creating. The result is a lot more than just interior decorating.
By Eileen Mansfield — May 2002
Once there was a time when you'd cruise past a 75-foot yacht and find yourself in awe. These days however, some of us might hardly give a 100-footer a second glance. Boats are getting bigger...and bigger...and bigger. And what are people doing with all this extra space? Well, designers, for one, are "lovin' it," according to Robin Rose of Robin Rose and Associates. And they have plenty of ideas about what to do with this space, both inside and out.
Lots of room means lots of outdoor decks. According to Patrick Knowles of Patrick Knowles Design, "People aren't spending as much time in the main saloon and dining areas anymore. The main focus these days is on the exterior decks." In fact, Knowles foresees the size of saloons shrinking even further in order to make room for more outdoor space.
Of course, the shift has its priorities. Although some of the added exterior space is being used to store watertoys, the majority is going for entertaining space. "If I had a yacht, I would prefer to spend my time outdoors," says Don Starkey of Donald Starkey Designs. He tries to persuade clients to detach the dining room from the saloon; that way it's possible to take meals in more interesting surroundings--even have them open up onto the deck for an indoor/outdoor ambiance. Clients also want their indoor lounges to open up onto exterior decks for entertaining purposes, he says.
Indeed, entertaining has become a paramount factor in designing interiors. J.C. Espinosa of Espinosa Inc. says that boat owners are especially dedicated to hosting guests these days. That's why he's designing bigger galleys that include special-use dining areas such as breakfast nooks. Bars are also becoming more popular, as are theaters. Glade Johnson of Glade Johnson Design is even in discussions about building a theater that seats 12 people on a 100-footer. Of course, every saloon has to have a theater with a flat-screen TV--in fact, according to these designers, almost every room onboard has to have one. For aesthetic purposes, Johnson recently started hiding the big screens behind artwork and says he's seen this idea catching on with other designers.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.