Whether a yacht design project involves conceptualizing the layout of a new superyacht or bringing an older vessel up to today’s standards with a yacht refit, each yacht has a story to tell. As a designer, refitting a forgotten gem can be the most rewarding experience, particularly when the boat carries a strong pedigree or classic detailing that can be lovingly enhanced.
Such was the case aboard the 61’ Tribute Sportfish, a true “gentleman’s yacht”. This was not a yacht that remained in the marina, only to be visited occasionally by its owner, rather a vessel that was enjoyed thoroughly for its intended purpose – which was to be out on the water, soaking up the sun, and filled with guests enjoying themselves while fishing and socializing.
These years of fun in the sun were apparent. The rich cherry wood that graced the interior had become faded, yellowed and uneven. Veneers that once enhanced the luxurious look were chipped, cracked and lifting in parts. The seams between the flitches of veneer on the walls had opened and the wooden planks in the flooring were shifting and separating.
In addition to the apparent wear and tear, the interior showed its age in decor. The yacht had been fitted with halogen lighting – the preferred lighting at the time of build – and accented with emerald green carpeting, deep green stone, and dark, heavily textured wallpaper and headliner.
The brief was simple yet complex: maintain the stately charm of the vessel, whose owner planned to continue entertaining high profile friends and business associates on fishing excursions, while updating the interior to the latest standards.
We set about restoring the lost luster of the beautiful cherry wood throughout and gave new life to every inch of the walls, flooring, and cabinetry. We replaced the dark, heavily textured wallpaper with a lighter wall covering offering a slight shimmer that subtly brightens smaller spaces onboard, such as the lower deck cabins. The stone tops throughout were polished to their original luster and the outdated appliances were replaced and the Galley cabinetry modified to account for the new appliance dimensions.
Yacht refits are not only about updating the decor, however, and in almost every refit I encounter the opportunity to improve upon the original design. Aboard the Tribute, the cushions of the built-in settees in the salon were upholstered into ¾” plywood, which made them very heavy and bulky. This made accessing the fishing gear – which was stowed within the settees and accessed often on this active yacht – an arduous task for the Captain. So, we rebuilt these using a much lighter board, repaired the wood bases and replaced all of the cushions with high-end waterproof leather for lasting beauty and durability.
Lighting has such an impact on a space and upgrading the lighting throughout to LED for efficiency and improved color temperature made a great difference. I highly recommend testing the color temperature (you can do this by comparing old and new lights in a dark space) before installing new lighting.
We rebuilt and reupholstered all of the interior and exterior settees and replaced the headliners. Fresh carpeting and new soft goods punctuated the appealing new look. Here we were able to maintain and accent the yacht’s original interior colors, as earth tones are once again en vogue. We kept the foundation neutral throughout and added sophisticated accents of green and caramel and rich focal elements on the main deck for a smart, clean-lined aesthetic. Despite being a smaller space, the dark green doesn’t overwhelm the room, but rather makes the otherwise simple area more dynamic and interesting. In the yacht’s guest areas, layers of grays and soft blue tones create a relaxing retreat and complement the earth tones on the main deck to round out a serenely cohesive space.
Soon this green-hulled beauty will be sailing off into the sunset, while her guests enjoy cocktails, fishing, and networking in style.
To read more about yacht refits, check out our blog posts “Yacht Interior Designers Guide: To Refit Or Not To Refit Part 1” and “Part 2”.
Finished Interior Photos by Michelle LaCombe Photography