Did someone say "existing nonconforming"? The prints for these Encinitas, Calif., boat houses would never have satisfied a modern plans examiner, but no one worried about that sort of thing in 1928, when the structures were built. The builder, in fact — an eccentric former seaman named Miles Kellogg — apparently didn't work from plans at all. Kellogg knocked the structures together by eye, using salvaged lumber from a local hotel and a dance hall for the framing and interior finish. The outer "hull" is an inch-thick layer of stucco on redwood lath. According to legend, Kellogg deliberately built both structures slightly out of plumb to give the inhabitants the feeling that they were really on the water.

These boat-shaped houses have been landmarks in Encinitas, Calif., for three quarters of a century. The names on the bows commemorate the long-vanished Moonlight Dance Hall and Encinitas Hotel, which furnished the salvaged lumber used in their construction.

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