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ShowBoats International - March 2008 - First Class Upgrade

Written by Bill Ando

Also, there is now a sight line from the seating area down the hallway to the bridge-a feature that works nicely in both directions-and the forward part of the skylounge is open. This not only adds visual space, but the balustrade, no longer hidden in the stairwell, adds its curvaceous elements to the ambiance of the skylounge.

"Anytime we have the [chance] to add some light and improve the view, we take it," Halffman says.

One change made both opportunities available: A window was installed into what was formerly a solid bulkhead to starboard of the glass slider on the aft skylounge bulkhead. The bar was moved from its position in the alcove and relocated to a more socially encouraging position before the window, making it easier for guests to enjoy a view with their drink.

Having used onyx in the past, Westport relies on white and caramel onyx to a greater degree in the floors and countertops in all of the dayheads and baths in the restyled version. Halffman says the doorway into the owner's stateroom was widened from 24 inches to 33 inches. This enabled the wall along the entry hallway to be moved more toward the centerline, providing a wider walkway.

The main salon ambiance was rethought and pleasantly toned down from the formal, two-pillared Romanesque "room divider" that placed a passageway on each side. One option had a divider extending out from either side with a column at the end, giving the room a belted-waist look. Although both provided storage on either side, they were aesthetically imposing. Replacing both treatments is a table-height credenza, sans column, that extends from the port side to the centerline and provides storage and an unobtrusive, but stylish division between the dining room and social area.

The cabinet hardware, too, was upgraded. Moving away from the push-pull button latch hardware of old, Westport turned to architectural hardware by SA Baxter. The selection of tiered silver handles and knobs nicely contrasts with the flowing surface of the crotch panels. The look is contemporary, and the clicking to lock and unlock is a thing of the past.

Pre-redesign, doors surrounded the country kitchen; one exited to the dining area, another to the foyer and the portside entry doorway. Aboard 1523, the kitchen doorway and wall at the starboard entry were removed, making the starboard side of the galley an open space.

"It gives the space a more homey feeling," Halffman says.

Although there weren't many major changes, the ones Westport made enhanced the appeal and ambiance of the vessel to the point where it's safe to say it's a different boat on the inside. The figured crotch mahogany is utilized brilliantly with a pleasant contrast of finishes-high gloss on the moldings and satin on the flat surfaces. The observer's table in the wheelhouse speaks volumes about the joinery's craftsmanship. The crotch mahogany veneer, applied in a wagon-wheel pattern, was selected to be breathtaking, and it is.

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