Located on the west coast of San Juan Island where a natural shelf along the shoreline indicates a sea level in the distant past, this new residence stretches along a meadow overlooking waters frequented by Orca whales, harbor seals and bald eagles. The site slopes upward behind the house through a forest of Douglas fir and Madrona trees.
The clients, a retired couple from the east coast, wished to build a new home with an intimate relationship to the natural beauty of the place. Entering the site from above, the driveway turns to reveal a first glimpse of the house through the trees – a low horizontal roof with subtle reflections of the tree canopy and sky above. Continuing down to a clearing at the south end of the house, the first uninterrupted views of the Haro Strait, the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island are revealed. The roof is lifted up at one corner to mark the entrance. The interior of the house is defined by a continuous wall of bookshelves interrupted by a concrete fireplace nook and a few windows framing views of the forest to the east and a wall of glass facing the water views to the west. A raft of laminated wood beams and decking support the roof and unify the spaces.
The living spaces, including a large master suite are placed on the main level with guest bedrooms, a hobby room and exercise and storage spaces on the floor below.