A Kitchen Opens Wide to the Outdoors
Walls fold away at one corner to let this room mingle with a hillside meadow.
Synopsis: After exploring potential building sites along a mountain ridge on San Juan Island, architect Geoffrey Prentiss decided to divide the house he was designing into separate parts, including a kitchen pavilion. The layout is clean and simple, and the kitchen’s walls fold open to bring the outside in. An adjacent outdoor room provides a means for comfortable living, even during cool evenings and rainy days, thanks to a concrete fireplace and a broad roof overhang.
We hunted for years on San Juan Island in Washington’s Puget Sound for the right piece of property where my cousin Shaun and her husband, Harold, could build. They wanted a place for a vacation home that combined potentially contrary qualities; something that felt intimate and expansive at the same time. We finally found a south-facing mountain ridge in the center of the island that offered sensational views in multiple directions and sun all day long (a requisite for happy, healthy northwest living). The grassy ridge, largely cleared of upstart fir trees, is slowly returning to an indigenous Garry-oak forest noted for remarkable displays of wildflowers.
As we explored this magical hillside, evaluating potential building sites, we discovered several that were perfect, each with different attributes. This led to our eventual decision to break the house into separate parts: a guesthouse near the parking area, a pavilion for cooking and socializing about 100 yards to the west, and Shaun and Harold’s studio/suite another 100 yards down a gravel path. Each building is shaped to best appreciate its site, and moving from one to the next is a walk in the park, literally.
Focus on outdoor living
Shaun and Harold love to spend time outside, so an outdoor room was always an integral part of the plan. With a parking area to the…