A Cabin on the Coast
This small home on San Juan Island is tied closely to its landscape through smart and creative design solutions.
Our client Sandra is a thoughtful woman who carefully considers what she surrounds herself with. Her ethos has always been to live a minimalist life: to have one nicely considered possession rather than lots of options; one handsome jacket rather than a closet full of them; one lovely vase; one small, well-designed house rather than an excessively large one with extra rooms she may never use. She believes in quality in all things over quantity in anything. A great deal of patience is necessary to achieve this lifestyle. So when it came time to build her own home, she could either have built a home quickly with lesser-quality materials and construction, or have been patient and built the finest home she could as she garnered the resources. She chose the latter. To do so, she lived for years on this five-acre site on the west coast of Washington’s San Juan Island in a 16-ft. camping trailer, which rocked in the wind as her new home slowly came together.
Suited to the site
Sandra cherishes the western part of the island for its calmness and tranquility. Far removed from the crush of summer tourists that frequent other parts of the island, this new home is blasted by winter storms and charred by the summer sun, but it feels much like the San Juan Island of old, prior to the substantial development in the past decades. This ruggedness conjures a vital connection between the home and its natural setting.
Despite the area’s remoteness, development has been encroaching slowly. Numerous summer houses sit on the most prominent pieces of land with almost no cover of vegetation. In order to achieve a wonderful sense of being alone in the wild, we tucked the new house into a small ravine. From here, Sandra could…