The site is high bluff waterfront on Camano Island with wonderful southwestern views across Saratoga Passage to Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains. Long and narrow, the site is accessed from the county road at the top of the property; the driveway winds down through a dense forest of evergreens until the woods open up and the cabin and Puget Sound come into view below. A final hairpin turn brings the drive to the building site and garden, located on a low-sloped bench some hundred yards from the bluff. Visible on both sides, neighboring houses are just uphill, negating any initial privacy for the cabin site. With the owners' requirement to utilize an existing foundation and their desire to retain an existing garden, the design goals further evolved to include a providing the new cabin with privacy, natural light, and openness between indoors and outdoors. The owners also wanted the cabin to be an easily constructed structure. The solution is a simple wood-framed box topped with a sloping shed roof accommodating a sleeping loft. Connected and extending from the cabin is an exterior landscape wall. The cabin is an open volume with a small bathroom tucked into a non-view corner under the loft. Also under the loft yet open to the main area is a small kitchen that features views through a small window to the water. The main living area has two large sets of glazed doors that open south to the private garden and west to the Sound. A small corner window provides views to the entry driveway. The upper walls below the sloped roof are completely glazed, allowing for abundant naturallight yet maintaining privacy in the living area below from the adjacent neighbors. The simplicity of the structure's form is echoed in the choice of materials and the details used in the building's construction, necessary in that the owners constructed the cabin themselves. The wood framed structure is finished on the exterior with fiber cement panels. A metal clad wall, that begins to the left of the entry door and extends beyond the structure out into the landscape, creates a backdrop to the existing garden and provides privacy from uphill neighbors. Upon arriving at the cabin, this landscape wall also initiates the entry sequence, leading the visitor through the gravel parking area, past a row of birch trees, past the corner window providing views of the cabin interior and the private garden, to the front entry.
The owners finished the cabin interior with a stained concrete slab on the main level and cherry strip flooring in the loft. Walls and ceilings are sheathed with maple and cherry plywood; the panels are installed with caulked reveals to mimic the fiber cement panel details used on the exterior. The cabin is heated with a Rais wood stove that is augmented by electric coils in the concrete slab.