“The client was very inspired by my cabin at Longbranch and similar houses in forest settings. While this home is surrounded by water rather than trees and overlooks a high-traffic waterway, it shares much with the cabin, such as the low-key use of natural materials, the attention to detail, and the intimate sense of scale and proportion.” –Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal
Located in a floating home community on Portage Bay, just south of the University of Washington, Water Cabin establishes a cabin sensibility in an urban environment. Low to the water and small in stature, the home’s interior program is thoughtfully arranged across two levels to maximize connections to the surrounding marine environment. On the lower level, an open living space combines dining, kitchen and office functions, with a hidden murphy bed for guests. A glass corner and large sliding doors connect this space to exterior patios, where large roof overhangs support year-round usability. The upper-level master suite frames views to the water and creates a cozy lookout, set back into the home’s footprint, for a sense of refuge.
Water Cabin’s materiality draws inspiration from the weathered informality of a cabin. Lightly stained knotty western red cedar exterior siding will weather over time with minimal maintenance. Durable, low-maintenance metal elements like galvanized steel and flame-sprayed zinc nod to the demanding marine environment and will complement the color of the siding as it silvers. Inside, Russian birch plywood ceilings extend to exterior soffits, breaking down barriers between indoor and outdoor spaces. Knotty wood wall finishes in the main stairwell and master suite likewise weave exterior materials into the home’s interior. This informal, low-contrast interior supports a sense of the home as an oasis, despite its location in a bustling community.
Project Team: Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal; Jason Roseler, LEED® AP, Project Manager; Betty Huang, Architectural Staff; Christine Burkland, Eunice Kim and Hunter Van Bramer, Interior Design Staff
Key Consultants: Dyna Contracting, General Contractor; Voelker Engineering, Structural Engineer; Brian Hood Lighting Design, Lighting Design
Photographer: Aaron Leitz