Lone Madrone, a house exposed to extreme weather

Situated on a rocky, windswept coastline, facing south. This retirement home is nestled in the landscape, to blend in with its surroundings and minimize exposure to the weather.

The house is a vacation retreat for a family of four, who wanted a low-impact home with strong connections to land and sea.

The design solution uses a simple “wedge” geometry, which mimics the slope of the hillside, and is embedded in a natural depression in the shoreline to lessen its visual impact. The living spaces are fully opened to the north (garden) and south (water) sides through a custom lift-sliding door system.

The bedrooms are primarily focused on the more private wooded hillside to the west, and the kitchen opens onto an adjacent rocky headland to the east. Due to the extreme weather exposure of the site, the main openings are combined with rolling wall panels to protect them from punishing winter storms as well as to provide security when not occupied.

The finishing palette consists of local materials including Douglas Fir (flooring, trim), Western Red Cedar (siding, siding, and ceiling) and Pacific strawberry tree (furniture).

The site is within the San Juan Islands National Monument, with extremely sensitive coasts and marine environment. A clear understanding of coastal ecology had a great impact on the design of the house.

To prevent habitat loss for near-shore insects, a critical food source for endangered Chinook salmon, a garden roof planted with native drought-tolerant vegetation has been used. This set replaces more than 90% of the plant footprint lost by construction.

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