Settled into the sloping landscape of a farm on Whidbey Island, Washington, this new retreat by Seattle-based mwworks is built of huckleberry basalt stone and western red cedar, and designed for a multi-generational family.
Located on a rural site on Whidbey Island, a local family sought a new home and retreat on the site of their family farm. Out of respect for turn-of-the-century agricultural buildings located on the site, the home ticks into the edge of a densely forested hillside, overlooking chicken sheds, a weathered red barn, cattle fields, and a fishing pond. The house appears intentionally modest and humble from the valley, deferential to the pastoral farmlands below. The house was designed as both retreat and part-time residence for a growing family with strong local roots going back several generations on the island.
While designed to be comfortable for two, the house accommodates up to 20 people, with a four-bedroom main house and a compete bunkhouse for the many grandchildren and guests. The program of the home is broken down into discrete, modestly sized volumes, carefully woven between an array of large Douglas Fir trees, wrapped around a courtyard of natural and native shrubs and ferns. A low wall of stacked local Basalt stone organizes the volumes and subtly defines the perimeter of the courtyard. The courtyard becomes the visual and physical link between the different volumes, providing access and connection, but offering separation and retreat when desired.