San Juan County, Washington
Orcas Island Cabin
This 1800 s.f. weekend cabin for a family of four is located on the south
slope of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands,
about 90 minutes north of Seattle. The cabin is set on the edge of the wood at a
natural clearing and outlook to the south across East Sound, Lopez Island and the
Olympic Mountain range.
The cabin was conceived as a series of compact, efficient spaces that flow together
and open to the outdoors. The building is stepped into the hillside and the main
floor tiered to take advantage of the slope and bring the hillside into the house.
A series of boxes which contain sleeping and bath areas are stacked back up against
the cool, shaded forest to the north, while the shared family spaces are set below a
large sheltering sloped roof and open out to the expansive site and views to the south.
Deep overhangs protect south facing glass and clear polycarbonate roofing lets light
in while blocking the UV rays and keeping the rain out. The continuous exposed Douglas
fir structure blurs the threshold between inside and out, and a large folding glass
wall allows the living space to completely open out to the covered deck. Whitewashed
plywood is used for built-in casework, bunks, beds and as the interior wall finish.