Hood Canal Cabin | Castanes Architects PS and Ray C. Freeman III
This off-grid cabin is sited in a deep ravine leading to the shore of Hood Canal, a waterway not far from Seattle, Washington. The ravine closes in on the cabin from both sides before opening up to the water. The cabin likewise opens up to the water view with a 16′ tall corner window, the angled sides of which mirror the gap in the trees.
The compact cabin is raised off the ground for a better view, supported by four concrete columns. Elevating the cabin also added a touch of extra security. To deter unprepared intruders, the lone set of stairs up to the deck can be raised like a drawbridge, with an electric winch doing the lifting.
Castanes Architects PS and architect Ray C. Freeman III collaborated on the design, creating a square floor plan rotated so that the living room corner with the tall windows faces the water view. This simple strategy makes the cabin seem larger than its 800 ft2 (74.3 m2). People’s eyes are naturally drawn to the windows, so they end up looking towards a corner that is further away than the closest wall. The 16′ high ceiling also contributes significantly to the sense of spaciousness. Vertical elements such as the window mullions and the built-in shelf unit lead the eye upward.
In the opposite back corner, a galvanized steel stair rises in a square spiral around one of the concrete columns. It has its own tall windows to provide views of the trees as you climb. The kitchen and bathroom occupy the other two corners. Both are topped by loft spaces that overlook the double height living room. To save space in the small floor plan, there is no dedicated dining area. Instead, a section of counter with fold-out leaves can be lowered to dining height, an inventive solution that makes use of a concealed automotive jack.
The decor makes use of wood accented by metal. The birch plywood wall paneling is held in place by stainless steel fasteners set in a regular grid as a counterpoint to the meandering wood grain. The kitchen cabinets are topped by copper countertops, and overhead, wood beams are supported by a galvanized steel beam.
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