A Cedar-Sided Olympic Peninsula Home Blends with Wooded Landscape

Details

Neutral Wood-and-Concrete Mountain Exterior Landscape

The home's exterior nestles into a hill, with areas partially below grade, and the front of the house angles toward the water below to enhance the feeling of being part of the earth. Patrick and Betsy Leuner, of Leuner Landscape Design, furthered that feeling with a naturalistic approach to the landscape of native plant materials, helping to make it seem as though the home had always been there.

Neutral Mountain Front Walkway

The house is built into a terraced site that slopes to the water below.

Neutral Wood-and-Concrete Mountain Exterior Landscape

The home's exterior nestles into a hill, with areas partially below grade, and the front of the house angles toward the water below to enhance the feeling of being part of the earth. Patrick and Betsy Leuner, of Leuner Landscape Design, furthered that feeling with a naturalistic approach to the landscape of native plant materials, helping to make it seem as though the home had always been there.

Neutral Mountain Flat Roof Garden

A flat roof teeming with native grasses, plants and wildflowers helps fulfill the clients’ request to have the house blend seamlessly into the landscape, erasing the boundary between built and natural environments. As time passes, vines will grow over the concrete walls, furthering the connection.

Wooden Mountain Pivot Entry Door

The architect-designed entry door from NorthStar WoodWorks wears a custom stain by Daly's.

Neutral Mountain Living Room with Stone Fireplace

Designer Garret Cord Werner’s custom sofa faces an Indonesian daybed in the living room, with a coffee table by Andrew Ward Furniture Maker. A mantel from The G.R. Plume Company tops a custom fireplace surrounded by stone from Select Stone in Montana.

Neutral Mountain Cedar Sided Hallway

Wood flooring from Salisbury Woodworking runs along the hallway, along with board-formed concrete walls and rough-sawn cedar shiplap siding from LS Cedar Company. The artwork is by artist Julia Blitch.

Neutral Mountain Kitchen with Oak Cabinetry

Werner designed wire-brushed oak cabinetry with a custom cerused finish for the kitchen. Barstools, also a design of Werner’s, nestle under the island topped with limestone from Quarry S/E beneath Visual Comfort & Co. lights. A Sub-Zero refrigerator with custom paneled doors cleverly blends into the cabinetry.

Neutral Mountain Dining Room Display Shelves

The owners’ collection of museum-quality antique duck decoys resides in shelves designed to display them. They flank the dining room’s custom fireplace and stone hearth. The vintage armchair injects whimsy with a seat reupholstered in cowhide.

Gray Mountain Boathouse Waterfront

Layers of driftwood mark the boundary between the water and the boathouse. An existing structure on the property, it received a gut renovation, rendering it a functional, albeit chic, spot for overflow guests, catering parties on the beach, and as a windbreak or storage in the off-season. A gooseneck sconce by LSI Abolite Lighting crowns the entrance.

Gray Mountain Boathouse Exterior

VMZinc’s Quartz-Zinc clads the sliding doors fronting the boathouse; they run on a galvanized steel track from Richards-Wilcox.

Neutral Cedar Mountain Boathouse Sleeping Loft

Kolbe Ultra Series windows let light shine into the upstairs sleeping loft. A Hi-Lite Manufacturing Co. sconce adds an industrial element.

Cream Mountain Master Bedroom Window Seat

A red area rug and striped pillows on the window seat, which was designed by Werner, weave color into the master bedroom. The wood rocker, from Erickson Woodworking in Nevada City, California, was a gift from the husband’s father. Draperies fashioned with a Maxwell Fabrics textile frame an outdoor view.

Mountain Master Bath with Gray Tiled Wall

Custom wire-brushed oak encases the master bath’s tub, a Toto soaker from Seattle Interiors, and the double vanity, featuring the integral pulls found elsewhere in the house. A limestone surface from Quarry S/E tops each. For a dash of muted sophistication, subway tiles from Ann Sacks in a custom smoky gray-green line one wall.

For a house set on a dazzling spot on the Olympic Peninsula, it would only make sense to take advantage of the site’s many blessings. Unfortunately, the reality of the owners’ previous log home was quite different. “It was not an easy indoor-outdoor experience,” says the wife. “There were many times when we couldn’t enjoy the sunset, so we finally decided it was time to do something about it.”

Doing something meant finding an architect who could mingle the traditional and modern elements the couple craved into a newly built warm, comfortable home that would allow them to take better advantage of the locale. Their search led them to architect Stephen Hoedemaker, who, along with Tom Bosworth, is known for creating just that mix. The architect quickly zeroed in on the key ideas the husband and wife each brought to the table. “He liked really strong houses with heavy timber and big stone fireplaces—powerful and protecting architecture,” says Hoedemaker, who received support from Bosworth and project manager Kelly Jimenez. “She wanted to bring the outside in and have the kitchen, living room and dining room connect to each other.” Both preferred natural materials and eschewed more hard-edged modernism.

With builder Tad Fairbank implementing the plan and designer Garret Cord Werner complementing it throughout the interiors, the architect’s solution incorporates all of the couple’s requirements, starting with the way the house sits on the land. It nestles into a hill, with areas partially below grade, and the front of the house angles toward the water below to enhance the feeling of being part of the earth. Patrick and Betsy Leuner, of Leuner Landscape Design, furthered that feeling with a naturalistic approach to the landscape of native plant materials, helping to make it seem as though the home had always been there.

To seal the connection between house and environment, the architect conceived of a flat, planted roof—the firm’s first, so the team consulted with living roof experts Hadj Design on its creation. “It helps it settle into the hillside, so you don’t really see the house if you’re out on the water,” says the wife. What is seen, though, is a simple boathouse, redesigned to be a multifunctional place for entertaining and storage.

Materially, the board-formed concrete inside and out (Fairbank and his team implemented nearly 400 cubic yards of the material) represents a response to the needs of the property and program. “Working from wooded hills down to the water, it’s a tool for creating leveled terraces and structures within the site,” Hoedemaker says. “It creates spaces for gathering and movement and weaves together the indoors and outdoors.”

Inside, the couple’s love of Asian furniture “suggested a structural system. Rather than the typical post-and-beam design, we have complex four-post structures with beams that intersect,” explains Hoedemaker. The beams, in Douglas fir, fulfill the husband’s vision of a home replete with strong wood elements, as does the cedar shiplap siding on the walls.

The house’s programmatic and material simplicity belies the underlying complexity of the project. “We had to use generators for most of the construction and had to cut in roads,” says Fairbank, who helmed the build with project manager Sharen Borgias and superintendent David Nixon. Winter storms and snow also meant coming up with creative solutions to keep work moving. “We built a tent over the entire roof,” he adds. “It kept the house weathertight until the roof was completed.”

For the interiors, “we wanted the colors from the outside inside, and we wanted as much simplicity as possible,” says the wife. “We didn’t want anything precious. You can have your dirty, wet boots in this house.”

Werner’s M.O. jibed perfectly with his clients’ desires. “My overall method is to create something timeless and enduring—nothing trendy. I like to strip out the superfluous details,” he says. He worked closely with Hoedemaker, specifying finishes, colors, lighting, and millwork for understated family living, establishing a palette that referenced the world outside. Beloved pieces acquired by the couple—an heirloom collection of duck decoys, an eye-catching sculptural hanging in the main hall—mingle with simple, elegant furnishings and soft, easy linens and cottons.

“There was a lot of life going on while it was being built,” says the wife. During the process, the husband was deployed overseas, and the couple celebrated the birth of their first child. In the end, “We love it,” she says. “It’s doing everything we wanted it to do. It’s a wonderful place for gathering with family and friends.”

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