Seattle Water Cabin

June 23, 2022 2 min read

Water Cabin is located in a floating home community on Portage Bay, just south of the University of Washington. The spectacular home successfully establishes an intimate cabin sensibility within a bustling urban environment; it is at once an oasis retreat and a dynamic platform from which the owners can enjoy and engage with the surrounding waterway. Low to the water, the horizontal lines of the building echo the flat plane of the lake and the restrained colour palette, with rich use of natural materials, helps the home fit effortlessly into its setting.

Product: Shore White Oak, Character Grade, 7" wide, Iconic Collection
Architecture & Design: Olson Kundig
Build: Dyna Contracting
Photography: Aaron Leitz

Wood features heavily throughout the home's interior, with warm oak flooring and casework balanced by cooler silver and black metals. Birch plywood ceilings extend to the exterior soffits, establishing continuity between the interior and exterior spaces. Knotty wood wall finishes in the master suite and main stairwell (which also acts as a lightwell) weave exterior materials into the home's interior.

Durable, low-maintenance metal elements, including galvanized steel and the use of flame-sprayed zinc coatings, respond to the demanding marine environment. These metals mirror the shifting blues and greys of the surrounding bay and will complement the cedar siding as it silvers with age.

The home's interior program is thoughtfully arranged across two levels to maximize connections to the surrounding marine environment. On the lower level, an open living space combines dining, kitchen, and office functions with a hidden murphy bed for guests. A glass corner and large sliding doors connect this space to the exterior patios with rich Ipe wood decking where large, protective roof overhangs enable year-round enjoyment.

The master suite on the upper level frames prospect views of the water and creates a cozy lookout, recessed into the home's footprint for a sense of refuge. A roof deck and richly planted container garden continue the indoor-outdoor porosity established on the ground level, extending the bedroom outside.