Contemporary forest retreat filled with light

In the foothills above Snoqualmie is a beautiful house built for two mountain guides not far from their work in North Bend, Washington. The 2,100 square foot residence has been designed by Johnston Architects and built by Tall Tree Construction, accommodating both professional and practical demands, but also fulfilling a deep desire to do what is right.

From the architects, “This house was built on site with many materials found, milled and crafted on the site. Blow-down trees from storms provided the logs that were milled into siding, fascias and trim. Large firs and cedars were felled, cured and processed to provide beams and some framing materials. A ground source heat pump supplemented by solar water preheating supplies energy to the house. To this, recycled materials, FSC certified materials, grey water recycling and other strategies are the basis of the soon to be achieved LEED Silver status of this house.

The historic fabric of this complex lies in the history of use of the land and indoor/outdoor occupation of forested space. The mud room, nearby wood storage, use of varied floor materials to shake off the debris of the outside, simple roof forms are all part of this solution. Rather than dig the house into its hillside, we bridged across for an upper floor entry, minimizing grading and other disruption to the existing environment. Two thousand native plantings were made to restore the forest floor upon completion. Even on a grey and rainy day this forest retreat is filled with light.”

What do you think, would this retreat be cozy enough for you to live in?

Photographs: Will Austin Photography

  • Name Withheld

    There’s nothing wrong with modernism if it makes your jaw drop and your eyes pop out. This one was a snoozer. It belonged in an urban environment. It had zero connection to its setting. I say we dig it up, put it on a trailer, and haul it to downtown Seattle. It’s an eyesore in the woods.