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Family Farm Nature Retreat

Whidbey Farm is on the edge of a thickly forested hill on Whidbey Island, home to a mix of artists, craftsmen, farmers and sea captains. Whidbey Farm was designed as a retreat for a cross-generational family studio in Seattle its scenic location to immerse the house in the countryside in a discreet way. A palette of local, durable materials and natural finishes, combined with the modernist ethos of less is more, subtly gives the home a rustic aesthetic that nonetheless feels contemporary.

At the owner’s request, great care has been taken to preserve the large fir trees on site so that the bulk of the house will slide between them as it wraps around a modest clearing on the edge of the forest. The clearing, loosely defined by a low local stone wall, has been subtly transformed into a natural courtyard filled with native shrubs and ferns and crisscrossed by paths. The house is built around the inner courtyard and consists of two rectilinear volumes of modest size that separate the living areas from the private spaces and a third volume that functions as a guest house. The western volumes made of red cedar and glass blend harmoniously into the natural terrain and bring the beauty of the landscape inside.

With a palette of naturally weathered woods, concrete, locally quarried stone walls, deep oak window mullions, soft plaster walls, and black steel accents, the home strives to be warm and rustic but simple, clean, and open. A similar range of thatched woods, warm concrete floors, and rich plaster textures are used in the private areas of the home. Despite the minimalist decor, the house was designed with the family in mind.

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