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A Washington Dream House with Phenomenal Water Views

A Washington Dream House with Phenomenal Water Views

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN WOOLSEY/OTTO

When a determined couple falls in love with an abandoned quarry that has phenomenal views of the marine waters where the strait of Juan De Fuca and the Strait Of Georgia converge, it’s up to a talented team of visionaries to make their dream house at home in the stony Washington setting. “We had been searching for a saltwater property with a westerly view for several years,” says the wife. “When we found these 12 acres, we knew immediately it was the perfect location for our second home.”

Envisioning a haven that interacted dramatically with the slip of land nestled into the San Juan Islands, they canvassed the region’s talent for their cause and enlisted designer Christian Grevstad, principal of his eponymous firm in Seattle, to plan the décor and interior architectural detailing. Grevstad identified two main factors of importance as he worked with the husband and wife to craft their perceptions into concreteness. “They intended to spend time in the home with family and friends, so large open spaces were important to them,” he explains. “They also wanted a strong indoor/outdoor relationship between the home and the landscape.” The quarry, with its dramatically sliced and exposed boulders, was a major jumping- off point for the design work. “The site determined the materials we used, the finishes we chose for the interiors and even how the home was situated toward the views,” says Grevstad. “There are incredible stone ‘walls’ on the east side of the home and awe-inspiring water and island views to the west.” 

Because the residence is situated above the water, there is a three- dimensional quality to the views of the surrounding islands, not unlike the terrain of the setting with its outcroppings of stone. “At every turn, we borrowed from nature and from the sea,” Grevstad remarks. Landscape architect Bruce D. Hinckley, owner of Seattle’s Alchemie, shared this sentiment, creating strong natural connections between the home and the property in his designs. “The large stones in the garden were pulled from the quarry,” he says. “We added a water element adja- cent to the open-air dining room, which overflows into a dry stream bed and falls over the cliff during times of heavy rain. This fits so well because, in this area of the country, there are perched aquifers on the faces of the cliffs.” 

Larry Pederson, president of Bellingham’s Pearson Construction, who helmed the build along with site superintendent Andy McElroy, applauds the striking backdrop that was created. “When you stand on the lawn to the approach of the house, you see right through it,” Pederson explains. “There’s such a ‘wow’ factor when you take in the views through the axis of the house all the way to the water!” Capturing natural light was another objective in the design of the home. “Because the house is so open, it utterly absorbs the reflective light,” remarks Grevstad. “This means its personality changes as the mood and character of the light change throughout the day and into the evening hours.” 

The couple’s enjoyment of the retreat knows no bounds. “Relaxing on a driftwood log on the beach with a glass of wine watching the dogs play, the herons glide by, the seals, the otters, the eagles, the family of deer and the boats sailing by is heavenly!” the wife remarks. “We also love to sit by the fire in our library with a good book and a cup of tea, relax in the hammock just above the water and walk with the dogs on our trails through the forest. Even a simple evening with friends around the fire on the patio is special in this setting.”  

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