East Sound, WA

Orcas Island Residence

Located on a high bluff above overlooking Eastsound on Orcas Island, this residence for an extended family looked to take advantage of the amazing site and optimize the marine climate of the San Juan Islands. After several meetings with the family Patano Studio developed a concept for a ‘house without a backyard’. This emerged from the incredible view to the water and the western skies – situating the house on the ground plane immediately created a ‘back’ – we felt that all of the experiences should be connected to the water and light. By elevating the main living space on steel columns and positioning the guest rooms and children’s room in a base perpendicular to water the landscape was opened up and flowed through from the uphill side of the lot down to the bluff edge and to the water. The elevated main living space consists of the entry/art foyer, master bedroom and bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen with large family island and deck to the south. The entire space can be opened up with large folding windows and closed down in the winter season with sliding perforated steel screens that nest in pockets at the edges of the building. Eleven foot high ceilings are framed with steel beams and wood purlins that pivot at two points in the house – 10 degrees each – to wrap the house toward the view and focus each room toward the far shore of Eastsound. Downstairs contains guest bedrooms, a children’s bunkroom and a media room. A pool was positioned under the house to take advantage of the cover in the marine climate while the orientation to the west captures the long summer light and utilizes the optimal solar gain on site. For the cooler days a wood stove is located on the terrace next to the pool allowing the family to sit outside under shelter and enjoy the warmth of the fire.