An extraordinary Cascade Mountains retreat with eco-conscious features


Base Camp is a mountain retreat designed for family living by Johnston Architects, nestled high above Lake Cle Elum in the Cascade Mountains near Roslyn, Washington. The home was designed as a retreat and eventually a primary home for an active family of seven. The remote lake offers the perfect getaway, enjoying warm summer days and snowfalls in the winter.

The home caters to entertaining family, friends, and colleagues, sleeping over 2o people, yet most importantly it is the recreational base to enjoy the surrounding rugged mountains. The design of the home caters to the client’s outdoor lifestyle, which includes snowmobiling, dirt biking, kayaking, and baseball.


To house all this equipment, the architects created a spacious gear room constructed with industrial/fire station grade open shelving. Each of the family members has their favorite spaces, the wife enjoys the library while the kids chill out in the theater/game room. A Geochron illuminated world map is situated close to the front entryway, which helps the kids to learn geography.

The theme throughout this Cascade Mountains retreat is an emphasis on outdoor living, whether it be the astounding views of the lake and surrounding mountains through sliding walls, or stepping outside and enjoying the swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna. The architecture is open and expansive, with large glass walls spilling natural light into the home and engaging it with nature throughout the year.


Sustainable features include “solar thermal, photovoltaics, radiant heat, heat recovery ventilation, super insulation, and passive solar design to minimize energy costs.” Most significantly, the design of the home maximizes a diversity of interior and exterior spaces for the enjoyment of work, live and play.

Note: We have featured other beautiful homes here on One Kindesign in the mountains of Washington state, have a look at a couple of popular ones: Modern lake house blurring indoor/outdoor boundaries and Breathtaking home set on a bluff overlooking Lake Washington.


The library features a cozy sofa, Eames chair, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with reading materials, and endless lake views.


The common areas are very fluid, with the kitchen able to accommodate up to ten diners. There is a dining room just below the kitchen that can also double as a conference room.



Although rustic, this home has all the technologies of a smart home. The homeowners can control the systems of their dwelling through three apps on their smartphones. These features include lighting, heating, fans, and even the entertainment system. When they are not at the home, they can keep tabs on their property through security camera monitoring.


The interior palette consists of durable natural materials with an exposed structure, soaring ceilings, and large expanses of windows. The home not only had to function as a family cabin but as an offsite workspace for the homeowners, who co-run political consulting firm Mercury Group.


A massive bunkroom sleeps up to 17 people and includes an outdoor sleeping porch.


There are motion sensors in the majority of the rooms, with programmed light levels that operate according to the time of day. For example, a glowing light will come on in the master bathroom at nighttime.






Ninety percent of the property’s hot water is attained from this 1,000 square foot solar array, which will heat the water that is stored in insulated underground tanks.



PHOTOGRAPHER Benjamin Benschneider




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2 years ago

This is really beautiful. I think the solar powered water heater really is a great choice along with the IoT usability in controlling the indoor environment.