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Idyllic modern shelter for family getaways on wind-swept Orcas Island

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This modern jewel-box home is designed by Heliotrope Architects in collaboration with Ore Studios, located on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, Washington. Nestled carefully a rocky, wind-swept shoreline; this 1,600 square foot family retreat harmonizes with the surrounding landscape while minimizing weather exposure. The main living spaces connect to the landscape through retractable screens and window walls. Retractable wall panels help to protect this home from harsh climate factors such as winter storms.

Set within the sensitive shorelines and marine environment of the San Juan Islands National Monument, the project team worked to minimize impact to the natural systems. This was achieved by the addition of a green roof, replacing the landscape lost during the construction. Storm-water flows were engineered to replicate the pre-construction condition. The public spaces embrace local materials — primarily Douglas fir and western red cedar cladding, while private rooms are tucked away and employ soft, misty finishes.

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The interior designers worked to outfit the rooms with a rugged and refined approach, ensuring the interiors would hold up to the elements as well as a constant stream of family and friends. Upholstery is deep and comfortable, special dining chairs invite long, lingering meals, and unique textiles and artwork throughout provide a sense of place without overpowering the dramatic views.

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What We Love: This incredible family retreat nestled on Orcas Island provides a welcoming respite for family gatherings. A wonderful indoor-outdoor connection is established throughout this home, in perfect harmony with nature. Thanks to expansive windows, this home has breathtaking views, a strong connection to it’s surroundings and cross-ventilation. The green roof adds a sustainable feature to this home that makes it all the more unique!

Tell Us: Would this be your idea of the ultimate family getaway house? Please share your thoughts in the Comments!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, Heliotrope Architects: Fascinating waterfront retreat on picturesque Orcas Island and Grant Creek Residence nestled into a wooded hillside.

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Photos: Sean Airhart

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