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Idyllic coastal getaway with sustainable features nestled on Orcas Island

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Heliotrope Architects have designed the North Beach Residence, a coastal getaway on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, off the Washington coast. This 2,400-square-foot family retreat is set on a northwesterly oriented beach, facing the Strait of Georgia to provide incredible views. The property includes second-growth Douglas firs, a beech grove and a grassy meadow with good solar exposure. 

The design brief called for a low-impact, easy-to-maintain summer home that satisfied the rudiments of living while offering few distractions from the surrounding landscape. This single-story structure, set amidst mature fir trees, is located directly between the beach and an upland meadow with walls of glass open to both.

Project Team: Architecture and Interior Design: Heliotrope Architects | Contractor: David Shore

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Steel columns minimize the visible structure from the interior, and metal-clad walls provide a bold form when seen from the exterior. Flood-plain and archeological conditions necessitated a design approach that elevated the living areas while letting the building rest lightly on the land.

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The roof is vegetated, filtering rainwater that is then collected and stored for irrigation. Potable hot water and hydronic heating are aided by solar collectors on the roof while photovoltaic panels above the vegetable garden provide supplemental electricity. The home is intended for occupancy from May through October with systems designed to zero out electricity use over the course of a full year.

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What We Love: This incredible coastal getaway boasts idyllic ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Spread out over a single level, the floor plan is open and spacious and designed with low-maintenance materials. Comfortable yet stylish furnishings are perfectly grouped for family gatherings. We are especially loving all of the sustainable features employed in this home. Indoor-outdoor living is done to perfection, the project team did a fabulous job of creating the ultimate family respite.

Tell Us: What do you think of the design of this summer retreat? Would this home be your ideal family getaway? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other inspiring home tours we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, Heliotrope Architects: Idyllic modern shelter for family getaways on wind-swept Orcas Island and Fascinating waterfront retreat on picturesque Orcas Island.

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Photos: Sean Airhart

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