Best Remodel 2018: Sound Design

This project began with a birthday present. Kathy, who attends my wife’s yoga classes, learned that I’m an architect, and asked if she could gift some of my time to her husband,David to help him design a small woodshop. Kathy, I soon discovered, is an avid weaver. She didn’t know it at the time, but I had grown up in a woodshop making weaving looms with my parents. We were well matched.

A few hours consultation evolved into a full design for the woodshop. We worked well together and our collective attention turned next to their house. Kathy and David were nearing retirement and were considering transitioning from their home in Seattle to their property here on Whidbey Island. The existing cabin was a mere 800 sq. ft., and downsizing from their four-story Craftsman-style home was too much of a leap for the couple. However, they realized they could make it work with some thoughtful modifications.

The site steers design

The cabin was old—the first of it’s kind built at Bush Point. As such, it was well sited, high on the hill with sweeping views of the Salish Sea. Age added grace—over the years, the landscape had grown and the house had been enfolded in a mature grove of trees.

The building itself was small and oddly laid out. It lacked an entry; you arrived via French doors directly into the kitchen. The bathroom and bedrooms were tight and, in our rainy climate, the large, uncovered front deck was seldom used. The mechanical system was an afterthought, tacked on to the side of the building some time in the last century. It needed some help.

Early in the design process, we agreed that stewarding the landscape was a high priority, so we decided to…

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