Remote locations like this beautiful site in Winthrop, Washington are always spectacular. They’re ideal locations for holiday homes, summer getaways or winter cabins. In some cases, they can even be great for a permanent residence, one which can be enjoyed all year round.
The Studhorse residence was designed specifically with that idea in mind. It was an Olson Kundig project. The Seattle-based design practice was founded on the idea that buildings represent the bridge between nature, culture and people and that the surroundings have a positive effect on people’s lives. This is what this residence was meant to illustrate.
The studio is versatile when it comes to projects, being known for gorgeous small cabins, dramatic homes, museums and cultural buildings, civic and urban projects, all with wonderfully thought out interior designs.
The Studhorse residence occupies an area of 4,078 square feet and is divided into four buildings serving as unattached structures. They are all organized around a central courtyard and the pool. Each section has its own function and manages to capture the views and to interact with the surroundings in a unique manner.
The client’s main desire was for the house to offer a wonderful experience and to engage the surrounding environment, permitting the inhabitants to use it comfortable throughout all four seasons. This is one of the reasons why a divided structure was chosen.
The house sits on a 20 acre site with a 60 mile long glacial valley to the North. This establishes a perfect scenario for a home that dialogues with its surroundings and makes the most of the views. The boundaries between indoor and outdoor areas were intentionally blurred in order to allow the inhabitants to better interact with the site and the nature.
All four buildings were strategically oriented so they open to the central courtyard while being exposed to the views at the same time. The overall layout and structure of the residence was optimized to suit family life, without neglecting entertainment.
All main public areas were grouped together. The family room, the kitchen and the bar and dining spaces are housed in a separate pavilion which has full height glass walls, sliding doors and which is almost completely exposed to the panoramic views.
The open floor plan makes this whole volume feel very airy and spacious while the huge windows let in abundant natural light. A stone fireplace interrupts one of the facades. Its role is to create a warm and comfortable ambiance during the colder seasons.
The kitchen is simple, featuring open shelves made of wood and an island with a concrete countertop which can also function as a bar. The island also serves as a visual separator between the kitchen and the dining space.
The colors used for the interior design are muted and neutral in general, being inspired by nature. However, the décor doesn’t lack dynamism. Accent chairs are a source of color and pattern, being used in combination with log side tables, casual area rugs and simple-looking furniture.
The private areas are more secluded but they still get to fully enjoy the advantages of the site. The master bedroom, the kids’ bedrooms and the den are organized in an adjacent building.
The guest rooms are not placed in a separate building but instead are part of the master plan composition. They are, however, isolated from the other rooms and serve as independent spaces. The sauna, on the other hand, is separated from all other buildings.
The palette of materials for the project was chosen according to specific criteria. They had to be tough as well as low-maintenance. Steel and glass are the main ones used throughout the buildings. The materials had to be able to withstand the tough environmental conditions in an area where summer are hot and winters are snowy.
Wood was also used in the project. A lot of it was salvaged from an old barn in the valley and was used on the facades. Both wood and steel are materials that weather beautifully, becoming more muted in appearance as time passes. This allows the building to blend in and to better interact with its surroundings.