Green design brings this cabin to town


They say the key to good real estate is location, location, location. But in the case of this home, dubbed City Cabin, the architectural and environmental design supersedes its location on basic urban land.

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Located in an established Seattle residential neighborhood, City Cabin is a reflection of the owner’s dedication to nature. This can be seen through the selection of natural materials, an urban forest and green design.

Related: This Seattle Backyard Cottage Is Just 800 Square Feet

A wooden house

“The client wanted to feel like she was living in nature when, in fact, her home is on a normal-sized urban neighborhood lot,” said design director Jim Olson.

The 2,400 square foot home sits on the corner of the lot to accentuate large gardens on the south and east sides. Plantings of dense greenery and mature trees fill the space for an instant immersion in nature. The orientation of the house lends itself to abundant sun exposure and garden views through generous windows in all main living areas.

A kitchen area with a dining table

The design provides natural light and heating that work together towards the goal of zero energy consumption. To further support this objective, the house is equipped with solar panels and an air-water heat pump.

A lounge area with a TV hanging on the wall and a sofa in front

City Cabin’s layout puts the main salon in the center, with wings on each side that house the master suite and guest space separately. A 16-foot ceiling in the open kitchen and living space is flooded with natural light, even in Seattle’s often cloudy skies. The view opens to the landscaped courtyard for indoor-outdoor experience and privacy.

A lounge area with island and stools

Interior designer Christine Burkland was inspired by the client’s extensive collection of Native American art, setting the tone for a palette that includes concrete floors stained with a red hue. Throughout the space, the client’s love for nature is reflected in the natural unstained plywood chosen for its durability and simplicity.

A bedroom with wooden shelves and floor-to-ceiling windows

The facade is made of reclaimed fir siding from a nearby fruit storage warehouse. Recycled for the project, the wood will age naturally with minimal maintenance. A sedum green galvanized steel roof further complements the natural design elements.

“The client is a passionate conservationist dedicated to preserving existing forests,” Olson said. “Here she creates a whole new forest in the heart of the city.”

+ Olson Kundig

Photography by Aaron Leitz


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