Cabin at Longbranch

Location Longbranch, Washington
Design Principal Jim Olson

Jim Olson’s reverence for nature and admiration of the site’s beauty is expressed in the design of this project located on Puget Sound and nestled amidst the towering fir trees of an ancient forest. What began as a 14-foot-square bunk house built in 1959 has morphed through subsequent remodels in 1981, 1997, 2003 and 2014 into a modest yet highly livable weekend retreat. Each successive addition and remodel has reused and integrated the previous structure rather than erasing it to reveal the cabin's architectural history.

Oblique view to the water and museum in a bowl

At the age of eighteen, Olson began work on a bunkhouse for his family in Longbranch. Since then, he has continued to expand the small structure into both a private retreat and a touch point for his work worldwide.

The cabin is intentionally subdued in color and texture, allowing the lush natural surroundings to take precedence. Simple, readily available materials are used throughout: wood-framed walls are sheathed in plywood both inside and out; doubled pairs of steel columns support glulam beams that, in turn, support an exposed roof structure; and interior fir flooring becomes outdoor decking with additional spacing.

The rooms themselves are essentially a set of boxes set underneath a unifying roof; together, they create a single form that is grounded onto the hillside and projects out over the landscape. The living room’s large 11’ x 13’ window not only frames the view of the adjoining meadow and Puget Sound but visually blends the indoors and outdoors.

Strategically placed sliding doors, windows and a domed skylight over the bed provide constant contact with nature. The design accommodates three mature trees that have been allowed to grow through openings in the deck, one of which exits through an opening in the roof.

In a dark forest, a light-colored flower stands out so bees and hummingbirds can find it. The same kind of contrast can be used to draw attention to the architecture. It can create a sense of drama.

Jim Olson Design Principal

Information

Team

Design Principal

Jim Olson

Project Manager

Ellen Cecil William Franklin

Interior Designer

Charlie Hellstern

Staff

Derek Santo

Publications

2015

Casimiro, Steve. “A Cabin 56 Years in the Making.” Adventure Journal, 30 Nov. 2015. Web.

Hagberg, Eva. “Natural History: Rooted in Childhood Memories, Jim Olson’s Holiday Home.” Wallpaper*, Jan. 2015, 91-95. Print.

“IDEAS SPACE–Puget Sound.” The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes. Berlin: Gestalten, 2015, 152-157. Book.

“In Residence: Jim Olson.” Nowness, 19 Nov. 2015. Web.

Morgan. “Refuge in the forest by Olson Kundig Architects.” Journal du Design, 27 Oct. 2015. Web.

“See: from treehouse to dream home.” De Standaard, 30 Nov. 2015. Web.

2014

Cohen, Edie. “Hall of Fame: High in the sky or deep in the country, what kinds of spaces fo Hall of Fame members live in?” Interior Design, 1 Dec. 2014, 91. Print.

Jodidio, Philip. “Olson Kundig Architects.” Small Architecture Now! Cologne: Taschen, May 2014, 258-261. Book.

2009

“Tiny but Giant Houses.” Casa Living, Sept. 2009, 134. Print.

2008

de Castro, Mario. “A Place in the Woods.” Monocle Vol. 1 No. 10, Feb. 2008, 116-119. Print.

“En Armonia con la Naturaleza.” Arquitectura y diseño No. 90, Summer 2008, 97-106. Print.

2007

Tremblay, Céline. “A Quiet Statement on Puget Sound.” Living With Style/Plaisirs de Vivre, Sept. 2007, 128-141. Print.

Tremblay, Céline. “Un Murmure a Puget Sound.” Living With Style/Plaisirs de Vivre, Sept. 2007. Print.

2004

Hawthorne, Christopher. “Building on memories.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5 June 2004, D1, D5. Print.

Hawthorne, Christopher. “HOUSE PROUD; Measuring the Season in Generation…” The New York Times, 27 May 2004, D1, D6. Print. Web. 

1990

Canty, Don. “Vacation Retreats Exemplify Architecture in Northwest.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4 June 1990, 1-2. Print.

1988

Flanagan, Barbara. “Bough House: The Home as Hammock.” Metropolitan Home, June 1988, 78-84. Print.

Loading Next Up...
Next up... Montecito Residence
Clear all filters

Type

Status

Date

Region

Designer

Materials

Rooms

Features

Art

Show Filters
Projects Media

Filter archive by
projects or media

Drag
Back
Edit Done

Your clippings

Mail link Copied Could not copy Clear Clippings Save
Save your clippings to share or retrieve them later
View Fullscreen
View, edit and share your clippings here
Could not load page. The content may have been removed, or there may be a problem with your connection. Close
Loading

You are using an out-dated browser

Please update your browser. We recommend Google Chrome