Location: Winthrop, Washington
Project size: 1,900 square feet (interiors); 1,000 square feet (porches)
Program: In search of a calmer life, a client and her dog settled in the rural Methow Valley in Washington State. Having grown up with a love of hiking and the outdoors, she commissioned Studio Modh to design a primary residence that would feel connected to nature, warm during snow-heavy winters, and would be safe from increasingly prevalent wildfires.
Design Solution: The house, named by the client’s parents for its expansive views in all directions, is organized into three volumes surrounding a central living room. Each volume contains different functions—one a guestroom and den, another the primary suite, and the last a mudroom and the kitchen. Simple, repetitive trusses support a low-slung shed roof that evokes the slopes of the surrounding foothills.
The design of the living area helps establish a connection with the landscape outside. An oversized clerestory caps the room, framing the ever-changing sky and balancing indoor light levels. On a cloudy day, the space can feel somber and quiet—on a bright, sunny day, it can feel luminous and dynamic, with shadows coursing across the wood-clad walls.
Photo © Lara Swimmer
Structure and Materials: The material palette creates a play of color with the changing seasons. Exterior walls and overhangs pair dark, charred cedar with warm, oiled cedar. In fall, these hues blend into the landscape, while in winter, they offer a rare spot of color. Interior spaces are clad in a close cousin of cedar: Knotty alder. Occasionally, these walls extend outward as slatted screens, providing a shower privacy, enclosing a porch, or hiding a visiting car in the driveway.
Completion date: August 2021
Site size: 20 acres
Total construction cost: $900,000
Photos © Lara Swimmer
Image courtesy Studio Modh, click to enlarge
Studio Modh Architecture P.L.L.C.
Principal: Philip Ryan
Project architect: Chloe Lockman
Larry Zimmerlund, PE (structural)
Tara Burke, Lighthouse Land Planning, LLP
Schuler Build Co.
Wood: Character Cedar (oiled), Charred Cedar with Linseed Oil
Moisture barrier: Ox Titan house wrap
Metal: Taylor Metal Roofing (standing seam sheet metal roof)
Composite frame: Andersen Windows
Wood doors: Andersen and Simpson custom solid wood doors
Locksets: Baldwin, Emtek
Pulls: Accurate, Omnia, Emtek
Other special hardware: Häfele
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Schuler Build
Wall coverings: Alder boards, painted gypsum wall board
Floor and wall tile: Porcelain, ceramic tile
Raisd flooring: Oak (engineered)
Interior ambient lighting: Juno, Häfele, Kichler, Nora
Fixtures: Toto, Hans Grohe, Infinity Drain, Duravit