The spectacular landscape of meadows, hills, and cliffs offers the Smiths dramatic views of the Canadian coast and Pacific Ocean. Even though the plot of land was located on the southern cape of San Juan Island, it lacked what the clients most desired but couldn’t afford—an ocean view. Our challenge was to make the house a site of refuge, shielding it from the view of their neighbors, and elevate it ten feet to capture the ocean vista, all the while preserving the site’s character—a beautiful grove of spindly pines. From inside the Smith’s can look “out” to the blue horizon and gaze “up” into the canopy of trees.
The Smith house fashions an indeterminate domestic landscape. Offshore and away from the routinization of every day life in Seattle, the house reconfigures the Smith’s—a family of five + dog—suburban lifestyle. As a vacation retreat, the open plan allows the functions of spaces to fluctuate on a daily basis according to the vicissitudes of leisure and play. Built as a porous wooden box open to transformation, the house itself can be altered—rooms redefined by new walls or old walls removed, according to the needs of the family as they grow and change over time.
Paul Kariouk, Kariouk and Associates