A Cozy Cabin in the Woods Encourages Relaxation

A new cabin at a classic Hood Canal retreat is a refuge for all seasons

By Alisa Welch January 5, 2015


This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Built in 1979, the MacRae house on Hood Canal’s Dabob Bay is considered an architectural gem not only for the feat of engineering required to plant the home on uneven and heavily forested terrain, but also for its light-filled interior that offers views, like those from a tree house, of the surrounding Douglas fir forest.

The home is named for Jackie MacRae, who was involved with the Pilchuck Glass School and who hired architect Thomas L. Bosworth to create a home similar to the buildings he had designed for the school, with an eye on keeping the landscape close.

But it turns out that nature was a bit too close—especially during the winters—for owner Diana Rudolph, who purchased the MacRae home in 2010. The cabin, designed as a summer retreat, had single-paned windows and a lack of insulation, which made for a chilly hideaway for Rudolph, who, with her partner, Jerry Siem, sought a comfortable refuge from their busy work and travel schedules.

When discussing the cabin’s design, homeowner and champion angler Diana Rudolph requested a bright room with plenty of natural light for tying flies

“We wanted a place where we can go to be present together and in our home,” says Rudolph, a career fly-fisher and former television host.

Adding on to or gutting the original structure were not options. “There are houses you can build on and some that should stay as they are,” Rudolph says. “To change that would take away the charm.” A clearing behind the original house, nicknamed “the grassy knoll,” became the obvious choice for the site of a new cabin; a separate building that could serve as a sitting place and workspace, as well as a cozy master bedroom in the winter. In order to create a structure that would be harmonious with the original home, Rudolph brought in Bosworth and his team from Seattle firm Bosworth Hoedemaker.

With space at a premium in the cabin, necessities are kept in built-in cabinetry, book shelves and small niches

Organized along a central axis, the new cabin is one rectangle with a living room (used as a fly-tying room) and a bedroom, with a small hallway between them, and a bathroom and closet on either side. Three hand-peeled log poles stretch the length of the interior, whose walls are clad in vertical-grain fir. In contrast to the honey-hued walls and ceilings, the rift and quartered white oak floors are stained dark walnut. Fixtures and hardware are industrial in feel and quality in order to withstand the moist Hood Canal weather, while sheepskin rugs, wool blankets and a wood-burning fireplace in the bedroom keep the chill at bay.  “It’s a safe and secure refuge, like a part of the environment, nestled in the woods,” says Rudolph of her cabin on the bay. “It’s a big breath of fresh air.”

Architect: Tom Bosworth, project architect; Tori Masterson, project manager; Bosworth Hoedemaker (Georgetown, 6113 13th Ave. S; 206.545.8434; bosworthhoedemaker.com)
Contractor: Todd Hulbert, Hulbert Custom Construction (Port Townsend; hulbertcc.com)
Landscape designer: Sean Olmsted (Poulsbo, 18850 State Highway 305 NE; 360.598.1802; olmstedsnursery.com)
Windows: Lindal from Groves & Co. (Port Hadlock, 11084 Rhody Drive; 360.385.1802; grovesglass.com)
Exterior siding: Tight-knot cedar rustic channel siding, sourced by contractor and finished with Penofin ultra premium
Interior paneling: Vertical grain Douglas fir, sourced by contractor and finished with Penofin Verde matte
Woodstove: The Gabo model from Rais, purchased at Sutter Home & Hearth (Ballard, 920 NW Leary Way; 206.783.9115; sutterhearth.com)
Stone slab countertop: Classico Basaltina from Pental Granite & Marble (SoDo, 713 S Fidalgo St.; 206.768.3200; pentalonline.com)
Photo at right: A hallway separating the bedroom from the living room is lit by skylights and
industrial-style pendant lights from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Rudolph and her husband keep a busy schedule with lots of travel, dinners out and meetings with clients. “We wanted a place where we can be present together,” she says


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