The Danish Know How to Rock a Spectacular Summer House

This Danish-inspired Hood Canal getaway offers year-round relaxation.

By Maria Dolan

1_0

July 14, 2017

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

For a Seattle couple (who wish to remain anonymous), their peaceful summer cabin merges their childhood experiences. The wife’s parents are from Denmark, and the husband grew up on the Gig Harbor peninsula. “His dream and hope was to have a place on the water,” says the wife. “My heritage was going to Denmark to see my extended family, where I experienced the lovely thing that is a sommerhus,” or summer house. “Everyone heads out there in summer and hangs out. It’s about being together and eating good food and drinking wine and relaxing.” Leisure time at the beach is often part of the summer house experience.

With two teenagers and two busy careers, the homeowners yearned for their own summer house, one that was close enough to Seattle for weekend getaways year-round. They found their property in 2013 and over the period of a couple of years, camped out in a trailer during visits to the site to get a feel for the landscape.

The couple interviewed several architects, but connected best with Geoff Prentiss of Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects, who visited the property to determine where to situate the house to capture the best views. They were pleased that the firm’s vision brought the outdoors in. “We wanted a physical connection; to be able to open the doors and feel like we were living outside,” says the wife.


Photograph by Alexander Canaria and Taylor Proctor. Gabled roofs and dark cedar siding visually tie the two connected buildings of the main house and separate bunkhouse.

The home, located on Hood Canal near Dabob Bay, was completed in 2016. It’s surrounded by a varied landscape that includes woods, a meadow, a bluff and water access. Dan Wickline was the principal architect of the 1,300-square-foot main house, which has a small loft and an additional gabled structure containing the master bedroom—giving the appearance of two connected buildings. There’s also a detached, 420-square-foot bunkhouse. According to the homeowners, the relatively small footprint still accommodates frequent visits from friends and family, with air mattresses and futons supplied in the main house and additional sleeping arrangements for guests on four bunk beds in the bunkhouse.

Wickline says the design borrows from the Danish sommerhus not only in spirit but also in aesthetics, with gabled roofs and a dark painted cedar exterior. Inside, white painted sheetrock and pine provide a cheerful contrast, and a woodstove in the living room draws family and friends to gather there on cool evenings after a long day outdoors. Wickline also drew up plans for a future boathouse with a rustic kitchen and kayak storage. (The homeowners currently keep a small motorboat at a nearby marina.)

Photographs by Alexander Canaria and Taylor Proctor. Painted sheetrock and pine brighten up the airy and open kitchen, dining and living space; clean, loft space in the main structure provides ample sleeping room; simple lines create a serene feeling in the master bedroom

Finding ways to economize was important to the couple. “We designed efficient forms that are easy to build, and used relatively inexpensive sheetrock and pine for the interior,” says Wickline. Instead of large sliding doors, he used a series of French doors—a less expensive method to connect to the outdoor space—while the kitchen was sourced from Ikea, with modifications. Conveniently, the economy inherent in repeating forms, such as the equally proportioned gables and windows, as well as other details, also creates a “calm and simple” feeling, says Wickline—appropriate for a place designed for relaxation and escape.

The house has connected the owners to the landscape in just the way the architects and owners had hoped. “There’s a beautiful sense of sky and earth and forest and water all right in this nice little view,” says the wife. And when the view becomes too enticing to resist, visitors can stroll to the beach, just like families do in Denmark.

This thoughtfully sited and detailed home was selected by a panel of architects for the AIA Seattle (aiaseattle.org) Home of Distinction program as an example of a rural retreat that invites its visitors to unwind in its “great room”—a natural gathering place that spills out to expansive decks and opens to the tranquil landscape beyond.

Resources

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects
Dan Wickline, architect; Geoff Prentiss, architect; 206.283.9930

Evergreen Design Company
Lori Brown, Structural Engineer; 360.387.8480

Hulbert Custom Construction
Todd Hulbert, Contractor; 360.379.0258

Northwest Landmark
Doug Lowman, Landscaper; 206.601.4011

The redesign corrected inefficient layouts and awkward connections to the home’s decks.

AIA Home: Goodbye 1970

Family fixes design flaws to bring midcentury home into modern era

“Treehouse” by Floisand Studio Architects returns to glory a Ralph D. Anderson home that had lost its compass. Nick and Rachel Lenington purchased the 1970 Mercer Island home in 2010, attracted to the quiet neighborhood because of its midcentury vibe, big, west-facing windows, and abundant wildlife. An advertised water view didn’t really pan out, but…

Photography by Netra Nei

Living: This Kitchen Really Cooks

Remodel preserves Victorian charm

Raised on an off-the-grid ranch in southern Oregon, Mandy Lozano took a don’t-fence-me-in approach to renovating her kitchen in Seattle’s Squire Park neighborhood. She sought to balance a respect for the 1900 Victorian’s heritage with a genetic predisposition toward creative license. “I don’t care for modern technology that much, and I don’t like fussy or…

IMG_1752 hero-min

It Costs What? High-End Seattle-Area Homes Skyrocket in Price

The rise in pricey homes throughout Seattle is nothing short of astonishing

It’s no secret that housing prices are skyrocketing. Some new numbers, however, may send you into a fit of apoplexy. A study by home buying and selling service Orchard finds that the Seattle region has experienced a whopping 180% increase in the sale of million-dollar homes in just three years. So far in 2022, almost…

The roof slopes to the south for greater solar-panel efficiency and the one-car garage was among several tradeoffs to improve energy efficiency.

Seattle Passive House Respects The Environment

Passive House in Ballard treats the environment with respect

Rade and Eli Trimceski didn’t set out to save the planet when they commissioned their new home in Ballard, but the planet sent its regards anyway. Designed and built by First Lamp Architects of Seattle, the project was named the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) National Home of the Year in 2020.  Billed as “the…

IMG_1 copy 2-cropped

Why This Tiny Cottage in Shoreline Works For a Family of Four

Why our tiny house makes sense

We live in a world full of hacks, loopholes and workarounds that often lead to more work and dead ends. When my wife, Kristy, and I discovered a way to live mortgage free, it seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch. Six years later, we are still living out that…

The project resulted in an extra 5,000 square feet of floor space and a refacing of parts of the facade.

Seattle’s Former Columbia Congregational Church and Allied8: A Match Made in Heaven

The former Columbia Congregational Church was in disrepair before architectural firm Allied8 came to the rescue

The Columbia Congregational Church was harshly thrust into an uncertain future in the secular world.   It was founded in 1891, two years before the Columbia City neighborhood. The densely forested site was ringed by marshlands and served as the gateway to the untamed Rainier Valley. At the time, it was a common practice to donate…