Heliotrope Architects Renovates Waterfront Retreat on Orcas Island

Heliotrope Architects Renovates Waterfront Retreat on Orcas Island

Heliotrope Architects recently renovated a waterfront retreat, 'Outward Bound,' located on Orcas Island in Washington State. In updating the interior and exterior, the design firm opened up the home to scenic water and mountain views beyond.

The owners were not in need of more space, rather they desired an improved experience. The existing home lacked a coherent character and turned its back on panoramic views of the Salish Sea, the Cascade range and Mount Baker. Heliotrope's design solution built upon what the home appeared to want to be, a simple farmhouse, while improving interior spatial relationships, solar access and views to the surroundings.

The scope consisted of re-framing the roof and porch to accommodate new dormer windows and a modified roof form, which opened up the second floor to sunlight and views while improving the home's overall character. On the main floor, a 30ft steel beam was inserted to provide a column free opening between living spaces and the porch. This opening is infilled minimally, with custom wood storefront and lift-slide door systems allowing for a seamless indoor/outdoor connection. This intervention also adds an important contemporary counterpoint to an otherwise fairly traditional farmhouse vernacular. Interiors further reinforce this duality between a traditional and contemporary formal vocabulary.

Outside, the landscape was heavily re-worked and an unsightly fire circle removed and replaced with a sunken fire-pit, situated near the edge of the cliff. This removed it from the porch view while providing a spectacular place to sit by the fire sheltered from southerly winds.

Photography: Sean Airhart Photography

Heliotrope Architects