Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig is no stranger to cabin design, having completed many beautiful retreats across the Pacific Northwest. So, when Alan Maskin, principal and owner of Olson Kundig, decided to a renovate and expand an original 1938 beach cabin on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the results were nothing short of spectacular. In keeping with Maskin’s love for “the various uses of history,” the Agate Pass Cabin deftly combines the spirit of the 1930s with a modern refresh.
Located on the shore overlooking Agate Pass, the Agate Pass Cabin came about when Maskin began searching for a home located between his “work life and love life,” formerly separated by a three-hour commute. It was then that he found a rundown 1930s cabin that won him over with its nice proportions, stained wood interiors and potential.
The original structure was only one-story with low ceilings and an attic. Maskin expanded the property to 1,100 square feet and added a second story fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that frame views of the water and Agate Pass. The second floor also opens up to a small terrace built atop the original screened-in porch, which was converted into a dining room and office. The existing interior was clad in wide planks of Douglas Fir — a plentiful and popular material choice in the area 100 years ago. Whenever those panels were removed or altered, Maskin repurposed them into everything from cabinetry to ceilings.
“Throughout the design, Maskin worked to make the different construction periods legible,” Olson Kundig said. “Modern additions are demarcated with different wood types from the original planks, making it clear to see what was ‘then’ and what is ‘now.’” To develop a spacious feel, Maskin removed the attic and the living room’s low ceiling to create a cathedral ceiling that soars to 17 feet tall at the gable. The design team added new foundations and made seismic upgrades. Maskin also designed most of the built-in furniture and cabinets, much of it made with glulam plywood.
Images by Aaron Leitz and Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig