Uninterrupted panoramic views of the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountain Range are ushered indoors at the House on the Cove, a contemporary home where the line between the outdoors and indoors is blurred. Seattle-based architecture firm Stephenson Design Collective designed the energy-efficient house for a client who not only wanted a home with a view but also sought space for a small metal fabrication shop and studio. The two resulting structures — a two-story main house and a separate garage/shop with a studio on top — are clad in natural steel and black-stained cedar to blend into the landscape.

metal and wood home on hill in forest

Located in the city of Bellingham just north of Seattle, the House on the Cove is set at a high elevation and backs into a conifer forest. “This project is study of environment and experience,” the architects explained. “The home itself is secondary. With views to the west that are uninterrupted Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountain Range, the experience exists regardless of the home.”

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tan sofa with art canvas on wall
white kitchen island with stove top

In addition to minimizing impact on the landscape, the house also boasts energy-efficient features and durable materials to meet the clients’ desire for sustainable housing. The house is heated with radiant concrete floors that double as a thermal mass to naturally cool the home on hot summer nights. Zola Windows open the house up completely on the west side and let natural breezes blow straight through. In winter, fireplace pipes are used to warm the air.

two chairs in front of windows and bookcases
bedroom with large glass wall

The main house spans an area of 2,504 square feet. The ground floor includes the open-plan layout with the living room, dining area and kitchen as well as an office and a bedroom. The second floor comprises a spacious, west-facing en suite master bedroom, a third bedroom, a “Nest” refuge and a reading room. The separate 765-square-foot studio houses the garage, a west-facing metalworking space, and a studio space above the metalworking shop.

+ Stephenson Design Collective

Photography by Andrew Pogue via Stephenson Design Collective

metal and wood house facing Puget Sound