Sometimes architecture means not building, or at least not in the traditional sense. Presented with logistical challenges, the team at Christopher Wright Architecture used innovation and creativity to create Kayak Point, a house perched in the trees along the Puget Sound coastline in Washington state.

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a single-story home with square structures and a front yard full of flowers

The clients, one of whom is originally from Switzerland, came to the architects with an idea in mind. They wanted a house that combined Swiss design elements with modern touches all nestled within a wooded coastal lot. With a focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail, they developed a plan for a strong yet environmentally-sensitive home with the smallest footprint available. Portions of the home don’t sit on the ground at all. Suspended slightly above ground, support beams run across the bottom of the home’s center to provide the needed structure.

Related: Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone

a single-story home lit up from the inside and surrounded by nature

As with most architectural design, the plan changed and evolved as the team studied the available land. Construction only being allowed on a small portion of the property meant finding ways to work around the challenge. The single-story structure presented an even larger challenge in the form of massive cedar trees that the clients wanted to be kept intact. With such a small available building area, the home had to be situated directly in those trees, but digging a traditional foundation would have endangered the tree roots below ground. To avoid this, the entire center of the house was elevated instead. 

the inside of a home with open doors looking out on a garden

“We wanted to create a home that seems to belong where it is–as if it could have always been there–but does not necessarily blend or disappear. Here, I like the strength of the simple form set against the natural landscape,” said architect Christopher Wright.

the inside of a home's living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and chairs and a sofa filling the room

To further this goal, cedar clads the entire structure, both inside and out. An outdoor space connects the expansive views to the function of the interior.

a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a bookshelf wall, chairs and a sofa filling the room

For interior design, Kayak Point encompasses natural elements combined with a streamlined, cozy vibe that invites the owners to relax and enjoy the view. The architects catered to requests for a TV viewing area, fireplace and large European-style kitchen, each focusing on dynamic lighting and deliberate lines for a finished home cemented into refined tranquility.

+ Christopher Wright Architecture

Photography by Anna Spencer and Ben Benschneider