They say the key to good real estate is location, location, location. But in the case of this home, dubbed the City Cabin, the architectural and environmental design supersedes its location on a basic urban lot.

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A house made out of wood dubbed City Cabin

Set in an established residential area of Seattle, City Cabin is a reflection of the owner’s dedication to nature. This is seen through the selection of natural materials, an urban forest and green design.

Related: This backyard cottage in Seattle is only 800 square feet

A house made out of woods

“The client wanted to feel like she was living in the wilderness when, in fact, her home is on a regular-sized urban neighborhood lot,” said Design Principal Jim Olson.

The 2,400-square-foot house sits on the corner of the lot in order to accent large gardens on the south and east sides. Plantings of dense greenery and mature trees fill the space for an instant immersion into nature. The home’s orientation lends itself to copious sun exposure and garden views through generous windows in all the primary living spaces. 

A kitchen area with a dining table

The design offers natural light and heating that work in conjunction towards the goal of zero-energy consumption. To further support that goal, the home is equipped with solar panels and an air-to-water heat pump. 

A living room area with a TV attached to a wall and a sofa set facing it

The layout of City Cabin places the main living area in the center, with wings on either side that house the master suite and the guest space separately. A 16-foot ceiling in the open kitchen and living space is flooded with natural light, even in the often clouded skies of Seattle. The view opens into the landscaped yard for both the indoor-outdoor experience and privacy. 

A living room area with a island and stools

Interior designer Christine Burkland took inspiration from the client’s comprehensive Native American art collection, setting a tone for a palette that includes concrete floors tinted with a red hue. Throughout the space, the client’s love of nature is reflected in the natural, unstained plywood chosen for its durability and simplicity.

A bedroom with wooden shelves and floor-to-ceiling windows

The facade is composed of reclaimed fir siding sourced from a nearby fruit storage warehouse. Recycled for the project, the wood will weather naturally with minimal maintenance. A sedum green galvanized steel roof further complements the natural design elements. 

“The client is an avid conservationist dedicated to preserving existing forests,” said Olson. “Here, she is creating a tiny new forest in the heart of the city.”

+ Olson Kundig 

Photography by Aaron Leitz