It would be safe to say that architect Jim Olson from Olson Kundig Architects is an incredibly patient man. In a world where architects strive to build skyscapers at record-breaking speed, the award-winning architect took his time with the construction of his own lake house, as in 55 years. Olson began to build the cabin, located in Longbranch, Washington, in 1959. What began as a mere 14-square-foot bunk house has been patiently and lovingly transformed over the years into a breathtaking lake-side cabin.
Starting the cabin construction when he was just 18-years-old, Olson has worked on the structure for decades, always adding new features to the design. However, the word “renovation” doesn’t adequately describe the cabin’s decades-long transformation; rather it was a creative layering process that always incorporated the cabin’s past features into its more modern present.
Details hidden among the modest cabin mark each remodeling stage, architecturally revealing the cabin’s design history. Distinct textures and color schemes make up the impressive living space which lies under the exposed glulam beams. Steel columns mark the living space divisions and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow for incredible full-frame views of the Puget Sound.
In addition to the architect’s sophisticated design features, there are various signs of Olson’s love of nature within the home. Fir flooring extends throughout the living room onto the exterior deck, seamlessly connecting the interior with the exterior. The outdoor deck was also built around three large trees that grew up during the long construction period. Olson wanted to make sure that they were able to continue to grow uninterrupted no matter what new construction may come to the house.
Images via Olson Kundig Architects