Like a fortress located near the Hood Canal waterfront off the Puget Sound in Washington, this cabin is only accessible via a retractable staircase found underneath the house. Designed by Seattle-based Castanes Architecture, the Treehouse is a vacation home for a couple who often work in Japan, but spend their free time in the States racing bicycles. The low-impact cabin has a minimal footprint on the forest, and was designed with an efficient layout, plenty of daylighting, a composting toilet, and high-quality and environmentally friendly materials.
Perched on four concrete columns, the cabin is accessed by a motorized staircase that can be lifted like a drawbridge, providing security when the owners are away. The small footprint of the house on the ground minimizes disturbance on the surrounding forest and provides a convenient place to park the owner’s car.
Oriented to the south, the home draws in lots of natural daylight and takes advantage of solar gain when it is available. The walls are heavily insulated and tight in order to minimize thermal losses.
Inside, an efficient layout and multi-functional design components minimize the square footage. For example a kitchen counter on cranks lowers to dinner table height. The toilet is a waterless composting toilet, the flooring is cork and the exterior siding is Ipe. Eco-friendly and high quality materials were chosen for their durability and longevity as a way of maximizing the lifespan of the building.
Alev Seyman of Castanes Architects tells us, “The most un-green thing to do, would be misusing a product and then having to replace it a few years down the road.”
Images © Castanes Architects