For those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, feast your eyes on this beautiful light-filled cabin just outside Seattle in Greenwater, Washington. Robert Hutchison Architecture designed Crystal River Ranch House, a cedar-clad home hidden in the shadow of Mount Rainier that exudes a zen-like air of tranquility. Crafted to blend into the lush evergreen landscape, the 1,900-square-foot retreat was kept as compact as possible to minimize site impact and to epitomize the small home living movement.



Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat, Crystal River Ranch House by Robert Hutchison Architecture

Set within a forest on the banks of the White River, the two-bedroom Crystal River Ranch House emphasizes connection with nature through its large glazed walls and natural materials palette. Custom-run and blackened Western Red Cedar planks clad the building and help it blend into the landscape. The entry courtyard serves as a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor environment.

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat, Crystal River Ranch House by Robert Hutchison Architecture

Despite the home’s compact size, the interior looks surprisingly spacious thanks to use of a centrally located double-height space, large glazed windows, white-painted surfaces, and abundance of natural light. The modern design is characterized by simple, clean leans and a cozy yet minimalist aesthetic. The communal areas, including the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room, as well as a covered patio and outdoor patio, are located on the east and south sides of the home. The two bedrooms are placed on opposite ends of the house, with the master suite on the northeast side and the guest bedroom on the southwest side.

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat, Crystal River Ranch House by Robert Hutchison Architecture

Related: Natural material palette brings warmth to minimalist Swiss home

The architects write: “Designed as a zen-like retreat from the bustle of the city, the open living area uses large glass walls to create a sense of space and light even on the Northwest’s darkest, rainy days. A steel-clad fireplace mass serves as a central architectural feature and utility, complementing the natural wood interiors while separating the living room from the covered outdoor patio.”

+ Robert Hutchison Architecture

Images by Mark Woods

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat, Crystal River Ranch House by Robert Hutchison Architecture

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat, Crystal River Ranch House by Robert Hutchison Architecture

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat,

Courtyard House on a River by Robert Hutchison Architecture, Greenwater modern architecture, small home living movement, western red cedar clad home, Seattle retreat, zen like retreat,