A Dramatic Home on San Juan Island Appears to Cascade Toward the Sea

Each of the home’s four staggered volumes is covered in a blanket of native grasses.

For most of the 40-odd years that Paul and Bonnie Bunning visited San Juan Island, they stayed in a ramshackle cabin on a rock-strewn, moss-covered hill overlooking the Salish Sea. After they retired, the couple decided it was time to add modern amenities like running water to their rugged getaway, so they hired Seattle-based Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects to renovate. But Geoff Prentiss soon convinced them that to really take advantage of the site, they needed to start fresh. "I could create something where the different parts of the house all celebrated the different views they had previously experienced in one single spot, enlarging and diversifying their experience," says Prentiss.

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