This Puget Sound Fortress Is Braced For a Tsunami

Situated in a high-velocity flood zone on Camano Island in Washington's Puget Sound, this home is a force of its own.

Architects Dan Nelson and Tom Rochon of Designs Northwest in Stanwood, Washington, started with a foundation that includes pilings that can withstand high-velocity tsunami waves, winds that clock in at 85 miles per hour, and intense earthquakes. The lower level, nicknamed the Flood Room, is a multipurpose space with walls that can break away in a storm surge, and the main living level is located nine feet above grade.

On the lower level, finishes retain an elegant simplicity, with polished concrete floors, exposed architectural concrete columns, and Western red cedar on the ceiling. A combination of clear glass and translucent glass rolling overhead doors open to the north and south to create a breezy, open-air space in warmer weather. 

At 887-square-feet, the main level functions as a great room, with an adjacent principal bedroom and a 198-square-foot sleeping loft at the third level. Additional sliding doors throughout allow spectacular water views from various points, while a sun deck built atop a drain field provides a visual barrier and privacy from the road.

A staircase fabricated from bent steel plate connects the lower and main levels, its finish echoed in the steel hand railings and ship's ladder.

Project Credits:

Design: Designs Northwest Architects

Builder/General Contractor: JP LAND BUILDER INC.

Structural Engineer: Equilibria Structural Engineering

Landscape Design: Lankford Associates

Lighting and Interior Design: h2k design

Cabinetry Design/Installation: Fine Wood Cabinets

Metalwork: Cook Welding Service


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