Whether you've fantasized about island living or are seeking a sleek, turnkey vacation retreat, this Guemes Island home might just be the perfect fit. Tucked into 2.5 acres of old-growth cedar and spruce on Guemes Island in the San Juan Islands of northwest Washington, the 1,185-square-foot abode was thoughtfully built over 15 years by a married couple.
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After living on various islands in the San Juans for three years, Eric and Wendy finally decided it was time to buy property on the land they fell in love with. Having only a tight budget to work with, the couple spent a few years simply searching for the right site.
"We wanted land and privacy, but never considered waterfront or water views as it was just too darn expensive and the land too small," explains Eric. "Thus, we looked for a bit of land that was dry and had a few neighbors with good wells. The land we bought was perfect—high (dry), center island (good water), and covered in 80' cedar and spruce."
Once the couple closed on the land, they turned to their friend, architect Cara Piscitello, who had just graduated from architecture school a few years prior. "We asked her to design the house, then worked with her for about a year collaborating," says Eric.
"At the time, we were broke and had no budget so the design process was centered around keeping the home simple, inexpensive, and easy to maintain," states Eric. Aside from painting the drywall a crisp white shade, the couple have kept the space open and raw. "We didn't want to paint the trim around the doors, windows, floors, or ceilings—instead we wanted to stay true to the materials and leave everything as is."
When asked how long the residence took to build, Eric jokingly adds: "A whole lot of time—like really long. We've probably put in anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 hours of our own labor, on top of the builders who built the shell, and Cara, the architect who helped with the design."
After tenderly crafting the home for 15 years, the couple are saying goodbye to the property so they can start a new adventure in Barcelona, Spain. "Knowing that we built this residence just makes me smile," Eric notes. "It's truly a reflection of our lifestyle and needs—it fits us, and other folks have enjoyed it, too."
Scroll ahead to see more of the stunning home, currently on the market for $513,000.
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