An Observatory for Sky, Light, and Wind Emerges 20 Miles From the U.S.-Canada Border
A surefire way to know that a property is truly off the grid? You have to describe its location in approximates.
"We are about 20 miles south of the Canadian border, basically halfway between Oroville and Tonasket," says Jesse Garlick, the owner and architect of this prefabricated home.
Jesse and his wife, Susan Elliott, built their off-grid, 820-square-foot cabin in north-central Washington about 10 years ago when they were living in Vancouver, British Columbia. With nine-year-old son, Teo, they now reside in Victoria—upping the original driving time from their primary residence to Sky House, as they call it, from around five hours to eight.
The location was plenty remote, but they wanted to build something rugged, which resulted in a two-story house made of cross-laminated timber panels covered in sheets of unfinished raw steel.
The one-bedroom, one-bathroom house has a bevy of features: 360-degree views, a guest sleeping nook (which can be raised by sailboat winch to reveal a surprise bathtub), a restaurant-grade kitchen with gas range, a floating bookshelf-cum-record cabinet, an antique wood stove, and an outdoor shower. The property relies on solar power for electricity, propane for heating, cooking, and back-up power, and a well for water.
"We designed it to be a place to experience the world around us, a place to gather with friends and eat and share time together," says Jesse. "A place to get out of the day-to-day bustle of life and shift into taking a little more time to get everything done. It’s a place to reset and to help us see the world differently when we return to the city."
The original color of the house was the color of the surrounding sagebrush, but 10 years later, it’s a gorgeous rust color, "like a giant Richard Serra piece," says Jesse.
So, how does one exactly end up with a secluded vacation retreat surrounded by sky? "A realtor in this neck of the woods is someone who has a pickup truck and knows all the best back roads," Jesse says.
While Jesse had family ties to Eastern Washington, and grew up going to both Spokane and the more central Wenatchee, the couple fell in love with the area’s landscape after they took a bike and winery tour in nearby Canadian wine country. They were immediately captivated with the flora and fauna, the nearby lakes, and the smell of the pines and sage.
"I think that’s something that Sky House offers, that connection to land and landscape and environment," says Susan. "The visceral nature of being here is so key."
Learn more at propane.com.
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