This Retreat in the Cascades is a Bold Take on the Modern Cabin

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By Kelly Dawson / Published by Dwell
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An unorthodox design is a comfortable escape from city life.

When the owners of this home first broke ground in 2009, they envisioned a place to retreat into the wild. The land is tucked away in Marblemount, Washington, about a two-hour drive from Seattle, and overlooks a lush canopy that stretches to the Cascade Mountains. For years, nothing obstructed the view but a frame that one owner, a cabinetmaker, had built with others. But eventually, in 2014, architect David Coleman completed the long-awaited property. "I wanted to claim a small piece of the wild site, rather than create a sprawling complex," he said. His namesake architecture firm created a joint 890-square-foot cabin and 1,000-square-foot studio where an abundance of windows and a series of open spaces maximize the natural setting.

The jagged edges of the roof are meant to resemble the surrounding peaks of the Cascades. The exterior HardiePanel vertical siding is painted "dark pewter" by Benjamin Moore.

The jagged edges of the roof are meant to resemble the surrounding peaks of the Cascades. The exterior HardiePanel vertical siding is painted "dark pewter" by Benjamin Moore.

Windows by Milgard allow for views of the terrace below the cabin’s bedroom and the expanse of trees beyond.

Windows by Milgard allow for views of the terrace below the cabin’s bedroom and the expanse of trees beyond.

"I wanted the bathtub and shower to be at the foot of the terrace, so one could look out and feel the connection to the site," Coleman said. "French roast," an unglazed porcelain tile by American Olean, covers the shower.

"I wanted the bathtub and shower to be at the foot of the terrace, so one could look out and feel the connection to the site," Coleman said. "French roast," an unglazed porcelain tile by American Olean, covers the shower.

A polycarbonate wall by Lexan Thermoclick colors the west side of the studio. Exterior doors are from Codel, and they are also painted in Benjamin Moore’s "dark pewter."

A polycarbonate wall by Lexan Thermoclick colors the west side of the studio. Exterior doors are from Codel, and they are also painted in Benjamin Moore’s "dark pewter."

The 1,000-square-foot studio includes a wood shop and music room. The Red Balau wood flooring was treated with Osmo color oil and Osmo Polyx finish. The walls are painted "white heron" by Benjamin Moore.

The 1,000-square-foot studio includes a wood shop and music room. The Red Balau wood flooring was treated with Osmo color oil and Osmo Polyx finish. The walls are painted "white heron" by Benjamin Moore.

The cabin and studio each have one bathroom and one bedroom, and the entirety of the property has geothermal heat and super insulation. The custom-made stairs in the cabin are by Westside Metal Fabricators in Mount Vernon, Washington.

The cabin and studio each have one bathroom and one bedroom, and the entirety of the property has geothermal heat and super insulation. The custom-made stairs in the cabin are by Westside Metal Fabricators in Mount Vernon, Washington.

The living room features a "Focus One" couch by Kasala, which sits across from Arper and Catifa 46 dining room chairs by Hive Modern. The pendant lights that hang above them are "Easy" by Kartell.

The living room features a "Focus One" couch by Kasala, which sits across from Arper and Catifa 46 dining room chairs by Hive Modern. The pendant lights that hang above them are "Easy" by Kartell.

Every room in the home has views to the outdoors, including the loft. Glass walls box in Womb Chairs by Modern Classics.

Every room in the home has views to the outdoors, including the loft. Glass walls box in Womb Chairs by Modern Classics.

"I wanted to create ‘defensible’ outdoor rooms that flowed in and around the buildings," Coleman said. The deck was built with Red Balau hardwood, which has a custom oil finish by Messmer’s.

"I wanted to create ‘defensible’ outdoor rooms that flowed in and around the buildings," Coleman said. The deck was built with Red Balau hardwood, which has a custom oil finish by Messmer’s.

"I wanted the buildings to be crisp, bold, and clean," Coleman said. Exterior vertical siding is made from locally sourced cedar stained in a "hazelnut" shade by Sikkens Cetol SRD.

"I wanted the buildings to be crisp, bold, and clean," Coleman said. Exterior vertical siding is made from locally sourced cedar stained in a "hazelnut" shade by Sikkens Cetol SRD.