A Serene House For Artists Appears to Float in the Woods of Puget Sound

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By Lucy Wang
Designed to feel like a walk through the woods, this family home is exquisitely tailored to embrace forest vistas.

Armed with an intimate knowledge of their one-acre property atop a bluff in Washington's Puget Sound, a pair of artists tapped Seattle–based DeForest Architects for a custom residence that's far more than just a place to call home.

Set on a one-acre wooded bluff overlooking Puget Sound, the Tree House is clad in low-maintenance materials including Cor-Ten steel, stained cedar shiplap, and painted HardiePlank.

Set on a one-acre wooded bluff overlooking Puget Sound, the Tree House is clad in low-maintenance materials including Cor-Ten steel, stained cedar shiplap, and painted HardiePlank.

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An oversized entrance door leads to an angled hallway that obscures views to create an element of surprise. The Vollen bench in Custom Red Lacquer is from Chadhaus.

An oversized entrance door leads to an angled hallway that obscures views to create an element of surprise. The Vollen bench in Custom Red Lacquer is from Chadhaus.

"The clients asked us to design a home for their family of four that was by turns tranquil and surprising, [and] so connected to the trees and the hillside that it would feel like a virtual walk in the woods," explain the architects. They worked closely with the clients to tease out a contemporary design aimed at deepening the family’s relationship with the landscape.

Enclosed in glass and elevated in the tree canopy, the living room is furnished with midcentury modern classics including a Case Kelston sofa from DWR and a Knoll Womb chair and ottoman. The custom red wool rug is from Driscoll Robbins.

Enclosed in glass and elevated in the tree canopy, the living room is furnished with midcentury modern classics including a Case Kelston sofa from DWR and a Knoll Womb chair and ottoman. The custom red wool rug is from Driscoll Robbins.

The side chair is a Vintage Dux Scissor chair by Folke Ohlsson. The coffee tables are Blu Dot Strut tables in walnut.

The side chair is a Vintage Dux Scissor chair by Folke Ohlsson. The coffee tables are Blu Dot Strut tables in walnut.

Conceived as a "vehicle for experiencing the site in different ways," the 3,886-square-foot house winds along the steeply sloped terrain and culminates in a dramatic cantilever on the west side. The resulting spaces range from intimate bedrooms nestled into the hillside to a dramatic glass-enclosed great room cantilevered into the canopy for a treehouse-like feel.

The open kitchen features Pental Quartz countertops, walnut plywood cabinetry by Kerf Design, and a ceramic tile backsplash from Ann Sacks Savoy Collection. The Muuto Nerd counter stools are from DWR.

The open kitchen features Pental Quartz countertops, walnut plywood cabinetry by Kerf Design, and a ceramic tile backsplash from Ann Sacks Savoy Collection. The Muuto Nerd counter stools are from DWR.

The dining room features a striking Agnes 10-light chandelier by Lindsey Adelman for Roll &amp; Hill. Below, a Montis Doble table is combined with vintage Case Study iron chairs upholstered in blue fabric. The artwork, titled <i>Linger</i>, is by Kate Neckel via Winston Wächter.

The dining room features a striking Agnes 10-light chandelier by Lindsey Adelman for Roll & Hill. Below, a Montis Doble table is combined with vintage Case Study iron chairs upholstered in blue fabric. The artwork, titled Linger, is by Kate Neckel via Winston Wächter.

The two-story home's entrance faces east, and the primary living areas lie on the main floor. The master bedroom and two additional bedrooms are located on the upper floor. The layout follows an open-plan concept to achieve the client’s desire for "good flow" and to preserve sight lines with the outdoors.

The outdoor patio features St. Kitts lounge chairs from Frontgate and a black and white bone inlay coffee table.

The outdoor patio features St. Kitts lounge chairs from Frontgate and a black and white bone inlay coffee table.

The home's owners are a graphic designer and a fine artist, and they sought a dwelling conducive to artistic work that would inspire creativity through the playful use of color and graphic prints.

Painted a vibrant red (Benjamin Moore Chili Pepper 2004-20), the stairs offer a playful splash of color against the white walls.

Painted a vibrant red (Benjamin Moore Chili Pepper 2004-20), the stairs offer a playful splash of color against the white walls.

Vintage Adrian Pearsall swivel chairs with upholstery by HM Duke Design anchor the stair landing along with an Urbia Vinya side table.

Vintage Adrian Pearsall swivel chairs with upholstery by HM Duke Design anchor the stair landing along with an Urbia Vinya side table.

"Primary color is introduced through the use of red panels in the kitchen cabinets, a red lacquered metal staircase, and red and blue textiles throughout the house," note the architects, who worked with local interior design practice Ore Studios. "The furniture selections include contemporary classics, a few modern pieces, and enough vintage to provide a feeling that matches the custom nature of the house."

Bathed in natural light, the master bedroom is tastefully decorated. The vintage sofa has a Hable Construction Horsehair cover from HM Duke Design. The Woodrow bed in Smoke by Blu Dot is dressed in West Elm linens. The Mantis BS1 B floor lamp is from DWR, and the custom wool rug is from Driscoll Robbins.

Bathed in natural light, the master bedroom is tastefully decorated. The vintage sofa has a Hable Construction Horsehair cover from HM Duke Design. The Woodrow bed in Smoke by Blu Dot is dressed in West Elm linens. The Mantis BS1 B floor lamp is from DWR, and the custom wool rug is from Driscoll Robbins.

A custom mix of graphite tiles from Ann Sacks line the walls of the master bath. The floors are white penny rounds from American Universal Corporation.

A custom mix of graphite tiles from Ann Sacks line the walls of the master bath. The floors are white penny rounds from American Universal Corporation.

The pops of color and varied textures knit together with a natural materials palette, creating an elegant yet welcoming home.

The office, located adjacent the master bedroom, is smartly outfitted with a vintage Aluminum Group Management chair by Herman Miller, a custom walnut plywood desk by Kerf Design, and Hitch bookcases from Blu Dot.

The office, located adjacent the master bedroom, is smartly outfitted with a vintage Aluminum Group Management chair by Herman Miller, a custom walnut plywood desk by Kerf Design, and Hitch bookcases from Blu Dot.

The architects continue: "For the interior, the owners wanted finish selections for their house that felt timeless and serene while also hewing to their very specific and artistic point of view."

The sun room, located between the kitchen and outdoor deck on the main floor, is furnished with a Herman Miller Striad lounge chair from DWR, an Odyssey rug from Driscoll Robbins, and a Kade accent table from Arteriors.

The sun room, located between the kitchen and outdoor deck on the main floor, is furnished with a Herman Miller Striad lounge chair from DWR, an Odyssey rug from Driscoll Robbins, and a Kade accent table from Arteriors.

"Large fields of end-grain hemlock with a whitewash finish, white painted trim, and ebonized fir windows are graphic but calm repeating elements. Elsewhere, walnut cabinets, concrete tiles, and porcelain tile set into special layouts appear in smaller quantities."

Tree House main floor plan.

Tree House main floor plan.

Tree House upper floor plan.

Tree House upper floor plan.

Related Reading: 10 Surreal Tree Houses That Will Make Your Childhood Dreams Come True 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: DeForest Architects / @deforestarchitects

Builder/General Contractor: Toth Construction

Structural Engineer: Evergreen Design Company

Civil Engineer: Davido Consulting Group

Landscape Design Company: Richard Pulkrabek

Lighting Design: Brian Hood Lighting Design

Interior Design: Ore Studios

Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Kerf (kitchen), DeForest Architects, Ore Studios