North Bay is located on a stunning but restricted site overlooking Griffin Bay on San Juan Island. The most practical area to build was exactly where three beautiful old growth trees had already chosen to live, and a prior architect, in a prior design, had proposed chopping them down in order to use that portion of the site. To us, the trees were an essential element of the site and had to be preserved. As a result we shifted the placement of the house, minimized the programmatic requirements, kept the clients on a square foot restriction, and pressed tight against property setbacks. A further issue was that the site backed up against the county road, making visual and audio privacy a significant concern.
The clients desired an intimate, yet dynamic family residence that reflected the beauty of the site and the lifestyle of the San Juan Islands. The house was built to be both a place to gather for large dinners with friends and family as well as a cozy home for the couple.
The big design move is a stone wall that sweeps from the parking to the entry, through the house and out the other side, terminating in a hook that nestles the master shower. This is the symbolic and functional shield between the public road and the private living spaces of the home owners. All the primary living spaces and the master suite are on the water side, and the remaining rooms are tucked into the hill on the road side of the wall.
A glass 'pavilion' grabs the views and the light to the south, east, and west, while simultaneously offsetting the heavy mass of the stone wall. Built with the strength to withstand the island's windy winter storms, the pavilion, while light and airy in appearance and feeling, is constructed of glass, steel, and stout wood timbers and doors.
The stone wall and green roof shield the house from the nearby county road.
Fireplaces anchor each side of the glass pavilion.
Steel windows and Brazilian slate balance warm wood ceilings, timber columns, and fir door frames.
Concrete panels add visual weight to the fireplaces.
Glass makes up the majority of North Bay’s pavilion enclosure, which is punctured by sliding doors that extend the space out into the site. Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects wanted the home to preserve the feeling of being enclosed in nature.
Glass window-walls contrast with the adjoining stone wall.
A custom pivoting door emphasizes the continuity of the stone wall.
- Holly McKinley
- Ravenhill Construction
- Jay Goodrich Photographer Inc.
- Jay Goodrich