Simplicity, composition, and color come together to create this unique haven in the woods.

Nestled into a second growth cedar forest, this project consists of two artist’s studios, a house and a garage. These buildings are arrayed around the site’s high point, each focused toward a distinct view of the adjacent cedars, gullies and small meadow. The buildings are expressed as industrial objects within the landscape, striving for a harmonious composition of elements in the forest -- an arrangement encouraged by the adventurous aesthetic of the artist clients.

A neutral palette of concrete, galvanized metal and polycarbonate is punctuated by moments of saturated color, a warm spectrum chosen with the clients on-site to complement the cool palette of the surrounding woods. Concrete floors, white walls and warm wood tones provide a quiet and light filled interior, with art and furniture providing splashes of color in the main house. The studios mix fine detailing with an industrial aesthetic; long gallery walls hang work, and the double height space, clerestory and skylights create an expansive space filled with natural light.

Double sloped roofs cap simple rectangular volumes that respond to topography and light. Clerestories of polycarbonate panels fill the volume left by the elevated roof edge, admitting diffused light and obscuring the landscape into an artistic abstraction.

Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects uploaded Whidbey Artists' Retreat through Add A Home.
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The main house includes a generous amount of outdoor space, extending the living area into the surrounding forest.

At night, the studios are lightboxes against the dark forest.

The exterior aesthetic confidently contrasts to its natural setting, creating discrete objects carefully set into the landscape.

In the main house, large windows allow the forest to enter the living space, an effect opposite from its exterior presence.

The dining, kitchen, and living areas flow along one long gallery-like wing of the main house, creating an easy space to entertain in.

Dynamic rooflines create interesting forms while simultaneously opening clerestory windows perfect for letting in natural light to each studio.

Far from precious yet finely detailed, the industrial aesthetic of the studios' interiors is softened with a flood of natural light from the polycarbonate clerestories and skylights.

A carefully-chosen color palette, composed of warm reds, oranges, and yellows, contrasts to the cool tones of the forest.


  • Bedrooms
  • 2
  • Full Baths
  • 4
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Industrial
  • Year
  • 2016
  • Square Feet
  • 4161
  • Lot Size
  • 10