From Juniper Design + Build
This project and text were submitted by Rachel Conly Design LLC and selected as an Editor’s Pick.
“Woods & Water was designed as a writing studio and retreat for a couple who prize early morning hours and the serenity of the water’s edge. The clients were interested in a place that would sit quietly on the land that they love and foster connection with the outdoors. It is a place for creating, sleeping and being. It was designed to thoughtfully integrate with the natural beauty of the surroundings, while also being energy efficient, durable and made of low carbon footprint materials.
The 750-square-foot studio is divided into two distinct halves, sharing one roof and woven together by 1000 square feet of white cedar decking. Sitting on a bluff of spruce and pine overlooking the sea, the structure’s minimalist, unadorned form, and material palette create a space for stillness, contemplation, and inspiration. Vertically installed cedar boards line the monolithic western face and are interrupted only by a framed entry view of the horizon. The elevation hugs the ground, resting comfortably in the company of boulders. In contrast, the eastern side of the studio is raised high above grade, opening wide to the ocean and sky, with large sliding doors and generous window glazing. The northern half contains a spacious writing studio; the southern half contains sleeping and bathing spaces. The passageway around and between the two structures celebrates the unique beauty of the site, with places to retreat and places to expand among tree limbs and blue above. One travels from room to room, experiencing the sights, sounds, and scents of the outdoors.
The studio was designed to be carbon conscious and to meet high standards of energy efficiency and air quality. The wood-framed building includes materials that were carefully selected for durability, beauty, and low carbon impact. The siding, decking, and pergola framing were constructed from locally sawn white cedar, which will silver as it ages. Cabinetry, flooring, and wall accents were made of rift-sawn white oak. The envelope of the building is robust with dense-pack cellulose insulation, an air-tight smart membrane (1.0 ACH/50), and rain screen. Mechanicals include electric baseboard heat, on demand hot water and a ductless HRV. The driveway was designed so local flora will conceal it in time.
‘We feel like we literally have a front-row seat to nature,’ the couple say.”