Columbia River House
Completed with Johnston Architects, Seattle, WA
The directive from the owners from the Columbia River House was to create something special, lyrical, and durable within a strict budget, so close collaboration was essential. The owners, both skilled kayakers, helped develop a plan that is both practical and poetic. The interior axis from entry to the view side is interrupted by a “rock in the steam,” which is actually a cedar-clad utility room. The main spaces of the kitchen, dining, living room, and circulation spine pivot around this object, just as a kayaker would pivot around an obstacle. Not only does this give the plan interest and energy, it also helps organize the space.
The winds are famously fierce in the Columbia River Gorge, so the landscape is divided between a sheltered east entry courtyard, defined by the house and garage, and the wide open views of the river. The 1,900 square foot, three bedroom house rises gently to the south in one long angle, with its muted colors of rust, charcoal and natural cedar blending into the landscape.