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Winthrop, Wash., Residence


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  • Balance Associates Architects
  • Bjornsen Construction
  • Steve Keating Photography

Project Status



1,613 sq. feet
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Project Description

2006 CHDA
Custom Home Less Than 3,000 Square Feet / Merit Award

Nearly every aspect of this hillside cabin was designed to respond to its mountain environment, from severe weather to splendid scenery.

The core of the home is a south-facing “glass box” kitchen, dining, and living space that captures the spectacular views and blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors. A 6-foot-deep roof overhang shades the interior from the intense summer sun and protects it from winter snows. Yet the low winter sun can penetrate the room, where its warmth is collected and retained in the concrete floors and walls. Project architect Tom Lencheck notes that the size and openness of the space help maintain its relationship to the outdoors but still feel enclosed enough for comfort.

Flanking the glass box on the east, west, and south are three separate decks that each serve a separate function: one is for dining, another is for daytime use, and the third is for watching the sun set. “At different times of the day, you want to be on different decks,” Lencheck says. Separating the decks, rather than wrapping the structure with one large deck, preserves the scale of the cabin.

Lencheck chose materials characteristic of the region's ranch and mining buildings, including cedar siding, Douglas fir, corrugated Galvalume roofing, and concrete, because they can better endure the harsh environment. The judges agree that all these features combine to form an elegantly simple, yet very strong, house.
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