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  • Tucked against the wall of a natural cliff on the water’s edge in Gig Harbor, Washington, this house design responded to the unique challenge of its site. The contemporary design integrates a green roof into the existing lawn, with a glass-enclosed elevator accessing the two levels below.
Cliff House

Tucked against the wall of a natural cliff on the water’s edge in Gig Harbor, Washington, this house design responded to the unique challenge of its site. The footprint for the new structure replaces an old guest house and boathouse, and was limited in its size by an agreement with regulatory agencies.

The design solution makes the roof of the new structure an extension of the upland lawn, with a glass-enclosed elevator accessing the two levels below. To the south, an outdoor living space is set between the house and a new boathouse.  Stairs lead down to the water form a series of decks, terraces, and bridges for easy living and entertaining. This area features a wood-burning pizza oven and an outdoor fireplace.

Inside, the main level has the feel of a boat’s cabin, with Douglas fir for ceilings, walls, and trims. Large, oversized windows and doors invite the outside in, and allow for a completely free air flow during the warm months. The exterior materials were selected for their abilities to withstand the environment, including copper, concrete, metal window cladding, and cedar. Sustainable design techniques such as sunscreens, a green roof, and complete envelope integrity are featured.

Northwest Design Awards, Outdoor Living, 1st Place, 2006

Featured in PMG’s Home and Garden, Winter 2005/2006, other publications

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This project was executed while Scott Allen was a Principal at Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (OSKA). Scott Allen, principal designer. Interiors by OSKA. Tim Bies, photography.