Text by SHED Architecture and Design
Working in close collaboration with the homeowner, SHED Architecture & Design recently completed Whidbey Dogtrot: a compact house located on a Whidbey Island bluff with sweeping views of the Puget Sound.
Set on a large east-west high bank lot, the home is thoughtfully designed to make the most of its square footage while creating privacy from neighbors and a busy rural road to the west. The result is a modest and functional dwelling strongly anchored to its site.
The design challenge was to create a compact home for economy of operation, ease of maintenance, and a space that maximized the natural beauty of the site.
In addition, the home needed space for guests, visits from adult children, hobbies, music, and a home office.
To accommodate the client’s goals, a dogtrot form was utilized —a sheltered breezeway separating 915-square-foot living quarters and the 281-square-foot flex space with a moment of respite from the sun and prevailing winds.
The living quarters incorporate a master suite, living, kitchen, and dining area — a singular, orderly form with a separated reading room bump-out on the side.
The homeowner was instrumental in the selection of lighting and the interior finishes and fixtures, in particular the design of a concrete and steel fireplace and bench as well as the reading area’s steel shelving.
The elemental building type solves the design problem in a quiet, pragmatic way. The building is comprised of three parts: a concrete plinth that cascades down to the site as steps, wood-framed volumes dimensioned by timber bents, and a large shed roof inclined to the view.
An exterior bench continues into the entry along a concrete wall while careful detailing of windows and doors connects the interior of the house to the outside.
Utilizing a limited material palette, the Whidbey Dogtrot is a house that seeks to amplify the experience of living on the site through an economy of means.
Photos by Rafael Soldi