With its black-stained cedar siding, weathering steel, and reclaimed barnwood, this 2,800-square-foot house blends in well with the gnarled evergreens and tawny meadow grasses around it. Visitors glimpse the building across a meadow before winding through a forest and entering the parking court, on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “You turn right in this linear pattern and all of a sudden come through the first fence walls; to the left is the water,” says architect Peter Q. Bohlin. “I think of it as bits of choreography. You discover aspects of places as you move through them.”

The taller, cedar-clad living, dining, and bedroom bar unspools along the dramatic western exposure, with an office loft above. Its butterfly roof funnels in natural light, and an attached trough sends rainwater runoff to a cistern for watering the plants. Bedrooms have angled bays that gaze out toward the Olympic Mountains.

Merit Award

Category Custom home, less than 3,500 square feet
Entrant/Architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Seattle
Builder Crocker Construction, Seattle
Landscape architect Allworth Design, Seattle


A lower, barnwood-clad volume housing the kitchen and sitting area is more agrarian in character. Its flat roof is covered in native grasses, and its interiors celebrate craft and light, from the stair assembly made of solid cherry, to ample windows that let nature into its sheltering spaces.