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Hood Cliff Retreat
Jack Colgrove Construction
The Hood Cliff Retreat is a collection of family cabins situated in a forested area overlooking Washington's Hood Canal. The retreat is located on a 1.13 acre site atop a bluff on the western shore of Hood Canal in the Pacific Northwest. The clients, who are avid bird watchers and naturalists, desired an indoor-outdoor family retreat that would immerse them in the stillness of the forest and capture the delicate Washington sunlight and views toward Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains to the west.
Architect Matt Wittman explains that the project comprises three elements: the repurposed 20’x20’ footprint of the original cabin, the cabin addition, and a new bunkhouse and bathroom to the north. The original cedar cabin, built on the site in 1962, was dark and opaque, leaving the owners feeling disconnected from nature. The owners sought a place where their friends and family could gather together while also experiencing a moment of solitude and reflection.
The three single-story volumes with large glass openings, sliding doors, and continuous decks allow for such gathering and reflection. The architecture defers to the landscape, inspired by nature and in particular the native killdeer bird. The retreat seeks a similar relationship with the ground that feels both connected to and protected from the elements of nature.
Reclaimed beams and siding from the original cabin were re-purposed as countertops and interior cladding. Simple details and a restrained material palette kept the construction budget to a minimum. The architects sought to dissolve the barriers between the inside and out, between forest, garden, and structure. Sunlight warms the plywood walls and ceilings, grazing the warm cedar boards and cast-in-place concrete, allowing shadow and light to transform the simple interior into something more complex and subtle.