Lone Madrone Retreat

Having water views is something that most people will definitely appreciated and when they’re from a piece of architecture as extraordinary as this Lone Madrone Retreat from Heliotrope Architects, it’s hard not to be bowled over entirely. This stunning piece of contemporary design offers incredible views throughout and the whole layout has been carefully considered to make the most of its privileged location.

Modern architecture at its finest, the Lone Madrone Retreat from Heliotrope Architects is located on the San Juan Islands in Washington state on a rocky, wind-swept south facing shoreline; this breathtaking retreat home nestles into the landscape to harmonise with its out of this world surroundings and minimise the exposure to the elements. The home is a vacation retreat for a family of four, who desired a low-impact home with a strong connection to land and sea.

Perfect Views

Magical views are the main selling point of this beautiful Lone Madrone Retreat and the design solution makes use of a simple ‘wedge’ shape geometry, which aims to replicate the hillside slope beyond, and is tucked into a natural depression in the shoreline in order to diminish its visual impact in what is clearly an area of considerable natural beauty. The living spaces open up completely on the north (garden) and south (water) sides of the property via a custom lift-slide door system.

The bedrooms of the Lone Madrone Retreat from Heliotrope Architects focuses predominantly on the more private, forested slope to the west and the kitchen opens onto an adjacent rock promontory to the east of the structure. As a result of the extreme weather exposure of the site, major openings are paired with rolling wall panels to protect them from punishing winter storms, as well as to provide security when the home is left unoccupied.

Colour is a big component of what makes this Lone Madrone Retreat so special from an aesthetic perspective and it has been carefully considered both inside and out. The finish palette consists of an array of local materials which includes douglas fir (floors, trim), western red cedar (siding, wall and ceiling cladding) and pacific madrone (furniture). The site is within the San Juan Islands National Monument, with extremely sensitive shorelines and marine environment so it occupies a very special place and serves as an incredible retreat for the lucky owners.

Nature First

Throughout the entire design process of the Lone Madrone Retreat, the team at Heliotrope Architects made sure that the environment and ecological sensitivity of the plot was always being taken into account so as not to harm it unduly. For example, to avoid habitat loss for near-shore insects, a critical food source for endangered juvenile Chinook salmon, a garden roof seeded with native, drought tolerant vegetation has been added. This assembly replaces over 90% of the vegetative footprint that was lost to construction.

We can think of few more spectacular locations for such a stunning piece of contemporary architecture than the San Juan Islands and the fact the architects have been so careful with their creation so as to minimise its impact is the icing on the cake. Beautifully designed and realised, the Lone Madrone Retreat is a glorious piece of modern design and we can’t wait to see what Heliotrope Architects come up with next.

Leo is the owner of The Coolector and writes about the stuff he loves. And some stuff that he merely likes.