A Mesmerizing Cabin in Puget Sound Evolves Over Several Decades – Via Dwell

A Mesmerizing Cabin in Puget Sound Evolves Over Several Decades – Via Dwell



First built in 1959 as acclaimed architect Jim Olson’s first project, a modest bunkhouse in the woods grows into an extraordinary family retreat.


In 1959, when Jim Olson of the celebrated Seattle firm Olson Kundig was 18 years old and a first-year architecture student, his father gave him $500 and told him to go build a bunkhouse. Choosing the same forested land as his grandparents’ summer cottage in the Puget Sound, young Olson embarked on his first project. Sadly, his grandparents’ cottage was destroyed by a fire in the 1960s, but Olson’s bunkhouse has remained. What began as a 200-square-foot structure has slowly evolved over the years with each remodel integrating the previous iteration instead of erasing it.


A continual work in progress, each renovation has addressed the changing priorities of its designer: first, the structure was a bunkhouse for his friends; then, an experimental weekend retreat for a young family; and now, a quiet getaway that can accommodate both the architect’s creative work and visits from his grandchildren, extended family, and friends. The Cabin in Longbranch and its transformation has become a documentation of the architect’s illustrious career—what has remained unchanged over the years, however, is Olson’s deep reverence for the special site and its natural beauty.




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