Waterfront Shelter Has Amazing Beach-chic Lifestyle On Whidbey Island


Hoedemaker Pfeiffer was enlisted to design this waterfront shelter nestled on Useless Bay, a bay near the southern end of Whidbey Island, Washington. Useless Bay was so named on account of frequent inclement weather. The community is situated on a 100-year old manmade spit, creating a separation between the open waters of Puget Sound and a freshwater wetland for wildlife. This was the site of an old family cabin passed through generations.

Two older structures on the property were replaced with one larger, more durable structure for family gatherings. Living in this community offers an amazing beachfront lifestyle, yet the area presents some significant challenges. The harbor is completely unsheltered from prevailing winds from the Southwest, while high waters from winter storms can flood homes with corrosive saltwater. FEMA regulations require that newly built homes in Useless Bay must meet the highest set of flood-resistance requirements.

Project Team: Architect: Hoedemaker Pfeiffer | Contractor: Heggenes Construction | Interior Design: PB Design | Landscape Contractor: Allworth Design | Windows & Doors: Kolbe: Classic Window Products

To address this problem, the structure was elevated on concrete piers to enable floodwaters to pass freely below the dwelling. This entailed sinking roughly 50 lengths of galvanized 8’ pipe up to 55 feet into the ground, and then pour concrete around those pipes to create reinforce pipe pilings. This style of foundation will create a strong anchor into the earth and ensures the structure will not settle or slump.

The family gathers often, in numbers from two to many, and the house needed to be able to handle all of them. Durability was also a driving factor. Materials and finishes were designed to stand up to heavy use. The central great room is flanked by a pair of fireplaces with the idea that the furniture can be moved seasonally to take advantage of light and views.

What We Love: This waterfront shelter provides an incredible design that is both durable and has a high level of flood-resistance. Warm and inviting living spaces adorned with comfortable furnishings have produced an amazing beachside lifestyle for family gatherings. 

Tell Us: What elements in the design of this home caught your eye and why in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other inspiring home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, Hoedemaker Pfeiffer: Beach house retreat with cozy farmhouse style on Whidbey Island and LEED Silver family retreat nestled on the shoreline of Vashon Island.

Above: The layout of this dwelling is in perfect symmetry, which includes identical bedrooms flanking the great room and kitchen on either side of the structure. Even the great room itself is symmetrical, with two fireplaces at opposing ends and a perfectly centered kitchen.

Above: Lightly whitewashed custom-milled spruce clads the walls, while polished concrete covers the floor.

Above: For the fireplaces, there are two in the great room on opposing ends, the concrete was custom poured by Seattle-based Dogpaw Design. Whidbey Island artisan, Randle Masonry, fabricated the iron components.

Above: Kitchen Appliances: La Cornue Range, Sub-Zero, Miele; Plumbing Fixtures: Waterworks; Tile Materials: Ann Sacks Tile & Stone — countertops and backsplash are marble.

A bench in a hallway can provide a moment of respite, encouraging new perspectives and rhythms within a home, even if it’s just a pause to look out a window or into another room.

Above: The deck is fabricated from Epay, an extremely dense hardwood from South America that can last up to 75 years.

Above: The exterior facade of this waterfront shelter is clad with reverse board and batten siding. Designed to withstand extremely harsh conditions, the project team selected Kolbe windows clad in aluminum. On the roof, downspouts and gutters are sold zinc, custom cut and rolled.

Photos: Andrew Giammarco

Gallery for Waterfront Shelter Has Amazing Beach-chic Lifestyle On Whidbey Island

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