Doe Bay Cabin

Heliotrope Architects
Firm Contact: 
Joseph Herrin
(206) 784.6355

Our clients for this project have been traveling regularly to Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island for over two decades. Now with two young children they have formalized their affection for the place by purchasing a small property located a short walk from the resort. We were challenged to design a cabin - modest in size and cost - that captures the spirit of this place while reflecting the Japanese and Chinese heritage of the owners.

The site is small, only 60ft x 120ft, with homes in close proximity to the west and north. Expansive views are south, directly down Rosario Strait, with a forest to the east providing a more intimate experience. The cabin is organized with primary living spaces focused on the water to the south. Sleeping area are oriented east, maximizing forest views and privacy from neighbors to the west.

Primary strategies for meeting economic goals were twofold: to minimize the scope of the project and to limit necessary on-site labor. We minimized scope by utilizing a flexible, open loft layout and by incorporating a single bath, with separated bathing and water-closet functions, rather than two separate baths. We minimized labor and material costs with a simple building form optimized for prefabricated construction. The main envelope is composed of structural insulated panels (SIPS) fabricated off-island.

The expression of the cabin is intended to honestly convey the means of construction and to otherwise remain a background to the landscape and view.


Good design makes a difference

American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects