Architect Scott Allen designed the Cliff House in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Tucked against the wall of a natural cliff and right on the water’s edge in Gig Harbor, Washington, this project answered the unique challenges of its site. The footprint for the new structure replaces an old guest house and boathouse, and was limited in its size by an agreement through a regulatory process.
The design solution makes the roof of the new structure an extension of the upland lawn, with a glass-enclosed elevator providing access to the two levels below. To the south, an outdoor living space is set between the house and a new boathouse. Stairs lead down to the water and are incorporated into a series of decks, terraces, and bridges that create spaces for living and entertaining. This area also features a wood-burning pizza oven and an outdoor fireplace.
Inside, the main level has the feel of a boat’s cabin, with warm Douglas fir ceilings, walls, and trim. Large oversized windows and doors invite the outside in, and allow for a completely free flow during the warm months. The exterior materials were selected for their abilities to withstand this marine environment, including copper, concrete, metal window cladding, and cedar. Sustainable techniques such as sunscreens, a green roof, and complete envelope integrity are featured.
Design: Scott Allen, Principal Designer (project executed during Scott’s tenure as a named Principal at Olson Sundberg Kunding Allen OSKA) Architects.
Interior furnishings by OSKA
Photography by Tim Bies Photography