Buoy Bay A – Frame, Orcas Island property, Washington real estate images, USA residential design

Buoy Bay A – Frame, Washington

31 May 2024

Design: Heliotrope Architects

Location: Orcas Island, Washington, USA

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington property

Photos by Sean Airhart

Buoy Bay A – Frame, Orcas Island , Washington

Boat trips to the San Juan Islands were the highlight of Heliotrope principal Joe Herrin’s summers as a child. Through these trips he developed a love of boating and a deep connection to the San Juans-one that eventually led he and his wife Belinda to purchase a modest beach cabin on Orcas Island, months after the birth of their first daughter.

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington

The site is part of a SE facing36-acrewaterfront parcel held in common with eight other families. It is situated immediately adjacent to a seasonal stream and wetland to the south, with an alder and fir forest behind (to the west) and a neighbour (who they found out later is a distant relative) to the north.

The cabin structure is a modest late-60’sera kit A-frame, built by the previous property owner on a shoestring. Over the course of their ownership Joe and Belinda have chipped away at renovations as funds allowed–starting with the installation of a foundation, rebuilding the deck and installation of insulated replacement windows (and insulation in general).

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington property

Later they cut-in a big skylight and insulated the roof. Last year, nearing 20 years of ownership, they completed the renovation by addressing the kitchen and bath and creating a small addition off the back, which provided a much-needed entry and a comfortable shower.

Solar panels were also installed to zero-out energy use. Their interventions have consistently focused on maximizing daylight, comfort, warmth, and functionality utilizing an economy of means.

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington

Modest in scale, the cabin nevertheless regularly hosts multiple families comfortably by filling the loft and utilizing the tent platform out back. It functions as a social hub, hosting friends and family who return annually for summer weekends, and acts as a basecamp from which the family cycles, paddles, hikes, and cruises throughout the islands and north into British Columbia.

Finishes are modest: reclaimed pine floors, birch-ply cabinetry with laminate countertop, original exposed fir structure finished with wood bleach and beams painted to cover an original coffee-brown stain. Outside, siding consists of stained T1-11 plywood, and the addition is clad in stained cedar milled on the island. There is a small garden on the south side providing summer salad ingredients, and a small shed behind for tools and toys.

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington

Buoy Bay A – Frame, Orcas Island, Washington, USA – Property Information

Architecture Firm: Heliotrope Architects – https://heliotropearchitects.com/studio

Architecture: Joe Herrin, Principal at Heliotrope Architects
Builder (addition): Ryan Rancourt
Cabinetry: Bill Post

Buoy Bay A - Frame, Orcas Island, Washington property

Photography: Sean Airhart

Buoy Bay A – Frame, Orcas Island, Washington images / information received 310523 from Heliotrope Architects

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