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Little House by mwworks, a minimalist retreat overlooking Hood Canal in Washington state's Olymp


The Little House is nestled into a lush second growth forest on a north facing bluff overlooking Hood Canal with distant views to Dabob Bay. Designed to repurpose an existing foundation, the new building is just over 20 ft square. The simple form is abstracted against the forest - a stark exterior contrasting a warm bright interior.

Designed by mwworks

Photographed by Andrew Pogue

The owners live full time in Houston, Texas but have shared many summers with family at a nearby property outside Seabeck. They loved the wildness of the southern Canal and imagined a small retreat here of their own. Early design discussions focused on creating a compact, modern structure that was both simple and inexpensive to build. Intentionally restrained on an existing footprint, the concept grew from this premise – a simple box with large carved openings in both the roof and walls that selectively embrace the views and natural light.

Visitors approach the site from the south. A thin canopy marks the entry and frames views of the Canal below. The more transparent north and west elevations pull the landscape and distant view into the space. With primary views toward the water, the south and east elevations remain mostly solid, shielding views from the driveway and neighboring properties. Skylights carve into the roof, bringing light and views of the stars over the bed and into the shower.