mwworks nestles a modern cabin into the lush, second growth forests of washington state. the design features a simple box with large, carved openings in both the roof and walls that selectively embrace the views and natural light. the project captures the essence of the modern cabin – small in size but much larger than its boundaries.


the retreat — the little house — is sited on a northern facing bluff overlooking hood canal. the project displays a dichotomy of object and landscape as the simple geometry is abstracted against the forest. the stark exterior of the house further contrasts the warm, bright interior. as it is intentionally restrained on this original footprint, early design discussions focused on creating a compact, modern structure that was simple and efficient to build.

mw works cabin washington
all images by andrew pogue



mwworks ultimately utilized the small footprint as an effective tool to govern the design process. focus was placed on the essentials and extras were edited out by both desire and necessity. 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. without 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. 

mw works cabin washingtonnorthern and western elevations open to the view



taut oxidized black cedar and blackened cement infill panels clad the exterior while lightly painted mdf panels and soft pine plywood warm and brighten the interior. on a sunny western corner of the house a large patio reaches out into the landscape and serves as a jumping off point to a system of trails which wander down to the water’s edge.

mw works cabin washington
a view to the canal and dabob bay beyond is framed by the entry porch from the access road

mw works cabin washingtonƒ
south and east elevations provide privacy from the access road

mw works cabin washingtona cantilevered canopy over the front porch marks the entry and frames views of the canal below

mw works cabin washingtonfloor to ceiling glazing in the main level pulls the viewer into the landscape

mw works cabin washingtonsimple detailing and hidden storage allows the small space to feel calm and uncluttered

mw works cabin washingtonmaterials and detailing differentiate kitchen and dining room

mw works cabin washingtonlarge skylights, bright wall panels and high ceilings combine to make this small space feel expansive

mw works cabin washington
skylights carve into the roof, bringing light and views of the stars over the shower

mw works cabin washingtona small deck off the entry porch catches the afternoon sun and provides an access point to the larger site