White River House

Farnsworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe was one of my first tastes of modernism, and it caught me hook, line and sinker. How I picture the house when I talk of it is never a standalone building, it sits within and contrasts a beautiful and lush natural environment. So when I saw this home designed by Robert Hutchinson in Washington, I was instantly reminded of the beautiful simplicity of Farnsworth.

The home is located on the banks of the White River in Greenwater, Washington, surrounded by forest and appropriately clad in blackened Western Red Cedar. Originally designed as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in the city, the home has been designed to focus on the natural. From large windows for vistas and lighting, to a continual use of wood throughout and high ceilings to make the interior feel open and fresh.

Yes, of course it gets better. Back outside at the entrance, an external ‘mud room’ half wall courtyard has been created. Its’ purpose is twofold; one being a transitional space between indoors and outdoors, the other (the cooler one) is to keep the local elk herds away from the glass doors to the home. Yep, elk herds.

To the rear of the home we find an epic covered of outdoor entertaining space complete with a fireplace for winter nights.

This playful consideration of ‘how can we make an intimate, private space while capitalising on the priceless views and location?’ has seriously paid off. Even inside, the home feels open and natural while maintaining a high level of intimacy through clever uses of materials and layout decisions.