With a profound connection spanning more than 35 years to the Key Peninsula, a couple of Seattle locals approached mwworks to design a home on a neglected patch of land overlooking the water. They envisioned a quiet and secluded place for themselves, their foster dogs, and friends and family that resonated with the serene beauty of the landscape. Renowned for their work in the rural areas of Washington, mwworks rose to the occasion by fashioning a home so deeply immersed in its surroundings that it completely eludes notice unless deliberately sought out.
The surrounding mature Douglas Fir trees were considered as part of the architecture, with the layout and material palette formed around them.
The entry to the home is discreetly placed at the base of the meadow – the path to which navigates two towering Douglas Firs.
“Approaching from the country road, Longbranch is a home designed to be overlooked,” mwworks co-founder and director Steve Mongillo says. He’s not wrong; a gravel drive meanders through the forest, winding its way down into a meadow where, in the distance, a slope drops down toward the water, revealing a glimpse of a planted roof. One might initially mistake it for a natural continuation of the meadow, that is, until you arrive at the base, where the home unveils itself for the first time.
The entry to the home is punctuated by a pair of established Douglas Firs, orchestrating a gentle shift from the natural to the built environment. The minimal volumes, clad in rustic wood and off-form concrete, nestle into the sloping site like tree roots embedded in terrain. “The building emulates the shapes of the forest with clearings and columns and massive vertical elements clad in dark-stained cedar,” Steve says.
An airy living pavilion crafted from locally-sourced Douglas Fir and textured concrete floats over the landscape and extends toward the water.
The landscape is drawn into the interiors through glazed walls, blurring the boundary between inside and out.
A seamless indoor-outdoor design language underscores the interiors, with mwworks referencing the landscape through borrowed materials, framed views and sunlit openings. At sunset, as the sky on the water-facing side is painted in a warm orange glow, the colours filter through tree branches and spill into the living spaces. This beautiful light play captures what the project is all about; inviting nature’s beauty to become an integral part of the home’s living experience.