Thursday, April 14, 2011

Novotny Cabin, Decatur Island, Washington

The principal architects of Miller/Hull are native Northwesterners, and their designs echo regional cues. “They view the region’s modest utilitarian structures – the lumber mills, fishnet-drying sheds and forest-fire watchtowers – with a modernist’s love of structural clarity, taut skins and industrial materials,” says Sheri Olson, an architect who also writes for the Seattle Times. The Novotny Cabin was built two decades ago and from some angles can seem a very 1990s version of a cabin, while from others it appears perfectly timeless. From the water its distinctive, peaked roof looks decidedly Salem, Mass., circa 1600, and as a result locals have nicknamed the house, “The Witch’s Hat.”

The 840-square-foot structure is located in the San Juan Islands on Decatur Island, and is shared by two couples who alternate their visits there. Decatur Northwest, the development where the house is located, is a collection of several dozen architectural gems, with no house exactly alike. The entire 600-acre community is also owned in common; you buy in as a member, and share all of the land, which has been preserved in its wild state. Landscaping is strictly verboten, save in a tiny perimeter around each home. As is the case with much of the San Juans there’s good hiking, fantastic kayaking, fishing, and even singletrack on Decatur, although to visit the part of the island where the architecture is as compelling as the nature you’ll need an invitation, as Decatur Northwest is strictly private. Via STEVE CASIMIRO, Adventure Journal


  1. It may be called the witch's hat, but there isn't anything remotely wicked about this place!

    Lovely outlines in the building, and beautiful use of windows to capture that incredible view, while still feeling cosy inside.

    Nice find! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. This Cabin is awesome! I use to see something like this in movies. Wow! this is so perfect as a rest house or even as a home. You wake up every day with the beautiful surrounding that comes right before your eyes. The fresh air and everything in nature. It's just so lovely, anyone would wish to have something like this.

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