The Owl's Nest

LocationBellingham, WA
AwardsMerit Award, AIA Northwest Washington, 2023
HighlightsResidential Architecture, Residential Entertainment Pavilion, Cross-laminated Timber (CLT), View Properties, Salish Sea, Indoor/Outdoor Living

Perched above the Salish Sea, this stunning residential property is located at Clark’s Point, one of Bellingham’s most scenic neighborhoods. Created to both augment and complement the future main residence, the Owl’s Nest is an entertainment pavilion designed to celebrate its location.

The property is nestled in a surrounding land preserve—part of a private trust that significantly determined the project direction. Previous owners had begun to develop the site without regard to the conservation easement, leaving concrete infrastructure in their wake. These parameters ultimately became the catalyst for creative solutions that enhanced the project outcome and repaired the delicate site.

In advance of the design, RMC spent several months studying the site and how best to both preserve and embrace the natural environment. As a result of the previous demolition, a beautiful rock face became a focal point of the property and influenced siting by making it impossible to build on that incline without further damage to the land. Therefore, the relationship between the main house and the Owl’s Nest was crucial to optimizing views from each building, while giving them both plenty of breathing room.

The Owl’s Nest’s 800-sf interior space is separated from the surrounding patio by large glass doors, blurring the line between inside and out. A simple palette of subdued colors, cedar siding, exposed concrete, glass, and a smattering of stone and steel allow the magnificent scenery to be front and center. A decorative sliding gate secures the pavilion, when necessary, but can also be left open, forming an entry porch that complements the outdoor cooking area. Patios and walkways are defined by either intentional or random bluestone patterns respectively. A mono-sloping metal roof—chosen for its linear appearance and fire resistance—is accented by a cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glass form that covers the patio. This unobtrusive and inviting feature creates an additional connection to nature and exudes a warm glow in the evening, making the Owl’s Nest appear as a lantern from the main house location.

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