Paulk Residence

Seabeck, Washington

Perched on a 200-foot bluff on the east side of the Hood Canal in Washington, the property slopes both up to the bluff and down to the north. The land is wooded with a second growth cedar thicket in the center, tapering to young red alder with salal and evergreen huckleberry at the margins of the bluff. The Olympic Mountains fill the views to the west and northwest.

The owners desired a residence and garage/shop/guest house that responded to the views while still complying with mandatory 80-foot setbacks from the edge of the bluff.

In order to provide the owners with views, the building touches the ground at the garage on the south end and then proceeds north at the garage elevation with the ground falling away beneath it. At the extreme north end the building is 15 feet off the ground. The guest entrance is accessed by a ramp that rises from the east, passes through the building and ends at a “belvedere” on the west edge of the bluff. The intent of this ramp is not only to access the building but also to have people intimately experience the forest. The construction process was designed to create minimal disturbance of the land. The fabrication of the building is intended to expose the nature of the materials, their assembly and their role in making the shelter. The form and the “ornament” flashings are a direct response to views, sun, wind and rain.


– AIA Honor Award, 1994
– AIA Merit Award, 1995
– Citation, AIA/Sunset Magazine Western Home
Awards, 1995
– Award of Excellence, AIA Western Red Cedar
Association, 1994