I’m guessing by the name of this location, when you get there, you just do nothing, and if that means living in this little house by the water, I’m fine with useless.
This home sits on the aforementioned Useless Bay at the southern end of Whidbey Island, Washington; the bay got its name due to frequent inclement weather. The area where the house is sited in on a 100-year old manmade spit that creates a separation between the open waters of Puget Sound and a freshwater wetland for wildlife.
This was the site of an old family cabin passed through generations, and when it because useless—see what I did there—the two older structures were replaced with one larger, more durable structure for family gatherings.
Pretty, yes, but living here, or even just visiting on vacation, presents some significant challenges. The harbor is completely unsheltered from prevailing winds from the Southwest, while high waters from winter storms can flood homes with corrosive saltwater. All that means is that FEMA requires newly built homes in Useless Bay to meet the highest set of flood-resistance requirements.
So this home was elevated on concrete piers that enable floodwaters to pass below the dwelling. Not a minor undertaking as it required sinking roughly 50 lengths of galvanized 8’ pipe up to 55 feet into the ground, and then pour concrete around those pipes to create reinforce pipe pilings. This style of foundation will create a strong anchor into the earth and ensures the structure will not settle or slump.
But this is a home for a family, and an extended family, so it’s a house designed to handle them all. The central great room is flanked by a pair of fireplaces with the idea that the furniture can be moved seasonally to take advantage of light and views.
The kitchen is set to one side of the great room, facing the expansive glass and the views beyond, while identical bedrooms are located at either end of the home.
It doesn’t sound useless at all.