Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Architecture Wednesday: Useless Bay

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.

 One Kind Design


uptonking said...

This is charming and the view certainly sells it. Nice tones throughout the house.

Deedles said...

Ooooh! I love this one's interior! It's so warm and welcoming. The outside, not so much. Let's see if I'm swimming against the tide again. I do like to see other people's opinions on these things. Bobulah, where ever do you find this stuff? Oh dear, that wasn't underlined in red! Is there really such a site? I need an aspirin.

Frank said...

I don't usually follow architecture, but the beach caught my attention. Here are some beach cottages that would be more my style. They're called dune shacks. Some are abandoned and some are actually for rent by lottery - if one can afford the price.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Love the idea of making it flood-proof. It should be mandatory in all constructions near the sea.
Also really like that it's 'maritime' without falling into Hobby Lobby hell. Love the open rooms and the colors used throughout the house. I'm sure it was not cheap.


Bob said...

It seems very "out of the way" and I like that.

I'm loving that you like it and now I am off to find a site called House Porn ....

I like the dune shacks for a short-term stay, but I'd need something a little larger to live in!

I love that main room. I'd live there.

the dogs' mother said...

Very nice. When I was in high
school and we had moved back
to the states we spent a lot
of time in the San Juan islands.
xoxo :-)

Moving with Mitchell said...

A beautiful place and they take in as much natural light and an incredible view as they possibly can. Amazingly, they found one of the few clear days with blue sky to take the photos.

Bob said...

It's pretty and the story behind the name is cool.

It's a total myth that it's always gray in the Northwest. Every single time I've ever been up there it's been sunny most of the time. They just don't want us to move there!!!

Treaders said...

It looks a bit like a barracks from the outside, but oh my, how beautiful is that interior!

Dave R said...

This one I like. I'm rather picky.

Bob said...

It does! I didn't see that!

Nothing wrong with picky.

Travel said...

I like it, I'd have to add some upper cabinets in the kitchen, but I like it

Agnes Goldberg-DeWoofs said...

My daughter and I are at the beach right now...nice and secluded, but it looks nothing like this home. I like the interior far more then the outside....looks like a huge garden shed.