Tucked against the wall of a natural cliff and right on the water’s edge in Gig Harbor, Washington, this project answered the unique challenges of its site. The footprint for the new structure replaces an old guest house and boathouse, and was limited in its size by an agreement through a regulatory process.

The design solution makes the roof of the new structure an extension of the upland lawn, with a glass-enclosed elevator providing access to the two levels below. To the south, an outdoor living space is set between the house and a new boathouse. Stairs lead down to the water and are incorporated into a series of decks, terraces, and bridges that create spaces for living and entertaining. This area also features a wood-burning pizza oven and an outdoor fireplace.

Inside, the main level has the feel of a boat’s cabin, with warm Douglas fir ceilings, walls, and trim. Large oversized windows and doors invite the outside in, and allow for a completely free flow during the warm months. The exterior materials were selected for their abilities to withstand this marine environment, including copper, concrete, metal window cladding, and cedar. Sustainable techniques such as sunscreens, a green roof, and complete envelope integrity are featured.

Northwest Design Awards, Outdoor Living, 1st Place, 2006
Featured in PMG’s Home and Garden, Winter 2005/2006

Scott Allen, Principal Designer (project executed during Scott’s tenure as a named Principal at Olson Sundberg Kunding Allen OSKA) Architects.

Interior furnishings by OSKA

Tim Bies photography.

Cliff House
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living and dining area, outdoor living room beyond. Tim Bies photo
“Wood” — slimsunshine
Cliff House green roof
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Green roof forms elevator entry. House is below along cliff face. Tim Bies photo
“keep the view for the public.” — lorrainecullen
Cliff House kitchen
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Open kitchen features copper and natural wood surfaces. Tim Bies photo.
“fir cabinets, copper hardware.” — gschmidt225
Cliff House outdoor living area
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Outdoor living space between main house and boathouse features water and fireplace. Tim Bies photo.
“Puente” — Victor D. Vargas
Cliff House at night from across the water
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Cliff House at night. Photo by Tim Bies
“right on the water” — lorrainecullen
Boathouse with doors open looking to main house
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Tim Bies photo
“Garage door style enclosure for covered back patio” — ninakriya
Cliff House living room
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Multi-functional spaces employing quality, natural materials and timeless design is a hallmark of Scott Allen Architecture. Tim Bies photo.
“Windows and outdoor sectioned off area” — Lilly Stojcevski Murabito
Cliff House bathroom
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Clean, simple lines and quality materials reflect the homeowners' desire for beautiful, low-maintenance living. Tim Bies photo.
“EVERYTHING!” — Drew Burge
Boathouse/family room
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The ultimate indoor/outdoor living experience. Tim Bies photo.
“Garage doors” — Architect
Cliff House outdoor entertaining area
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Outdoor entertaining area connects the main house to the boathouse. Tim Bies photo.
“The industrial tone and rustic appeal” — Drew Burge
Stunning, low-maintenance exterior
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The homeowner never wanted to paint again. Dream come true.
“Low maintenance exterior” — nellestyn
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