Arrowleaf & Tinyleaf Cabins

Location: Winthrop, WA
Size: 1600 Square Feet
Status: Design Phase
Project Team: Jon Gentry AIA, Aimée O’Carroll ARB, Ben Kruse

Project Narrative

Located just outside Winthrop in eastern Washington, the site for these two cabins lies in the Methow Valley. Nestled in the foothills of the North Cascade mountains, the dramatic views from the site and opportunity for year round recreation drew our client to this region. A strong relationship to the site topography and varying climate was key to the design of both cabins.

Arrowleaf Cabin
The initial scope for the project was to design a two bedroom cabin which maximized the connection to the surrounding natural environment and outdoor living. This cabin would initially serve as a weekend retreat from the city, and later become a permanent home. Our client wanted to create an efficient floor plan for the house, with open interior/exterior living, bedrooms above, and garage below. It was important to use durable materials throughout the exterior of the cabin due to the extreme climate and fire hazard in the area. The upper levels of the cabin sit on a concrete plinth which forms the garage. Concrete is used to both ground the cabin and retain the natural slope of the site that the cabin sits in. Above, black corrugated metal sheets are used as an efficient and weather resistant siding material. A shed roof with large overhangs on all sides protects the cabin from the heavy winter snowload. A large cantilevered exterior deck opens out from the main level, vastly increasing the living space in the summer months. Views from the deck capture the surrounding mountain ranges and natural beauty of the site.

Tinyleaf Cabin
Our client wanted to build a smaller outpost for the site prior to the building the main Arrowleaf Cabin. This cabin will be used over the next few years before Arrowleaf is constructed. When Arrowleaf is complete, Tinyleaf will become an accessory structure. This creative approach allows the owner to establish use of the site much sooner.
The brief for Tinyleaf was to design a roughly 12’x20’ cabin, bermed into the hillside. The cabin would include a small kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, all designed to be as efficient as possible with multifunctional custom cabinetry. While much smaller than Arrowleaf, Tinyleaf has a similar approach to materiality and indoor/outdoor living. The south facade of the cabin has large glazed sliding doors which can be opened to the exterior inviting the landscape in. Manually operated corrugated shutters slide over the doors to protect the cabin when not in use. The flat roof holds the snow in winter for improved thermal mass and concrete exterior walls allow Tinyleaf to nestle into the natural topography of the site.