Tucked into the woods on a 10-acre Garry Oak preserve in Friday Harbor, this three-story home makes the most of its rugged location and scenery. The home is surrounded by old-growth trees on Cady Mountain, one of the highest points on San Juan Island. On a clear day, the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains are visible. 

Before building this house, the owner, whose parents bought the property in the 70s, lived on a boat for 20 years. Throughout the house are nods to this nautical life, such as red (port) and green (starboard) navigation lights on either side of the front entryway. Much like life on a boat, the home makes use of small, intentional spaces.    

The home’s design was inspired by the tower houses of Bhutan, where the third floor is often a covered outdoor living area. Here, the roof deck is accessed by a playful spiral staircase off the master bedroom, and a hole in the roof allows for ventilation of the crow’s nest fire pit.  

Inside, the simple galley kitchen features laminate cabinets, raw concrete floors, and Richlite countertops. In the living room are a wood stove and precision-crafted cabinets. A trick bookshelf door under the staircase maximizes storage space while adding another playful touch.    

Design: Habitat Designs LLC, Jonathan Hu, Principle 

Ravenhill Construction: Foreman Credence Ross, Lead Carpenter Mike Murphy 

Cabinet Design and Build: Joe Cooper and Arvid Lindstrum of the Ravenhill Cabinet Shop 

Photography: Jake Knapp of C9 Photography