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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Henry Island Residence

San Juan Islands, Washington

A secluded family retreat in the San Juan Islands honors the natural beauty of its remote location.

The guesthouse looks out over both forest and meadow, honoring the natural beauty of the site. © Aaron Leitz
The garage and workshop is the first building seen on approach to the property. © Benjamin Benschneider
Uphill from the main residence, a small pavilion provides space for varied activities. © Aaron Leitz
Each new addition to the property marks a transition from forest to meadow.
A raised platform links living and bedroom pavilions at the main residence. © Nic Lehoux
Renovations to the main residence included updates to the kitchen, mudroom, and media room, restoration of exterior finishes, new furnishings, and a green roof. © Ben Benschneider
© Ben Benschneider
© Ben Benschneider
© Ben Benschneider
The guesthouse features a weathered steel wall offering privacy for each bedroom, while the central common area opens to meadow and forest. © Ben Benschneider
Inspired by the main residence’s covered breezeway, we conceived of the living room as a covered porch flanked by the bedrooms. © Ben Benschneider
© Aaron Leitz
© Benjamin Benschneider
A custom-designed window seat made of Douglas fir seamlessly integrates with the guesthouse architecture. © Aaron Leitz
A custom workbench and shelves are suspended on the window wall of the workshop, allowing uninterrupted views of the landscape. © Aaron Leitz
Slender steel columns support a roof of laminated wood beams that float over two solid boxes clad in Western red cedar. © Benjamin Benschneider
At the games pavilion, a raised boardwalk passes through a wall of weathered steel that shelters one edge of the platform.
The games pavilion overlooks the main residence and includes a hot tub. © Benjamin Benschneider
"Like the shifting waters of the Salish Sea, a Henry Island compound is guided by the rhythm of nature."
Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine

Project Information


3,000 square feet (main residence); 1,350 square feet (guesthouse)


2012; 2021


Residential Design Architecture Awards, Honor Award

Residential Architect Design Award

AIA Small Project Award

AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Merit Award


2023 Residential Architect Design Award Winners (Architect Magazine)

Henry Island Residence featured in Luxe Magazine

Henry Island Guesthouse Featured in Dezeen

Stay a While: Guesthouses (Western Art & Architecture)

Henry Island Guesthouse (Architect Magazine)

Henry Island Guesthouse Featured in Off the Grid: Houses for Escape Across North America

An Off-the-Grid Island Home for a Seattle Music Producer

Henry Island Residence is a year-round gathering place consisting of a main residence, guesthouse, workshop, and games pavilion. The original home on the property, completed in 2012 on a sloping meadow above a shallow bay, was designed to celebrate its pristine natural setting. A winding path leads from the island dock through dense forest, before curving toward the home. On arrival, visitors step onto a staggered boardwalk and into an open foyer overlooking the bay. Extending to each side, the boardwalk organizes a series of steel-framed pavilions and encourages direct engagement with the natural world as occupants move throughout the home.

When new owners took over the property, they engaged us to create new buildings for extended family stays and varied activities. While establishing their own distinct character and presence on the site, the guesthouse, workshop, and games pavilion relate to the architecture of the main residence, with elements like weathered steel, slender steel columns, exposed timber, and seamless indoor-outdoor movement.

The workshop, a low pavilion in the forest, is the first building seen on approach. A weathered steel wall conceals a hydraulic door that pivots upward to reveal the workspace and views of two giant maple trees. Its custom workbench and shelves are suspended along the window wall, allowing uninterrupted views. Two volumes clad in dark stained Western red cedar contain a lounge and office, as well as support and additional storage.

The guesthouse features two bedrooms and a central living area and kitchenette – where visitors can enjoy morning coffee or end the day with a glass of wine. The sloping site allowed us to anchor one end of the building in the earth and float the other above grade. Building on the strong indoor/outdoor connections inherent in the original home, we sought to blur those boundaries further in the guesthouse. The living area functions as an open breezeway flanked by the bedrooms, with large sliding glass panels that pocket into the walls and open the space completely to the outdoors.

At the edge of the forest overlooking the main residence, ‘the game shack’ is a hub for recreational activities. The platform’s eastern edge holds a custom hot tub, while a volume clad in red fiber cement panels, recalling those of the main residence, contains a changing room and cocktail bar.