Our dream retreat on Obstruction Island had been purchased by my son, James. A perfect solution as it was so easy and is staying in the family. Jeffrey and I are living in a small one-story ranch house, on a cul-de sac 3 blocks from the hospital, with a view of Mt Baker and the harbor in nearby Anacortes, on the mainland.
This was a move designated by health issues and age. The physical demands of our paradise needed younger owners.
Many of you have visited us on the island and know what a magical place it is. It has been a wonderful 30 years that we wouldn’t trade for any other but the time has come to let someone else take up the dream.
This page is to share our island retreat with you, you artists and creative people who visit my site.
Our tenure started with four acres of wilderness on a small island less than a mile from Orcas in 1989. After two summers of camping we built a very a small cabin with a loft, no inside running water or electricity but warm and dry. That was so wonderful, plans were adjusted and Jeffrey and I moved to Obstruction full time, working with the property to build our home.
The 220 acre island was platted in the 1960’s with 48 lots, 2-5 acres, all with waterfront (we have 386′). The properties stretch from the water to the center. Utilities, – water, power, phone lines- are buried along the back of the properties. This easement has become a de facto road that circles about 70 wilderness acres that is shared. Walking trails crisscross the mossy floor.
The island community maintains the center area, three island docks, 9 buoys and the water supply of two wells plus a desalinization plant.
Our property has evolved over the years as we defined our needs. That original cabin was joined by a main house, a separate bath house forming a court or compound.
As you walk down from the center on a circular drive, you first pass the shop.
Every board of the shop was milled on the property from tight-grained Obstruction Island fir, cedar and maple.There are two large exterior bays, one where we keep the Gator and one large enough to build a boat.
Inside is a well-lit beautifully appointed work area with two small storage rooms above. All is heated safely with the even efficiency of a heat pump (HVAC).
You then come into a central area with the main house, studio and bath house separated but close to each other. The view of the water and the next level is between the buildings to the right. There is a deck on the SW side facing the water.
The studio is wrapped around the original cabin which is the peaked roof on the right. The clerestory brings a beautiful light into the work area. A built in cherry desk is in the area past the sliding doors. A deck is off the back.
The bathhouse completes the circle with a connecting deck to the hot tub.
We added a garden shed and wood shed, a catchment water system as a back up to the island water and have an enclosed flower garden with a bench in view of the kitchen.
Below the buildings is a second level. There is a fire pit below the main house. Below the studio is a climbing tower attached to a bent cedar;
beyond it a small pond for the wildlife. The first year we noticed there was different vegetation in the lower hollow suggesting water. When the excavator was here to put in the septic system he also dug in this area and that is our wildlife pond.
Directly across from the house is the point. During the years of camping we notice that where ever people wandered when they gathered, it was on the flat rock where the house now sits.
In the same way, when people came to the point they became quiet, they sat, breathed deeper, lingered. Rather than build there we made it a place to sit, to relax, to appreciate these amazing islands.
Friends from the other side of the island like to gather for the sunsets.
Below this layer, a trail winds down to the waterfront, with a swinging chair at another level spot on the way down.
There is water and electricity installed down to the shore, with lights on the trail (needing some repair), a rocky shale beach on the shore.
The beach is rocky but delightful at low tide (above the tide is at +6′. It will go as low as -3′).
We had a dingy dock for about 15 years but a SW storm took it out. There is a buoy in front of the property and enough area to pull up a dingy.
North side of the shoreline,high tide, ending about where the sailboat’s mast is. The buoy comes with the property.
To the right is the south side of 385′ of shoreline.
Returning to the buildings, let’s start with the main house.
The main building started as a cabin with a loft, with cathedral ceilings and an open floor plan.
The kitchen catches the morning light and a view of the flower garden and interior forest. There is a wood burning stove to the left and a heat pump on the right wall.
The living room with its lower ceiling is a warm and welcoming space. A view to the pond is out the window.
View tothe lower level from the dining area.
A view from the loft of a typical summer’s day.
The loft can be used as a dressing area, guest sleeping or an office.
The deck off the house is built to maximize the sweep of the view from Lopez, across Shaw, the hills of Orcas beyond East Sound and Obstruction Pass Park.
In 2003 a two-story addition was built. This is the music and media room.
It includes a full pantry with a freezer built in. Makes shopping for island living easy.
“The tower” captures the light from sunrise through much of the afternoon. A deep closet runs under the stairs. The TV is built into the wall.
The master bedroom is a quiet space with a balcony and a view of the water. There is a full closet wall.
Back out and to the bathhouse.
The bathhouse is a quiet retreat with sky lights.
There is an open shower with a slight slant to the floor and a drain.
And in this corner ….
Lots of built-in storage. The lower cupboard here has two large hampers and a shelf. The upper one more shelves. The water heater is in the closet going into the laundry room.
Laundry with space to fold, + the ironing board permanently installed.
And the studio..
The small attached building on the right is the catchment water system that Jeffrey installed as a backup to the Island water.
The original cabin is 8′ x 12′ with a loft. I use it now as an office with guests occasionally using the loft.
An old photo… an old Mac but still my inner sanctum.
The exterior sliding glass doors open into a second office or work area with built in desk and storage plus good viewing of paintings underway.
Two guest beds wrap the back of the original cabin. The work area is, as far as I am concerned, ideal. It includes excellent storage.
The window over the bed looks out on lush trees.
Here is a little video of the yard.
A morning walk starts up to the circling road…
On the road between the property and the west dock…
Walking through the center….
You might run into another family of island residents…
Or go sailing off the north dock … or kayaking… or crabbing…
See a sunrise as you cross to Orcas, with fog lying in Rosario Straits.
Or wander out to the point for a sunset…