One of the most remarkable things about the beautiful Northwest is how the people intermingle with it. My novel REDEMPTION COVE attempts to capture the quirkiness of this in things like airlock entrances for shaking off the snow, and in particular the uniqueness of some of the buildings.
At some places in the world I've seen, the people seem extrusions of the land, for instance the Pueblo people around Mesa Verde near the Four Corners. In the Northwest I frequently experience people interacting with it in spectacular ways, not least in the case of the wonderful San Juan Islands house I'm spotlighting today.
I met the owner, who I'll Just call Gene to protect his privacy, in the context of one of most intrusive devices known to man; a small bulldozer.He was sealing the bottom of a pond being built on the mountain property of a dear friend. It was obvious that although it pained him to tear open the earth, he was an artist at it, as Gene is an artist at many things.
He was molding the earth around the bones of the mountain, building a place of beauty where wood ducks would breed and the water would give life to a terraced garden. He was adding to the land, not taking away from it.
When I saw his house I was blown away. It started from the drawing at the top left of his dream house, and he had made it reality. First it is huge and constructed around a central pillar; the trunk of an enormous Douglas fir. You can see the strength of it where all the beams join. It molds to the side of a hill as if a metamorphosis of it.
An ingenious and attractive bridge connects a rear entrance to a hillside. Inside the wood surfaces are lustrous, and there are clean square areas where comfortable living requires that, but no area is less than spectacular. The tasteful art adds, not detracts. But Gene is a genius with steel as well, both engineeringly and artistically. The house intertwines with an ingenious ducting system that carries warmth to from a small wood furnace to every fascinating corner, though the glass and solar clad massive west wall keeps the house comfortable in all but the coldest times. One of the photos is of the work he does with heat and steel plating. Quite beautiful. You can see the effect on the stove as well.
To say there are many northwest homes like this would be false. But there are many cases of enormously artistic people interacting with the Northwest environment to create a rugged and aweing magnificence.
Thanks to Gene for the kind tour, and thank you all for letting me share.