Down a country road, this modern home dubbed “Longbranch,” slowly emerges from the landscape. Nestled among towering firs and perched on a dramatic bluff, the home’s simple structures and living roof are less an object in the scenery than an amplifier of the natural beauty surrounding it.

But the homesite hadn’t always been so adulatory to the environment. “When the homeowners approached us about this site, it had been chopped up with a typical suburban home, tennis court, and landscaping at odds with the locale,” said mwworks Project Manager Bradley Kinsey, Jr. “They wanted to rehabilitate the property and design a contemporary structure like those we are known for.”

With the foundational goal of restoring the property, the tennis court was decommissioned and regraded back to a natural meadow. Some grading work from the prior home was used as a jumping-off point to minimize disruption.

Working with esteemed contractor Sparrow Woodworks, mwworks envisioned a home comprised of smaller structures and strategic open spaces that wouldn’t read as a looming monolith of human construction on the site. But that kind of simplicity is a study in planning and precision. “Modern architecture is the illusion of simplicity because the technical engineering on the back side is anything but simple,” said Mike Stuntz of Sparrow Woodworks.

The exterior materializes and dissolves within a visible timber skeleton. “It feels light within the landscape and gives a fluidity between the interior and exterior,” said Kinsey. “But it still had to be strong enough to support the weight of the green roof. Steel was integrated into the roof, and Sparrow executed the tricky engineering flawlessly.”

Melding with the surrounding environment, the exterior is Western red cedar milled in Port Orchard. The concrete was poured on-site. Working with a dryer mix produced a more artful and organic character. The visible aggregate suggests a perception of warmth and lived maturity. The same can be said for the pre-weathered Yellow Balau decking from Architectural Woods, Inc.

Inside, the poured concrete floors appear to float over the wooden substrate. “Around the perimeter, there are moments where the concrete ends and the timber decking is exposed,” Kinsey says. “This loose organic feeling took some structural gymnastics to produce.”

However, these kinds of details were expected in this project. “There is an obsessive amount of detail work in this home,” said Stuntz. “The homeowners were interested in high utility while balancing an artisanal approach to individual elements.”

This approach is most apparent in the kitchen. “We were thinking of the kitchen like pieces of furniture – more like hand-built elements placed there, rather than a solid mass of static, coordinated built-ins,” said Kinsey. There is a mix of wood and painted panels. This approach created interesting opportunities to explore storage. “One part of the kitchen I really like is what appears to be a wooden cabinet to the right of the fridge that’s actually a door to a pantry. Sparrow integrates these little moments well, and they’re tricky details to pull off.”

The home includes a separate guest suite, two bedrooms, a main bath, and a powder room. There is also a utility mudroom entryway for daily use with durable surfaces for the dogs. “We put in a Dutch door back there – something you wouldn’t normally see in such a contemporary design,” said Kinsey. “That’s one of many touches that give warm livability to the modern structure.”

“Seeing this home be put together so well is extremely rewarding,” Kinsey said. “It was a close and collaborative relationship between us, the homeowner, and Sparrow. The homeowner trusted our approach and instincts while also being very involved in the process the whole way through. The result – everything we accomplished in a technical build like this is very satisfying. Knowing the client loves this house so much, and their joy in this space, is a great feeling.”



Sparrow Woodworks

Blacklotus Landscaping LLC