On Puget Sound, activist and filmmaker Anna Hoover collaborated with Les Eerkes, a principal at Olson Kundig Architects, on a 693-square-foot studio in the woods. Using freecycled materials and a six-footed foundation to rein in construction costs, Hoover and Eerkes created a distinctive structure that treads lightly on the land.
Grunge band producer Adam Kasper and his family live in this off-the-grid home on a small island northwest of Seattle. Designed by Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the 3,000-square-foot house “incorporates the natural world by allowing one to experience the temperature, sights, and smells of the island as you travel through the house,” Kasper says.
About 200 miles northwest of Chicago, in the quiet farming village of Black Earth, Wisconsin, Bill Weber lives in a highly contemporary, 1,200-square-foot home with soaring interior space and finely turned materials. It was designed and built by his son and daughter-in-law for only $180,000.
In the remote San Juan Islands, artist Richard Brothers and architect Michelle Linden collaborated on a modern residence that blends in with its natural surroundings. "It is a site-specific, life-size sculpture," Linden says.
On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a writer, with the help of his daughter, built this small but mighty green getaway. Four solar panels collect a surplus of energy, while water is collected through a rain catchment system.
Karen Kiest’s plot of land on Marrowstone Island, Washington, came with a surfeit of scenery—it overlooks Puget Sound—but suffered from a dearth of buildable space. To solve the spatial constraints, she selected the Element 1 model from Method Homes, a 800-square-foot prefab designed by architect Chris Pardo that fits neatly into the plot.
In North Haven, a rocky island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay, Bobbie Callahan and Ed Hayes's house is a modern update on the regional vernacular. Though it may not strictly adhere to the local aesthetic, the house takes its cues from a humble and prevalent form of New England architecture: the boat barn.