Tree House


Burien, WA

Project Type



DeForest Architects

Kitchen Cabinets

Kerf Design


3900 SQ FT


Finishes, Fixtures, Furniture & Decoration

General Contractor

Toth Construction

Fine Art

Winston Wächter

Photography — Haris Kenjar

Located on a dramatic one-acre wooded site at the top of a bluff overlooking Puget Sound, this tranquil and surprising custom home was designed by DeForest Architects as a young family’s primary residence. The clients, a graphic designer and a fine artist, requested a vibrant home so connected to the trees and the hillside that it would feel like a virtual walk in the woods. The resulting building connects directly to the site and meanders in a way that echoes the surrounding topography.

OreStudios was asked to select finishes and fixtures to support the clients’ specific and artistic vision for detailing the house. Furnishings and decoration were also selected to correspond to the architectural detailing. Large fields of end grain hemlock, white painted trim and walls, and ebonized fir windows are graphic but calm repeating elements. Elsewhere, walnut cabinets, concrete tiles, and ceramic tile set into custom layouts appear as special accents. Primary red and blue are important leitmotifs that appear throughout the spaces and connect new and vintage furnishings to the clients’ existing collections.

Concrete slab meets end grain hemlock in the entry, while a red lacquered bench hints at the strong color employed in other rooms.

The living room appears to be suspended in the woods, with three sides of floor-to-ceiling glass.

Sliding doors recess completely into adjacent walls, allowing the dining room to open directly onto Puget Sound.

A dramatic deep-red powder bath echoes the adjacent steel stair.

Strong color is used with care in order to avoid overpowering the views from each room.

Graphic elements appear throughout the house and provide both levity and beauty to the project.