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Jim Olson’s Longbranch Cabin Transformed Over Six Decades

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Name
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Cabin At Longbranch
Photographer
Words

At only 18-years-old, American architect Jim Olson constructed a tiny bunkhouse in a Pierce County forest in Washington. In its 60 year existence, The ‘Cabin At Longbranch’ has seen multiple renovations and extensions, the latest of which sees the home blend into the woods.

Nestled in and around the fir trees of the forest, the house’s brown color palette helps it to camouflage into its environment. To amplify the connection between home and nature, both the house and decking were built around multiple towering tree trunks; which enables living quite literally among the trees—the largest of which exits through an opened roof in the centre of the home. A domed skylight was installed in the bedroom and large glass windows line a majority of walls, offering views of the picturesque terrain above and outside, respectively. The interior is made of recycled materials including plywood walls, and a majority of furnishings have earthy, muted tones that complement each other. “Each successive addition and remodel [of the house] has reused and integrated the previous structure”, explains Olson’s firm, “to reveal the cabin’s architectural history rather than erasing it”. What was once a small hangout for university student friends, is now a comfortable and quiet place for work and for the 78-year-old to visit with his grandchildren. Olson’s ongoing modifications to the site serves as a gracious reminder that humanity’s relationship to the natural world is constantly evolving.

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All images © Olson Kundig