Small, versatile, and sustainable with strong indoor-outdoor ties. These were the goals Tom Lenchek, AIA, had in mind for his own vacation home in the Cascade Mountains. The lone bathroom in this 1,400-square-foot cabin is a microcosm of those ambitions. “Having this be the only bath in the house was a decision we struggled with because we often have guests,” says Lenchek, principal of Seattle-based Balance Associates. “But breaking out of our regular living patterns was an important concept for the entire house.” And he made sure this singular sensation suited a variety of needs with its open shower, soaking tub, double vanity, and sauna for two.
Outside the glass double doors is an additional rudimentary bathing area—just a showerhead and utility sink enclosed within a courtyard. Its walls of board-formed, cast-in-place concrete were left rough for a textural, low-maintenance finish. The same material makes up the walls of the indoor shower, and concrete flooring warmed by radiant heat stretches inside and out. A 10-inch-thick hunk of ponderosa pine cut from a standing dead tree forms the 6-foot-long-by-2-foot-deep vanity. There was even enough left over to make a step for the bathtub and several pieces of furniture for the house. Pine boards for the exterior cladding were also reclaimed, from a water flume in a nearby valley. “Location-driven materials make sense both for sustainability and vernacular reasons,” Lenchek says.
architect: Balance Associates, Seattle
general contractor: Rhinehart Construction, Winthrop, Wash.
concrete fabricator: Brandenburg Construction, Winthrop
resources: plumbing fittings: Americh, Kohler, and Toto; plumbing fixtures: Chicago Faucets and Grohe