In 1912, Jim Olson’s grandparents built a summer cottage on a forested site on Puget Sound. Olson spent summers and many weekends there as a child. When he was eighteen years old and a first-year architecture student, his dad gave him five hundred dollars and said, “Go build a bunkhouse.” This was Olson’s first great opportunity. Nestled amidst the trees of this waterside forest and raised on stilts, this tiny cabin sat respectfully on the landscape. When his grandparents’ cottage was destroyed by fire in the 1960s, the bunkhouse was left as the sole structure on the property.
What began as a 200-square-foot bunkhouse in 1959 has seen the addition of several interconnected rooms through a series of remodels in 1981, 1997, 2003 and 2014. Each successive expansion and remodel has reused and integrated the previous structure rather than erasing it, revealing the history of the architecture and the process of its evolution.