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All-Natural Timber Home in Washington State

A couple builds their dream home surrounded by Washington State’s breathtaking wilderness.

Natural materials, such as local glacial stone, standing-dead Douglas fir beams and cedar shakes create an all-natural feel on the home's exterior.

With peek-a-boo views of the Cascade Mountains, mature evergreen trees, and the picturesque Sultan River running through the land, Russ and Jessica Peterson instantly knew they had found the perfect place to build their dream home.

To move toward that dream, the couple purchased 220 forested acres in Snohomish County, Washington, which border a Department of Natural Resources state forest. The land had been parceled into eleven 20-acre plots, and they reserved one serene lot for themselves. “We love being surrounded by nature, having both grown up in rural areas,” says Jessica, who is originally from Indiana. (Russ is a native of Washington State.) The couple loves to hike and mountain bike, and this landscape would afford them these opportunities just outside their front door.

Before designing their future home, Jessica pored over magazines looking for a style that she felt would suit the wooded landscape. It was during that search that she first came across a rustic timber-frame house. “I loved the concept,” she notes. “The exposed timbers create a real, instant connection to nature.” Once the Petersons had their wish list and design on paper, the building took shape.

They hired Okanagan Timber Frame Co. of Canada to supply and engineer all the timber for the home and Rick Stockmann of Specialty Built Construction to build the house. Russ and Jessica also got involved in the building process themselves, harvesting glacial stone from their property to use for the fireplaces and patio borders. The site was laden with stones of varying sizes and colors.

Russ and Jessica scrubbed the stones by hand and worked with the mason to place them. Russ chose a perfect heart shaped stone for the front door entry pillar. “I also helped peg the timbers,” he notes. “It was a real hands-on experience.” The couple also made sure to incorporate several outdoor spaces into the design where they could sit and enjoy the beautiful woodlands. “We wanted shady places as well as sunny spots to read or entertain,” says Jessica.

To accomplish this, the team created a covered outdoor patio with exposed Douglas fir king post scissor trusses and a massive stone fireplace — the perfect spot to sit and unwind. The outdoor sitting area and the interior dining table also are perfectly aligned so guests can enjoy the fire while dining. “We couldn’t be happier in this spot,” notes Jessica and Russ, who have adopted two children since building their dream timber home.

They hope to continue to build a network of bike trails throughout the land and a suspension bridge over the river one day as well as sell the existing lots to others who want to embrace the area’s natural wilderness. But for now, they are content to sit on their patio and enjoy their home tucked into the great outdoors.

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