Reunion ranch

J. K. Lawrence The bunkhouse beckons at dusk. Barn doors slide open to turn the main gathering area into a porch.
A getaway as a kind of camp ― ideas for living in touch with nature

When former New Yorkers Peter and Betsy came back from a vacation, they had a great idea for a Northwest retreat: Make it part camp, part ranch.

"They had this picture of a gathering place where people could come together as a group to sit, relax, and cook," says architect Joe Greene.

"It reminded me of the classic cookhouse you'd find on a working ranch."

That image ― paired with Peter and Betsy's fond memories of the summer camp their children attended on Washington's San Juan Islands ― inspired Joe and wife Nancy, a designer, to create a compound for Peter and Betsy on property in the San Juans.

To describe it in ranch terms, a reconstructed barn is the bunkhouse, an industrial shed serves as a cookhouse for eating and gathering, and a nearby sauna acts as a bathhouse and anchors a mini-campground for visiting family and friends.

This arrangement makes it possible for the family to enjoy privacy, togetherness, and a connection to the outdoors.

Design: Greene Partners Architecture and Design, San Juan Islands, WA (360/468-3655); Johnny Nopson, Upright Construction, San Juan Islands (360/468-3564).

More:  See a little cabin that lives big

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