Wild at Heart

Bringing the landscape home on San Juan Island
Jil Peters

While Bill and Karin Agosta may be Manhattan transplants, they're not your average urbanites. Before building on their forest-edged meadow on San Juan Island, Washington, the couple camped on it several times. And despite a Thanksgiving when their drinking water froze-and "all we could do was huddle in our sleeping bags with every stitch of clothing on," laughs Karin-they fell in love with the physical beauty of the island and its active, nature-oriented lifestyle. Shortly after they bought the land, the couple turned over 10 acres to the San Juan Preservation Trust, ensuring that a portion of their property would be kept forever wild.

The Agostas, who are passionate about environmental conservation, wanted a home that would celebrate its sublime natural setting. With its distinctive angled profile and wide glass walls, the 2,750-square-foot house-designed by Patkau Architects, a Northwest firm known for environmentally sensitive building-does just that.