Luxury Real Estate: The Pierre Melds With Nature

As we move into the realm of embracing natural elements as well as technology into architectural design, locations for both residential and commercial buildings become more unique and adventurous. The Pierre, a private luxury residence built in 2010, is cushioned securely between a stone outcropping and elegantly merges the modern with its environment.


The 2,500 square foot home on San Juan Island in Washington State both visually and physically dissolves into its surroundings. Aptly named for the French word for ‘stone’, The Pierre embodies rough materials, a green roof and embraces its rugged, verdant Pacific Northwest landscape.

Designed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, the home was inspired by the owner’s affection for an imposing rock ledge on her property that overlooked the water. Portions of the stone were excavated both by machine and by hand to establish a ‘foundation’ for the distinct home, setting it between the massive boulders. The quarried, crushed rock was then used throughout the home in the concrete flooring. Boulders were also incorporated as elements within the home, including a massive rock wall in the carport while the foyer and powder room are carved completely from the existing stone. The one-story home has an open plan kitchen, living and dining space. Natural elements throughout offers juxtaposition to the sophisticated furnishings.

At a right angle to the home’s living spaces, the master suite piece de resistance is a custom bed placed in the center of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. In the master bath, the sink involves water flowing through three sparkling pools in the prevailing stone. Set just off the living area, a powder room is carved completely out of the rock that embraces the home. With a continual focus on connecting the interior with the environment, an oversized, swiveling steel and glass door opens to an outdoor terrace. Both interior and exterior fireplace hearths were cut from the enormous stone outcropping.

In 2014, The Pierre received the AIA Institute Honor Awards in Architecture for its exquisitely crafted, medieval-modern style as well as its apposition of man-made and natural forms.

The Pierre combines refuge and expansiveness, with one side being battened down into boulders while the other overlooking the Salish Sea. Set between Vancouver Island and the Washington ‘mainland’, the home located on the San Juan Island archipelago is accessible primarily by ferry.

If you are looking for a place that offers a relaxing respite from the Silicon Valley, the San Juan Islands offer a ‘mellow islands vibe, a temperate year-round climate, and long, lazy hours of doing just what you want.’ San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and Shaw Island are the most populated and include the majority of hotels, restaurants and tourist activities. Its weather is perfection and its endless vistas offer an ideal location for a second home or vacation get-away.

If you are in the market for a vacation home in the Silicon Valley or beyond, contact The Dawn Thomas Team to discover how we can help.