High Prairie

Tucked into a gentle hillside north of the Columbia Gorge, this modest getaway residence offers a simple comfort in response to its dramatic setting. Sited at the edge of a stand of oaks, the house uses these trees and the slope of the hillside for protection against the often harsh winds and weather, while expanding outward toward views of the distant volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range. Every aspect of the house, from its siting, its geometry, its arrangement of rooms and privacy, to its treatment of light, structure and materials—is governed by these two priorities. As such, the spaces and materials of the house celebrate honest durability, doing nothing extra in deference to the natural drama of the surroundings. Public and private separation is defined by a central site-cast concrete wall in this modest 2 bar plan. A covered communal outdoor space and the main entry court form voids which balance the solidity of the adjacent master and guest bedroom suites. The master suite steps down from the main level, conforming to the existing topography to become a private sanctuary with windows on all sides taking in the view. Two guest bedrooms and a shared bath are nestled into the hillside in a self-contained suite. The building exterior is clad in ground face CMU and sheltered by a weathering steel roof — a nod to the agricultural language of the surrounding area. Two site walls extend from the house’s West face into the topography. Stretching out, these walls anchor the house into the landscape and provide extra protection from the unchallenged prevailing winds.

Completed late fall 2019.


  • Contractor:: Paul Carloss Construction
  • Size:: 1600 sf main house / 864 detached garage
  • Location:: Lyle, WA - High Prairie
  • Photography:: Erik Becker
  • Structural Engineer:: Grummel Engineering