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When I first came across the work of Heliotrope Architects, I spent a fair bit of time perusing their online portfolio. The Seattle-based firm consists of principals Mike Mora and Joe Herrin, both members of The American Institute of Architects. Of their residential, commercial and public projects, I'm most intrigued by their eco-conscious North House project on Orcas Island, Washington:

The home fits right into the dreamy setting without blocking views. I love how the surrounding fir trees were left intact. Fun facts from their website: The vegetated roof filters rainwater, which is then used for irrigation. Rooftop solar energy collectors help with heating and hot water, and panels above the vegetable garden provide additional electricity.

As the company's site says, the "work reflects a passion for people and the various, complex places they inhabit." Understated hues work well in this home, since nature provides the inspiration for colour.

Simple open shelves neatly — and stylishly — hold everything needed in the galley kitchen.

Over in the spacious contemporary living room, windows act as walls.

A minimalist patio provides ample room for alfresco meals but doesn't obstruct the water views. Wish I could enjoy lunch out there... Oh, to dream.

For more photos from this home and other projects by Heliotrope, visit

Photo credits:
Heliotrope Architects, photography by Sean Airhart and Ben Benschnieder


Seema Persaud

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