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Little House on the Water

A prefabricated home becomes a Seattle couple's ideal Lake Pend Oreille retreat



Marie-Dominique Verdier

Not so long ago, a pair of empty nesters had their dream vacation home drawn up and ready to build, only to toss those plans out the window once they discovered Seattle-based FabCab at the Seattle Home Show. 

After all, the couple’s shining slice of property on the shore of Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille, one of the deepest lakes in the United States, deserved a structure befitting its beautiful surroundings. Nestled in the idyllic community of Sandpoint, Idaho—a haven for the arts, music and outdoor adventure—the home compels its owners to make the 350-mile commute from Seattle several times each year. And it’s definitely worth the trip. Built on a steep incline and situated just steps from the water, the residence appears to mingle with the sailboats on the lake’s sparkling surface. 

With its compact footprint, low environmental impact, rustic details and generous windows, FabCab’s TimberCab model proved the perfect fit for this special place. FabCab designs popular one-, two- and three-bedroom prefabricated homes that can be tailored to homeowners’ individual needs; in this case, contractor Scott Schriber, co-owner of Sandpoint-based Selle Valley Construction, added a stunning shorefront porch, affording the homeowners panoramic views of the water. 

“We really try to blend the time-honored tradition of timber framing and the warmth of wood with the modern form of a building that people appreciate,” explains FabCab’s principal architect Emory Baldwin. “It’s not just a cold metal box.”

Though the one-bedroom cabin occupies a modest 550 square feet, it lives large thanks to streamlined construction, high ceilings and an open, airy floor plan with wide doorways and no hallways. That same clean and simple design sensibility informed the home’s breezy, fresh décor. With the help of home-design website Houzz.com, the owners were able to work seamlessly with Selle Valley Construction’s Barbara Schriber to select finishing touches, comparing materials easily while keeping costs on budget. 

One remarkable result is the home’s handsome flooring. Though the rustic planks look just like reclaimed wood, they’re actually engineered oak, an FSC-certified material that pairs smartly with the steely gray walls. The interiors also showcase the versatility of Douglas fir, which was used to create the kitchen’s sleek straight-grained cabinetry, the bedroom’s modern custom bed (which offers lots of hidden storage space underneath) and the beams that highlight the dramatic sloped ceilings.  

The living room’s David Trubridge pendant lights and slat benches by Herman Miller keep the look light, as does a leggy sleeper sofa from American Leather, which the couple’s adult sons tend to use during visits. “They either sleep here or pull cots out onto the deck to sleep under the stars,” Scott says. “In the morning, they just grab a cup of coffee and hop on their boats. Everything here is about the water.” 

ARCHITECTURE Emory Baldwin, FABCAB, Seattle, WA (206) 275-2345, fabcab.com CONSTRUCTION Barbara and Scott Schriber, Selle Valley Construction, Ponderay, ID (208) 263-1808, sellevalley.com CUSTOM CABINETRY Dave Collins, Whistling Elk Woodworks, Sandpoint, ID (208) 304-8087 DECK RAILING Mark Richardson, Sandpoint, ID (208) 597-4603 BARN DOOR HARDWARE Real Sliding Hardware, Gig Harbor, WA (800) 694-5977 WOOD FLOORING "Chippenham," Castle Combe Wood Floors, Carpet One, Ponderay, ID (208) 263-5138 PAINT "Stone" 2112-40, Benjamin Moore, The Paint Bucket, Sandpoint, ID (208) 263-5032 PENDANT LIGHTS David Trubridge, Y Lighting, ylighting.com BENCH Nelson Platform Bench, Herman Miller, One Kings Lane, onekingslane.com SOFA Brynlee Sofa Sleeper, American Leather, americanleather.com KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS Pental Quartz Stormy Sky Honed, Idaho Granite Works, Sagle, ID (208) 263-1884, idahograniteworks.com TILE 1 x 3 Stainless Steel Mosaic, Subway Tile Outlet, subwaytileoutlet.com REFRIGERATOR Fagor CS1360, Fred's Appliance, Coeur d'Alene, ID (208) 765-4204, fredsappliance.com DISHWASHER AND CONVECTION MICROWAVE GE Monogram, Fred's Appliance, Coeur d'Alene, ID (208) 765-4204, fredsappliance.com CABINET HARDWARE Amerock Stainless Steel Bar Pulls, Selkirk Glass & Cabinets, Ponderay, ID (208) 263-7373 BATHROOM TOILET Persuade Curve, Kohler, Keller Plumbing Supply, Spokane, WA (800) 777-1541 FLOOR TILE Tierra Sol Fioranese Nu Travertine Vein Cut "Walnut," Great Floors, Coeur d'Alene, ID (208) 765-6014 FIXTURES Trevi Cross, Brizo, Keller Plumbing Supply, Spokane, WA (800) 777-1541 HVAC Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump, Mitsubishi MSZFE12NA/MUZFE12NA, High Mark Heating & Cooling, Ponderay, ID (208) 263-5408 

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