Right Sized Retreat


Cle Elum is a sleepy town located about an hour southeast of Seattle, Washington, Incorporated in 1902, Cle Elum is named for a Kittitas Indian word that means “swift water.”  For one couple, the town also meant a perfect retreat from the Emerald City.

“We love being a little farther out from Seattle,” says the owner who commutes with her husband about an hour each way to the Seattle suburb of Issaquah, where they both work at Costco Wholesale.  “We always thought we’d build a home on our land in Colorado, but when we saw this property, we decided it was too perfect not to build there.”  She says most of the properties around them are vacation homes, which has its advantages.  “I love the quiet!” she exclaims. 

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

This photo highlights the level of detail the architect was able to infuse into the home by keeping it smaller, including the stone firepit, the shed roof over the windows, and the layers of texture from the roof to the siding and stone chimney.

The home, which they share with their two dogs and four cats, sits on about an acre and is so secluded on its pie-shaped lot that the owners have never put up window treatments, in spite of the home being designed with big windows to draw in as much natural light as possible.  The owner says it is just one of the clever things about the design that architect Matt Franklin of M.T.N Design, in-house architectural design firm for PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, created.  “I get to look out to the beautiful view of the Cascades instead of deciding on window treatments or struggling about where to put a picture,” she says.

Because of the way the home is situated on the lot, the great room and master bedroom face north, offering optimal sun exposure that isn’t too harsh.  “The light, especially in the great room, changes depending on the time of day, and it’s really pretty,” says the owner.  She adds that they often catch a glimpse of wildlife—including deer, elk, and turkeys—through the many windows. 

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

The chunky timbers in-between the window panes frame the view while allowing most of the light to penetrate into the living room. The wood on the ceiling is salvaged from beetle-killed pine trees in Colorado.

The four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom timber-frame home, which the owners decorated themselves with treasures they collected during their travel adventures as well as furnishings from local retailer Bothell Furniture, is complete with a daylight basement. “The really neat thing is that they weren’t interested in building this big, grand elaborate house,” says Franklin.  “The owners wanted a smaller, more intimate home that was done really well.  So that allowed us to put energy and resources into nicer materials and features rather than just big square footage.”

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

The walk-out basement—complete with a den and three guest bedrooms, each with their own covered patio—feels bright and open thanks to 10-foot ceilings.

Case in point: the layered look of the roofline.  Typically, Franklin explains, you would run most of the main ridge beams and gables in the same direction.  But he wanted to run them counter to one another to help create the intimate feeling of the home.  Additionally, Franklin used a shed roof to pop up the living room windows, which enables sunlight to stream into the interior spaces while also adding texture and visual interest to the outside of the home.  Franklin calls these metal roofs “eyebrows,” a decorative feature that doesn’t serve a function, but creates a unique look.

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

Light from the windows above the stairway help illuminate the downstairs space and the kitchen, which is designed with alder wood cabinets to maximize storage in the absence of many upper cabinets. The handmade copper farm sink is from Rachiele; lighting by Quoizel.

“What I love about the home is that when you’re inside it, the spaces just feel right,” Franklin elaborates.  “They feel intimate but not tight.  It feels really homey.”

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

The obscure glass in the master bathroom window is the only “window treatment” in the entire home.

The timber-frame construction of the 3,100-square foot home is easier to maintain than a log home, which was a draw for the owners who plan to use this house to transition into retirement.  Combined with the structural insulated panel (SIP) construction, it also makes for an extremely energy-efficient and soundproof home, which helps with the comfort level.

Cle Elum Retreat Rustic Homes Cowgirl Magazine

In a smaller home, creative, yet attractive storage is key. A custom barn door (Rustica Hardware) conceals the television in the master suite.

The finely detailed home features pine ceilings salvaged from trees killed by beetles in Colorado: a nod to the couple’s love of the Centennial State.  It also boasts gleaming hardwood floors on the main level, easy-to-maintain wood-look tile in the basement, in-floor heating, plush carpeting in the bedrooms, Pella windows, custom copper sinks, and rustic stone walls on both the exterior and interior.  Each of the guest bedrooms has its own private entrance to the covered patio on the lower level, and the master bedroom accesses the upper-level deck.

M.T.N. Design
Matt Franklin, Lead Architect

Timber Manufacturer
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes

Woodridge Custom Homes

Jackson Jewel

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