Guest Blog by the Modern Architecture + Design Society
When you arrive by ferry to Vashon Island, about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle (because there are no bridges), “modern” may not be what immediately comes to mind. That’s because while this 37-square-mile island is rife with artists, organic micro-farms and even some of the best Thai food we’ve had anywhere (truly), the approximately 10,000 residents have embraced the rustic seaside aesthetic that’s so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest islands.
It was into this relaxing setting that Jena Thornton and Scott Shapiro conceived The Lodges on Vashon – a 4.5 acre micro-community designed to welcome visitors to a more modern vision of Vashon Island, but a vision that integrates the established Vashon lifestyle into an achingly cool set of modular, modern retreats for the forward-thinking Vashon visitor.
Comprised of 16 individual units, the Lodges on Vashon embodies modern even before you arrive. Reservations are handled online, and guest service is taken care of via email, text and phone. When you make your initial reservation, you’ll receive an email reply with the basics – both check-in and check-out are handled remotely – and over half of the units are pet-friendly. Then, a few days before arrival you’ll receive another email with your lodge number, the electronic door access code for your lodge, the wi-fi password (on-site wi-fi was solid and fast) and even the access code for the on-site gym! For travelers used to the comforting presence of a “front desk” it’s a little different, but in practice, we found that it really reinforces the solitude and relaxation that most visitors coming to Vashon likely want to experience. In short – after a very brief consideration, we were totally sold. (While there is no on-site staff, all of our inquiries were handled quickly and efficiently by the guest hotline where both phone and email help is available.)
The contemporary community theme is obvious once you arrive. You enter through a welcoming group gathering area with cozy outdoor furniture, a fireplace, and a communal cooking area, with the individual lodges waiting just beyond. (Many of the lodges are also arranged around additional smaller community spaces with firepits and seating.)
Take the short walk to your lodge and the units, designed by Seattle firm S+H Works, immediately welcome you into a minimalist but warm embrace. From the easy-on one-button fireplace to the spa-like soaking tub, the Lodges manage to highlight and enhance the restorative sense of the Island with a clean, open design that manages to surprise considering the compact exterior. With a living/dining area anchoring one end and the bedroom opposite, all in soothing whites and neutrals, the Lodges manage to convey a Scandinavian rustic elegance that remains in sync with the rural island location while wholly embracing modern – no small task. Round out each lodge with art and furnishings largely sourced locally, and the task of integrating a modern retreat while maintaining harmony with the established island community has to be considered a success.
Disclosure: The Lodges on Vashon invited us to stay on their property during the 2018 Seattle Modern Home Tour as their guest.