Outside-Inside House by Cushing Terrell

Outside-Inside House is a project designed by Cushing Terrell. Redefining the rustic mountain cabin is a challenge of integrating vernacular, regionalism, and a touch of modernism. Early in discussions with the client, we identified a driving force for the project: interaction of the house with the site, and creation of space that felt part of the surrounding forest, blurring the line between the outside and inside spaces of the house. Photography by Heidi Long.


The site offers stunning views of Rock Creek yet is situated at a narrow point between the creek and a public access road. The topography and narrow site pushed the design toward a linear floor plan that could be perched on top of the ridge and work with the oxbow of the creek below.

Interior spaces are open to allow light and air to move through them. The home fosters a close relationship with the landscape and the site, and scenic views were heavily prioritized. Visibility of the creek became the central node around which the rest of the spaces are organized.

To maximize the views and connection to the exterior, the study is cantilevered eight feet over the edge of the topography, creating a glass viewing box with views up and down the bend of Rock Creek. The main living space is the culmination of the house. The living room and kitchen open to a screened, open-air, outdoor living space via large, operable glazing doors. When both are open, the house is truly one with the site, as it fills with cool breezes and the sounds of moving water.

The main facade facing the road provides visual protection; solid walls with small punched openings and a solid interior wall conceal the glass hall to the master bedroom. The facade is mostly opaque, except for the entry, allowing a sneak preview to the creek through a glass breezeway. The back of the house facing Rock Creek is completely transparent and visually connects to the landscape. When inside, the house disappears to create a feeling that you are living amongst the trees.

Architecture: Cushing Terrell

Leave a Reply