History of the Copalis Beach House

I guess it started with trips to this part of the Washington Coast in the 1950’s with my family. My dad would drive us (mom, brother Joe and I) in a 1950 Plymouth from Seattle. We stayed in one of several little cabins right on the highway somewhere near Copalis Beach.

In the 1980’s when our daughters were young, Alice, girls and I would go camping at Cape Disappointment State Park (Formerly Fort Canby State Park) near Ilwaco. And every other year or so I would spend a couple of nights during the winter months alone, somewhere along the Washington or Oregon coast. On several occasions, I spent time at Surf Crest, a condo resort community just south of Sea View Estates, where our house is now.

When Air B&B and VRBO began offering whole houses to rent on the coast I rented a house here in Sea View Estates at 7 Ocean Lane in May of 2018. After hauling my laptop and groceries up two flights of stairs to the top floor I began daydreaming about what kind of house I might design if I had property along this part of the coast. Clearly, getting up high enough to see the ocean beyond the dunes was a good idea but walking up two flights of stairs to see the view was challenging my enjoyment of the place.

Later, I took a walk north on Ocean Lane and discovered a lot for sale. Intrigued, I called the listing agent to inquire about the listed price. The price was affordable, so we made a full price offer to buy the lot, but our offer was rejected because the owner decided not to sell the lot at that time.

Even though we did not get the lot, I started designing a house to go on the lot. For some strange reason, it didn’t feel like I was wasting my time. I just had a feeling they would change their mind and sell us the lot. We waited several months, then called the owners directly to see if they had decided to sell the lot. (It just so happened that the one of the owner’s parents sold us our house in Bellevue in 1984!) We were told we would be the first to know if they changed their mind. Feeling like there was some hope that we would become the next owners, we were content to wait it out. Then, just a couple of weeks later, another lot came on the market, just two lots north from the one we were hoping to buy. We immediately made a full price offer to buy this new listing. Our offer was accepted, and we closed on the lot in April of 2019.

I already had sketches of floor plans for the new house, so I began working in earnest on the plans. From the very beginning, our intention was to share this house with the public as a vacation rental, so I designed the house for that purpose. By March of 2020 the preliminary plans were done, the final working drawings were complete in June, and we got a building permit in July of 2020.

With financial help from my sisters Susan and Kim, our daughters Samantha and Farrah and personal savings we were able to pay for the construction. The final cost was considerably higher than originally projected due to increases in the cost of materials because of the pandemic.

There was one other “piece to the puzzle” that was also fitting in nicely. In 2008 we completed the construction of the Olympic Foothills Lodge near Port Angeles, WA. We began renting that house on VRBO in 2009. About 2 years ago, the office manager for my construction company, Felicia Johnson, took over the booking duties for the Lodge and because she does this job so well, she was our first choice to do the bookings for this new beach property.

With all the pieces in order, our initial plans were to start construction in April of 2021, but the Covid-19 Pandemic slowed down my construction business in Bellevue, so we moved up the starting date for the Beach House. We poured the foundation in September of 2020. The house was substantially complete in August 2021 after 11 months and 58 trips from Bellevue to the Beach. Alice and I stayed in a travel trailer we parked on the lot for 10 months during the construction each time we came down from Bellevue from September to July 2021.

We had an Open House for the family, Mom, sisters, daughters, and their families on August 7, 2021, to officially commemorate the completion of the Copalis Beach House.

Steve Kunkel August 18, 2021