Twenty-one years ago, Jena Thornton left the familiar high-rises of Chicago for the dream of living in the rugged Pacific Northwest.
Once she arrived, her steady dream turned into a passionate vision: she wanted to own a hotel on one of Washington's wild islands, and she refused to let that idea slip away. Her husband, Scott Shapiro, had real estate development experience, so they seemed like the perfect team. And when a site opened up on a speck of dry land an hour from Seattle in 2011, the two claimed it for themselves. Then, they spent the next four years constructing the Lodges of Vashon with SHW, which is set on an isle of the same name.
Sixteen pre-fab structures by Champion Commercial comprise a majority of the hotel, and they were built in Idaho and transferred to the site. "[Pre-fab] was something my husband and I always wanted to do," Thornton noted. The rooms have a minimalist look of warm grays and soft whites, which speaks to Shapiro's experience with luxury buildings, but they still feel simple enough for the surroundings. Thornton describes her property as a haven of "modern, fresh Scandinavian-designed cabins," which are positioned around communal spaces so that guests and visitors are encouraged to mingle. After all, that was a part of Thornton's vision, too.
"We really try to engage the local community," Thornton said.