Architecture: new construction, remodeling, consultation, Vashon and Seattle

Lidunn Øverdahl Cain, architect

I am a Norwegian-trained architect and founder of ReThink Design. I grew up in Trondheim, Norway and graduated with a Master’s degree from the Oslo School of Architecture in 1990. In Norway I worked on designs for many different types of projects ranging from hospitals and schools to residential homes.

Lidunn Øverdahl Cain, architectIn 1998 I went for a summer retreat at a Zen center in California for the summer. It wasn’t part of the plan but there I fell in love, decided to stay, married, and started a family. Since 2002 our family of four people (me, Christopher, our children Lars and Eva), a dog, and a cat has lived on Vashon Island, Washington in Puget Sound.

On Vashon, we started Still Sitting Meditation Supply, an online business, making and selling high quality meditation cushions and Buddhist robes ( Even though this is a great job, I missed working as an architect. Once our children reached school age I turned the reins of Still Sitting over to Chris and founded ReThink Design.

What I love most about architecture is that it involves so many aspects of life. It is about people and places, beauty and function, emotions and materials. Architecture touches people’s lives in an immediate and profound way, and the design choices we make have a lasting impact on our everyday lives.

I believe that good architecture is about people, not buildings. The most important part of my job as an architect is to listen to and understand my clients and create spaces for them that satisfy their needs. My goal as an architect is to create spaces that please and work for the inhabitants every day, not to create a home that looks good in a magazine or in my portfolio. I am far less interested in current fashion trends than I am in my client’s everyday life.

ReThink in the News

The Changing House
Read about Lidunn Øverdahl Cain’s people-based approach to design. Originally published in Norwegian American Weekly, the May 13, 2011.

Island Architect Brings Passion for Practical Solutions to Her Work
Originally published in the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Often people think that architects only design high-rises, public buildings, or expensive homes. My interest and goal as an architect lies in designing pleasing, practical, and affordable living spaces for “regular” people, be it a new home or a remodeling project. My joy and satisfaction come from solving the puzzle of people and houses and making the puzzle pieces fit together in the very best way possible.

As an architect, I know that small changes can have a big impact on your life. Your house can grow and change organically with you over time. As your needs change, your house can change. When children grow older they may need their own space. Your needs change when you launch a home business. Or maybe you finally come to grips with the fact that your kitchen is laid out poorly and needs a new design that fits you. The solution may be moving a door or opening up a wall, or maybe adding on is the answer. I can help you explore the possibilities, using what you have as a starting point.

I believe that no matter how complicated a situation is, no matter how intractable it seems, there is a good solution to be found. My job as an architect is to find that solution by working closely with you. Working together, I am confident that we will find a great solution, a solution that you didn’t even dream possible.