Blurring Boundaries

Stunning scenery graces so much of the Pacific Northwest, and natural beauty is a splendid asset to the design of any home. Even on the rainiest of days, rich home design unites the refuge of home with the wonder of the outdoors.

Glass

Make effective use of glass. Glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light and can make the outdoors feel like part of your home. Glass creates fluid movement between interior and exterior spaces. To make this flow even more effective, install the same type of floor inside and on your patio or outdoor living space.

victorian-living-room

Corners

Install a corner window. Putting a window in the corner of a room provides an uninterrupted view of your surroundings and allows more sunlight to reach the interior of your home.

contemporary-bedroom

Secret Gardens

Add an entrance to a private garden. If you’re planning on having a small garden off the master bedroom, consider glass sliding or French doors. These doors let you see the garden at all times and make it feel like a natural extension of your room.

Work with a View

Give a home office spectacular views. Place your home office on the upper floor instead of having it tucked away on the first floor. Put the desk in front of large windows that provide beautiful views of the outdoors.

home-office

Our Sandwith Estate project offers additional home design inspiration. Visit our online portfolio to view images of the completed project.

The Music of Architecture

Sometimes the best way to truly understand one art form is through the words of another. Although the finished work doesn’t move, architecture trends still retain a rhythm, a beat, a tone, and a style. Understanding architecture through music is natural, and applying musical terms to architectural ideas brings greater understanding to both art forms.

Here are some overlaps in music and architecture in Seattle:

Dolce

In music, this term lets the musician know to play delicately and with a light touch. In architecture it refers to the intricacy and the craftsmanship required to create delicate but powerful details.

using dolce in architecture

Ma non troppo

Literally stated, this means “not too much.” In music, it is added with another direction to mean not to go too far. To play “allegro ma non troppo” means to play fast, but not too fast. Architecture trends often reflect this idea whenever restraint is used and a “less is more” approach is taken.
incoporating Ma Non Troppo in architecture

Sforzando

Loud and strong. Music that is played sforzando is meant to be heard; it is played with force and is aggressively seeking attention. Architectural features that are sforzando are similarly aggressive–sharp angles, contrasting colors or textures–elements that are designed to stand out and stand alone.
using Sforzando in architecture

Vivace

Lively and upbeat, it is easy to imagine music that is vivace. Light notes and higher tones skipping along in a quick tempo. Architecture that is vivace is similarly busy and light. There may be several complimentary elements throughout one space, many different spaces that are connected, or lots of interesting objects and focal points to keep the eye and the mind busy.

using Vivace in architecture

Gelotte Hommas has been bringing art to architecture for more than 30 years. We’d love to help you incorporate some of these musical notes into your next project.

Gelato, Hummus, & Drinks

Last Friday, contractors and clients gathered in the Gelotte Hommas home–our Bellevue office–to celebrate 34 years of design, partnerships, and artistry.

We anticipate this event every spring–Gelato and Hummus. It’s our opportunity to connect with the people and the stories who make our work possible, to catch up on family news, the evolution of businesses, and your future dreams.

_DSC7966-5LWW

Yet this year marked a divergence from past events. We added “Drinks” to our menu and told you there’d be a special announcement.

As the proverbial clock struck five, our guests gathered in our conference room. Curt Gelotte and Scott Hommas began to tell the story or our firm and of a self-proclaimed “young, snot-nosed architect” who began his career at GHA 16 years ago. That architect, Eric Drivdahl, has since grown in both his artistry and his love for client service, and on March 31, 2017 we warmly welcomed him as a name partner in our firm.

_DSC7989-9LWW

As Curt proposed a toast to Eric and the future of the firm, our guests’ excitement was tangible. “He deserves it!” one colleague said. And with that announcement, the three partners unveiled our new name: Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture.

We’re thrilled to move into the next chapter of our firm and, with Eric’s added leadership, to continue serving our clients and delivering artful custom homes. But this won’t be the end of our celebrations this year. There’s more on the horizon!

Thank you to all who shared in our “celebration of partnership” and who continue to work with us, inspire us, and trust us with their dreams.

_DSC7941-1LWW

_DSC7956-2LWW

_DSC7958-3LWW

_DSC7977-6LWW

_DSC8000-10LWW

_DSC7959-1LWW

You’re Invited!: Gelato, Hummus, and Drinks

Gelotte Hommas Architecture warmly invites you to join us this Friday, March 31, from 3 PM to 6 PM, for an afternoon of gelato, hummus, drinks, and celebration.

When looking back over GHA’s history, residential architect Curtis Gelotte reflected that, “Somewhere over the years, it became less about the projects and more about the people.” We value the relationships we build in our work, and each year, we look forward to celebrating another year of artistry and design with you, our clients and colleagues. It’s our opportunity to catch up with you, to celebrate success, to reflect on past projects, and to joyfully anticipate the start of a new year for the GHA family.

This year, on our 34th anniversary, we’re pleased to make a special announcement at 5 PM. We look forward to seeing you!

Please click here to RSVP.

Address: 3025 112th AVE. NE, Suite 110, Bellevue, WA 98004

Below, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite moments from past Gelato and Hummus celebrations. Enjoy!

30th Anniversary 034

30th Anniversary 135

30th Anniversary 152

30th Anniversary 042

30th Anniversary 197

unnamed

Architectural Artistry

In the world of home building and ownership, obstacles are almost a given. If this were not so, there wouldn’t be an entire television channel devoted to home remodels! But the Bellevue architecture firm Gelotte Hommas embraces design challenges and creates opportunities for artistry.

Steve Jobs once said that “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Whether technology or architecture, function is an integral part of great design. A home shouldn’t merely look good. It should work well.

When designing the Asian Ambiance custom remodel, Scott Hommas discovered that two key facets of the home needed to reside in the same space: the downspouts and the exterior lighting. So, Scott picked up his pencil and began to sketch.

The result? Custom exterior lights.

The outdoor light fixtures straddle the sleek downspouts to consolidate space and maintain balance in the overall design. What’s more, Scott designed lights reminiscent of Asian lanterns. The custom light fixtures uniquely complement this home’s Asian design theme with coordinated lines, colors, and functionality.

Gelotte Hommas’ Seattle-based architects view design challenges as opportunities for architectural artistry. Not long ago, we discussed another example of creative problem solving in the face of space constraints.

We’d love to discuss opportunities for creativity design in your new home or remodel project.

A Pinch of Green

“For everyone is a visionary, if you scratch him deep enough. But the Celt, unlike any other, is a visionary without scratching.” W.B. Yeats

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For more than 300 years, green has been the color of leprechauns, shamrocks, and (for more than 50 years) the Chicago River on March 17. Yet the fresh, vivid joy of green need not be restricted to St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The natural beauty of green features well in both interior and exterior home design. We’ve collected a few of our favorite verdant features.

Vibrant Bedroom

This bedroom comes to life with lime green walls, purple bedding, warm wood tones, and a glistening black concrete floor. The verdant theme continues into the adjoining room with a spacious green rug. Even throughout the rainy days of winter, this bedroom is a constant reminder of spring!

Lively Playroom

Green walls infuse a fresh, vibrant look into this spacious playroom. White trim and built-ins paired with beige carpet balance the room and ensure vibrance without overwhelming visitors.

Inviting Furniture

Use green to add a sophisticated splash of color to an overall neutral room. A pale green hutch and a mossy green chair cushion remain consistent with the natural, French country style while providing contrast to the neutral colors and natural woods throughout room.

Indoor Garden

Bring natural greens inside. This custom Seattle home invites the warmth of the outdoors into the comfort of a luxurious master bathroom. The stone walls and walkway of the private courtyard merge into the master grotto shower and bath. Small trees, vines, potted plants, and a rhododendron create a serene setting in which to enjoy a warm bath.

Top It Off

Bellevue architect Curt Gelotte topped off this custom Cabin on Lake Wenatchee with a green seamed metal roof. Crowning wood trusses, metal siding, and a stone wall, the green roof adds further intrigue to the home’s exterior design. The pine green roof melds with the surrounding woods without disappearing into them.

 

Gelotte Hommas Architecture wishes you a splendid St. Patrick’s Day!  

O Romeo, Romeo: The Delights of a Juliet Balcony

Get Storybook Cottage Style

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Juliet balconies blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Bellevue architect Eric Drivdahl took full advantage of a Juliet balcony when he transformed an attic bedroom into a master suite.

During his Seattle remodel of a custom storybook house, Eric sought ways to maximize light in this renovated master suite. The Juliet balcony provided the perfect opportunity. It invites natural light and fresh air into the home. The owners can fling open the French doors, curl up in nearby chairs, and enjoy a warm summer breeze as they sip their coffee and read their books.

What’s more, the Juliet balcony increases the perceived size of the room. By adding the French doors with a steel railing, the room extends beyond the strict lines of the walls and invites the lake view into the home.

The Juliet balcony also increases the exterior aesthetic of the home. The dramatic, red-cased French doors situated just under the roof peak draw observers’ eyes upward and encourages them to enjoy the full beauty of this custom house. In this instance, the Juliet balcony’s steel railing continues the line left off by the full balcony.

Because Juliet balconies don’t protrude from the building, they’re a simple way to increase the enjoyment of your living space without the rigors of structural evaluations or considerations of exterior space. The reward of an open, light-filled, airy space makes Juliet balconies a worthwhile consideration.

An Architect’s Perspective on Asian Ambiance

Each Gelotte Hommas custom home offers a story, and our architects are meticulous in remaining faithful to the established stories and themes of each project. Seattle architect Scott Hommas recently discussed his process for designing a timeless, Pacific Northwest home with an East Asian motif.

How did the Asian Ambiance project come to you and what’s the story?

This project is actually an older project, but it’s timeless. It’s as modern today as it was when we designed it, right around the year 2000. The project was a remodel–one of those homes that at the genesis of it was a one story shack on the water. We had to determine how it all stood up. There was a deck that wasn’t even attached to the house; it was just leaning up against it!

By the time we got to it, it was a two story shack. The house’s structure was fine. Some of the things attached to it weren’t great, but we worked very hard to maintain the home’s original geometry. We took the roof off and added a third floor with a bedroom, a large office, and a media room.

Then the fun thing about this house is the stairwell. We wrestled with, “How do you get the main entry–which is on the upper floor–to graciously bring people down to the main floor? So we created a stairway that is more like a piece of furniture than a stairway. The owner had an interest Asian art, so this custom stairway is designed after an Asian tansu hutch. We followed through on that Asian theme and created a cozy library sitting area.

The owner approached you with the Asian art theme. Was the East Asian architecture style familiar to you, or did you have to do a bit of research to achieve it?

Asian and craftsman styles are kindred spirits. The craftsman movement was largely influenced by Asian design, so I think I was very familiar with the concept and the overall design philosophy. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me. And it was fun! It was the first project I worked on that had  budget enough to execute details like that stairwell.

Talk more about the evolution of the staircase.

It was a question of how do you make it gracious, how do you make it meld well with the library down below, and how do you use every inch of space in the house? It’s actually not a large house. And it all fell together. It felt natural: the tansu hutch idea and using every bit of storage possible. Making it look like furniture instead of a stairway. It felt like it evolved naturally, with very little effort. I spent a lot of time detailing it out, but I think it turned out well.

What challenges did you face in crafting this home?

The lighting. You start putting a lot of wood into the home along with the muted colors, and, especially in the Pacific Northwest, it can quickly start to get dark. We focused on lighting the displays and lighting the ceilings to make sure that the home stayed bright. I think we did a good job. We were working with some low ceilings and a lot of dark wood, yet it still feels like a light, bright space.

What’s your favorite part of this house, and what did enjoy most about designing it?

The owners really did have an appreciation for good design, and they allowed me to foster that. One of the most successful things in this house is the library. It’s a warm, cozy place, and it’s timeless. I think the owners appreciate all the little details that went into it. It’s an example of how a house can have a waterfront view, but it can offer other things, too. It doesn’t have to be all about the water. Although, we didn’t lose any opportunity to take advantage of it on the other rooms!

Closing Thoughts

Scott’s thoughtful design efforts on this custom project reflect the care we take with each client’s dream home. Our clients’ interests, preferences, and lifestyles are our primary inspiration for crafting timeless, welcoming homes.

Design + Structure

Last month, Panache Partners released Structure + Design: Signature Work by Leading Architects and Interior Designers. The coffee table book features exquisite designs from fifty of the country’s leading home design experts, including Seattle’s Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

Structure + Design includes custom design inspiration from GHA’s Lakefront Splendor, Casa del Sol, and Cedar Haven projects. Every photo in the volume is accompanied by a detailed caption that articulates the beauty of each design.

Living Room

“Creating habitable art requires an ever-listening ear to discover the client’s unique perception of what ‘home’ means to them, and utilizing an artistic eye to evaluate proper scale, proportion and composition.” Structure + Design

One of Gelotte Hommas’ defining features is our love of story. Every home we create celebrates the fruition of a dream—and the story behind that dream. We select a specific theme and narrative to guide our design through every home. The homes in this design collection celebrate the beauty of their surroundings, the careful skill of their craftsman, and the cherished visions of our clients.

Casa Del Sol

The luxury design book also showcases the work of forty-nine other residential design professionals from across the United States. We enjoyed perusing the book and appreciating how our fellow designers incorporate their own regions’ unique landscapes into their craft.

Tansu Stairs in a Seattle Lake Home

More than a practical means of ascending from one space to another, staircases present a unique opportunity for exquisite design. Such is the case in one Seattle remodel.

At the behest of a client with an affinity for Asian art, architect Scott Hommas weaved a tansu-inspired staircase into a Pacific Northwest lake home. The custom staircase, designed in part to showcase a collection of Asian sculptures, offers a mild, gracious transition from the third-floor grand entry into the second-floor living space.

Asian Ambiance

The staircase integrates the remodeled home’s existing craftsman style with the clean, solid lines of the banister and railings. The rich wood stain matches the woodwork throughout the house and complements the stone tiles at the foot of the stairs.

Modeled after seventeenth century Japanese tansu step chests, the lower portion of this unique staircase offers both open and closed storage space. This wedding of form and function is authentic to the minimalist, functional East Asian design tradition, which makes use of every inch of space without compromising style.

Classic arts and crafts style architecture

The custom tansu staircase further functions as a natural partition wall for the library, thus creating a well-crafted and inviting enclosure for a wealth of books and art. Large display steps also offer a permanent home to a collection of Asian sculptures.

Asian Ambiance

 

Scott’s Asian Ambiance remodel exemplifies the melding of form and function–of beautiful design, storage, and accessibility–for the betterment of a home.

Asian Artistry

More than seventeen years ago, a client approached Scott Hommas with a dated lake house and a desire to transform the cabin into a functional, elegant home.

Tucked along a popular Seattle lake, the original home offered an intimate, one-story retreat on the water. Subsequent owners added a second story and balcony, while still maintaining the lakeside home’s snug charm. Scott’s client hoped to continue the home’s evolution and to weave Asian design influences into the Pacific Northwest lake house.

exterior-rear-dusk
This lakeside home evolved from a one-story retreat to a three-story home.

Scott and his client sought to draw out the home’s original character while transitioning from a dated design to a timeless, modern craftsman home. The custom remodel incorporated an inviting third-floor entry that welcomed visitors following their dramatic descent down the steep driveway.

The extra-wide front door opens into a contemporary Asian foyer. A traditional painted screen and Eastern art display stand in exhibition across the stunning interior bridge, and exposed beams and matching railings meld contemporary Eastern design with craftsman style details.

interior-front-entry-3
An interior bridge leads from the main entrance to an exquisite display of East Asian art.

Below, the home continues to showcase the owner’s East Asian collection. From the front entry to the second floor, the stair-step display offers a home to three Eastern statues. The living room mantle boasts three more statues to complement the rural landscape painting on the adjacent wall.

The home’s climax comes in the library. Architecture, art, and refuge meet in the solace of the warm fireplace and timeless, well-proportioned shelves.

library
A tall, stunning library invites residents to curl up by the fire and enjoy the surrounding artistry.

While this project is more than seventeen years old, it reminds us that quality design is timeless. The Eastern-craftsman style remains as warm and relevant now as it did when it was first conceived.

Cedar Shingle Cottage

Storybook roofs are special beasts. Their gables, eaves, and slopes offer incomparable character, and storybook roofs are easily the most recognizable in the neighborhood. However, the very features that add so much personality to the home also pose a unique challenge when it comes time to reroof.

So learned two Seattle homeowners.

A Storybook Cottage

Over the past fifteen years, two homeowners have meticulously restored life to a historic storybook house, and they invited Gelotte Hommas Architecture to join them along the journey.

Hansel and Gretel roofs possess quintessential old world charm, and they transport visitors to an age of fairy tale whimsy and innocence. In this instance, however, the roof had fallen into disrepair. The initial bid these owners received from the go-to storybook roofing contractor was far in excess of what this couple hoped to spend, so the GHA team went to work and found another expert contractor who was delighted to tackle our custom design for this Seattle roof.

A Storybook Cottage

Cedar shingles were the natural, historically appropriate material choice for this roof restoration. Cedar shingles age well, and with a dark stain, they complement this home’s earthy tones and bring contrast to the red window casings.

The roof installation demanded attention to detail and artisan workmanship. Our contractor seam-bent each cedar shingle to fit the contours of the roof and layered the patterned shingles to evoke maximum charm.

A Storybook Cottage

GHA competed the roof design with a glint of magic: copper flecking on the gables.

In the end, the new roof felt like an original feature, perfectly fit for this historic Seattle home!

A Storybook Cottage

Kitchen and Bath Industry Show Recap

Earlier this month, architects and designers converged on Orlando, Florida for the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Gelotte Hommas Architecture has been keeping an eye on the news, trends, and innovations that emerged from the 2017 convention.

Antique Reclaimed Distressed Oak

Here are a few of Architizer’s conclusions and finds from this year’s kitchen and bath show floor:

  • Concrete is in. Concrete countertops continue to grow in popularity. For homeowners who aren’t ready to go hard on concrete, design experts introduce concrete-esque colors and finishes.
  • Go Nero Marquina. When it comes to marble, you want Nero Marquina–a black stone with deep white veins extracted from Northern Spain.
  • Distress it. No matter the surface, the aged, weathered look continues to add character to any room. There’s beauty in imperfection.
  • Tough it out. Many traditionally interior surfaces are now touted as resilient and versatile enough to bring outdoors.
  • Overlay quartz. For people looking to remodel their kitchens, Caesarstone introduced its Transform line of quartz countertops. The quartz fits neatly atop existing surfaces for a sleek, fresh look.
  • Smart charging. Install wireless charging ports into your countertops!

GHA architects reflected on this year’s KBIS. Eric L. Drivdahl mused, “Of the four kitchen and bath finish trends identified, I am most excited about the creative use of materials traditionally used for interior surfaces which are being adapted for use on home exteriors.  Using a unique surface or material can be just the thing to accent an entry wall or other significant feature of a house design. Focal points deserve special and unique treatment such as this trend may avail.”

Blue House

 

For the complete KBIS finish and surface trends assessment, visit Architizer.

Story in Architecture: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

In honor of Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, GHA spent some time musing over the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and researching the story it strives to tell.

2016ak11_303
Photo credit: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

 

A rectangular, glass building planted in the heart of the National Mall, the NMAAHC is the newest addition to the Smithsonian collection, and it seeks to model the principle that “the building (as a container) embraces its contents.”

Designer David Adjaye and architect Philip Freelon set out synthesize “a variety of distinctive elements from Africa and the Americas into the building’s design and structure.” The museum building, therefore, manifests its contents. 

2016ak11_110
Photo credit: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

The latticed, three-tiered corona structure stands in stark contrast to the surrounding granite and marble buildings. The corona draws upon the three-tiered crowns depicted in West African Yaruban art and is a signature icon in African art–much like the Corinthian column is an icon of Western art. The bronze filigree screens that comprise the crown draw inspiration from the ironwork forged by African American craftsman in the South, and the lattice’s reflective nature allows the building to change in appearance. Depending on time of day, the corona may appear bright and lively or dark and somber.

Light and the lattice play a practical, as well as an aesthetic, role. The invitation of natural light into the museum moderates energy use and makes the structure sustainable. In fact, the NMAAHC is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building on the National Mall.

2016ak11_413
Photo credit: Alan Karchmer/MNAAHC

Inside, the museum invites visitors to start at the bottom of the museum (fifty percent of the structure is underground!) where they begin to explore history chronologically: from Africa, through slavery, and to the present. Visitors ascend through history along gradually sloped ramps. Above ground, the NMAAHC showcases African American culture and its contribution to American food, art, literature, music, business, science, sports, the military, and more.

Adjaye hopes that the narrative of his design serves as reminder that the National Museum of African American History and Culture is (like the rest of the National Mall) a museum for all Americans.

2016ak11_222
Photo credit: Karchmer/NMAAHC


GHA loves the storytelling aspect of architecture. We consider the story of each client and infuse it into the design of his or her dream home, and it’s always a pleasure to consider the larger stories communicated through cultural monuments and museums.

Storybook Style in Seattle

A long, long time ago in a far away land, visionary artists crafted charming homes that captured the imagination and inspired whimsy.

That time was the 1920s, and that far away land is Los Angeles, California. And those captivating, whimsical homes are dubbed storybook houses.

A Storybook Cottage

As Hollywood’s influence flourished, audiences leaped at the opportunity to live life in idyllic homes like those on the movie sets. This imaginative architectural style–known as “provincial realism” or, storybook houses–features all things fairytale: turrets, rolled eaves, steep roofs, detailed stonework, unique doors, and decorative chimneys. Each custom storybook house boasts enough character to earn top billing in a movie.

While most storybook houses are confined to Southern California, a few managed to take up residence elsewhere–including Seattle.

A Storybook Cottage

Fifteen years ago, two visionary homeowners purchased a historic Seattle home sorely in need of care. The owners invited Gelotte Hommas Architect Eric Drivdahl to work with them to remodel and restore whimsy to their storybook home.

Eric revived the Seattle storybook home’s enchanting rolled eaves with a custom cedar-shingled roof and an expanded master bedroom complete with an inviting balcony. The Gelotte Hommas team worked with the residents to contract with artisan roofers to steam and conform each shingle to the curve of the roof.

A Storybook Cottage

They also transformed a closed, dark attic space into an open, airy master bedroom with both a juliette balcony and an inviting full balcony–perfect for a cup of coffee on a warm summer morning!

A storybook cottage by Gelotte Hommas Architecture
Gelotte Hommas relished the opportunity to work with these homeowners to restore this unique home to an enchanting state of whimsy.

A Bright, Seaside Getaway for All Seasons

Sunshine, sand, and glorious alpine views–what more could a person desire in a vacation home—especially amidst our recent Washington cold snap? This Coastal Cove House offers outdoor luxury for the summer and cozy, scenic comfort for the winter.

Outdoor Entertaining

A spiral staircase leads from the second floor of the home to its impressive ocean-side backyard. Guests can sail out into the Puget Sound, rinse off in the outdoor shower, then savor a scrumptious halibut fillet fresh off the covered BBQ. When the warmth lingers in the summer, resident vacationers can lounge on the deck and bask in the sunset.

Coastal Cove House
Coastal Cove House
Coastal Cove House

Indoor Entertaining

Inside, the common living spaces invite the outdoor beauty into the comfort of the home. The windows above the cabinets send light into a bright, modern kitchen. White cupboards and sand-colored countertops keep the space feeling coastal, while a reclaimed wood bar adds character. Dramatic up-lighting draws the eyes towards the dynamic, curved ceilings.

Coastal Cove House
Coastal Cove House

Open-Concept Comfort

The open-concept living room completes this ocean-side getaway with exquisite views of the Cascades. The kitchen flows seamlessly into the living and dining areas. Cream colored sofas gather around a stately stone fireplace and the dining room table sits under elegant, peach-colored lights. The greatest part of this space, however, is its breakfast nook, which provides homeowners with a stunning, circular view of the ocean beyond. Whether summer or winter, guests can enjoy the local beauty from the cozy comfort of the living room!

living-area

Coastal Cove House

If you’re interested in capturing romance and beauty in your dream vacation home, we’d love to make your dream getaway a reality!

Joy!

This month, the Gelotte Hommas Architecture office is decked out in holiday cards from our clients, contractors, and consultants. We find great joy in the relationships we’ve built over the years, and each holiday card we receive reminds us of a distinct story—your story!

 

img_0016

 

Our clients invite us to help shape their homes, and our contractors and consultants join us on the journey to create a distinct sense of place for each client. We can’t help but become attached to the people we encounter through this process, so it brings us joy to know that you remembered us in your holiday greetings. There’s no greater gift to us than to know you’re enjoying the holiday season within the warmth of your home.

 

img_0035

 

It’s for this same reason that we also love sending holiday cards. Last week, we gave you a look back on our holiday card tradition. This week, we’ll give you a brief look at our 2016 holiday card.

 

img_0039

 

Scott Hommas and Daniel Carpenter collaborated to craft stylized images of the tools of the architectural trade. Compasses, pencils, paintbrushes, and pens merge to create truly unique snowflakes against a wintery blue background.

We’d be honored to send you a Christmas card! Join our holiday card mailing list!

 

img_0015

 

We thank you for remembering us in this holiday season, and we wish you all the best this Christmas weekend!

GHA Holiday Cards: A Look Back

If you’ve ever worked with Gelotte Hommas, you’ve likely grown accustomed to finding a specially designed holiday card in your mailbox each year.

The inaugural Gelotte Hommas Christmas card design found its way to mailboxes in 1986, and we’re happy to have continued the tradition ever since.

Each November, we hold a contest to determine that year’s design. Once we’ve selected a unique design and the card design goes to print, we hold a signing party where the entire office spends an evening hand-signing each and every card. We enjoy all that goes into the holiday card process simply because we love our clients!

We’ve rounded up a few Christmas cards from years past. Take a look!

1986gha

Holiday card from 1986

The card that started it all. This beautiful holiday card was the one designed and sent out in 1986. And thus began one of our favorite traditions!

2001

Holiday card from 2001

A far cry from the simplicity of the 1986 holiday card, this intricate Christmas card uses soft colors and detailing to create a serene winter scene.

2006

Holiday card from 2006

This intricate design draws you into the corridor with a skillful display of depth and detailing.

For more festive designs, hop over to our holiday card gallery.

Make our tradition your tradition! Sign up to receive an original Gelotte Hommas holiday card every December.

A Delectable Dream Kitchen

Thanksgiving is now behind us, and the Christmas season is upon us. It’s that scrumptious, food-filled time of year that has many people dusting off their dreams for the perfect kitchen.

When clients approached us with their vision for a delectable kitchen, we invited Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar to lend his expertise to the Hillcrest Farm project.

Here’s the fruit of our partnership with the illustrious Bellevue chef:

Spacious Kitchen

The main kitchen features a full range with an additional oven on the left and a second stovetop located on the island. The island offers the family and guests a comfortable space from which to eat or to interact with the meal’s cook. To the right of the range, the fridge melds with the surrounding cabinetry in order to offer efficiency without disrupting the kitchen’s visual flow with a clunky appliance.

Hillcrest Farm
Hillcrest Farm

Designated Prep Area

A defined food preparation area sits adjacent to the primary kitchen. Complete with a double sink, extensive cabinets, and plenty of counter space, this kitchen companion provides home chefs and caterers alike with ample room to create their culinary masterpieces—from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas cookies.

Hillcrest Farm

Ample Pantry

Large pantries and secondary kitchens are among the top trends in home kitchens. A butler’s pantry offers considerable storage for food and kitchen supplies and provides additional space in which to cook and clean outside of your guests’ view.

This pantry features an exquisite island, an extra sink, an additional dishwasher, and storage for cookbooks.

Hillcrest Farm

Inviting Bar

If you’re searching for an additional entertainment space, consider adding a luxurious bar and a well-stocked wine cellar. Mounted television screens and inviting bar stools fanned around a curved bar ensure that game day camaraderie will flourish in your home.

Hillcrest Farm
Hillcrest Farm

Fantastic Gingerbread Houses and Where to Find Them

‘Tis the season for sweets and traditions, and one of our favorite Gelotte Hommas Architecture traditions has arrived: the Gingerbread Village!

This year marks Seattle Sheraton’s 24th annual Gingerbread Village fundraiser. Each year, Sheraton invites culinary teams and architecture firms to join forces and craft marvelous confectionary creations. The purpose: to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

img_7875

In keeping with the “Celebrate the Magic of the Holidays” theme, we worked with our culinary team to design and construct a wizard-inspired gingerbread city scene. The display features an ornate clock tower with classic Mike and Ike stonework and peppermint detailing. Delicious Red Hot and marshmallow buildings flank the tower, and each structure boasts intricate candy corn and gummy bear ornaments. You should also note the Santa hat-clad dementors scaling the sugary walls.

img_7877

More tantalizing than the clock structure, however, is the sugary triple-decker bus complete with fondant beds and a certain bespectacled boy wizard.

img_7873

Meander around to the other side of the clock tower, and you’ll find a delightful gamekeeper’s cottage bursting with ripe pumpkins.

Scrumptious architecture designed to cure type one diabetes? What a sweet concept!

If we’ve wet your appetite, plan a visit to the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and see ours and several other magical gingerbread creations, now through January 1, 2017.

In the meantime, enjoy a few other enchanting gingerbread designs:

img_7956img_7922img_7893

GHA on Houzz

Gelotte Hommas Architecture recently woke up one morning to learn that one of our project photos had been featured in a Houzz article.

The article, “How to Live With Plants,” explores the creative incorporation of plants and flowers into home design and features projects from several great architect and design firms. The Houzz article suggests growing indoor greenery in your window sill, under a skylight, in a passageway, or even in an indoor garden. We especially appreciated the artistic use of indoor trees as partitions between rooms and the creation of a green wall to add beauty, reduce noise, and insulate heat.

Our own featured photo used dry trees to add organic movement against the geometric lines of the home. The home—Casa Del Sol—endeavors to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with numerous French doors and a master suite wrapped in glass.

Jump over to Houzz.com to explore the “How to Live With Plants” idea book as well as a plethora of other inspiring designs.

Dwelling on Windows

“I discovered windows one afternoon, and after that, nothing was ever the same.”  Anne Spollen

Windows are a key feature in most homes–especially for the Pacific Northwest natives who peak through the window each morning to determine how waterproof their shoes ought to be that day!

At one point, windows were merely small holes in the wall through which to keep watch, shoot arrows, and let in light. Over time, human ingenuity tried to fill the drafty window voids with paper, thin slices of marble, or pieces of glass. Such materials—often paired with wood or iron frameworks—provided a modest amount of light and ventilation, but sacrificed on heat and security.

Today, however, architecture enjoys a veritable feast of window options that let in light, seal in heat, control sound, and offer security for any home design. For now, let’s revel in the beauty that large windows add to a home.

Light

Inviting natural light into your home with large windows comes with a host of benefits. During daylight hours, large windows lead to significant energy savings thanks to a decreased need for artificial lighting. What’s more, studies report that natural light increases productivity and helps regulate circadian rhythms in many people.

The one downside to welcoming natural light into your home: glare. Not to worry! Current window technology offers window solutions that help minimize glare so you can revel in the natural beauty around you!

Nature

Especially in a scenic region like the Pacific Northwest, windows enable homeowners to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.

This Cedar Haven uses a wall of windows to bring the forest into the central living space.

Similarly, this contemporary home employs glass walls to welcome the waterfront into its neutral living room.

Design

Due to the influx of light and the absence of firm walls, large windows make a room appear larger than its square footage might indicate.

Large windows can also frame splendid sights outside your home, be it landscape or cityscape. A great architect will help you scout out your property’s best views and design your home with those sights in mind!

Functionality

Advancements in window technology ensure that while light shines into your home, heat or cool air doesn’t escape unnecessarily from it. In fact, well placed windows will increase your home’s energy efficiency by allowing the sun to gently warm your home in any season.

And on those perfectly temperate days, throwing open your windows allows fresh air to circulate through your house.

 

So, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for the advancements that allow us to view the changing seasons from within the warmth of our homes.

The Tangible Scar: How Simplicity and Landscape Powerfully Commemorate Fallen Soldiers

Today is Veteran’s Day—the anniversary of the end of “the war to end all wars” and an opportunity to honor all men and women who have served the United States through military duty. Today, we’ll also divert from our usual architectural genre and explore the art of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

War memorials present uniquely challenging opportunities for architects to express sacrifice, death, division, and healing within the context of a single site. Few memorials epitomize the marriage of these concepts as does Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Constructed in 1982 following a massive anonymous design competition, the Memorial Wall commemorates the lives of men and women who died or went missing in action during the contentious Vietnam War. The contest judges selected the winning design due to its promise as “an eloquent place where the simple meeting of earth, sky and remembered names contains messages for all.” The winning architect: Maya Lin, then a twenty-one-year-old Yale undergraduate.

Lin’s Memorial Wall employs simple architectural scar to evoke tangible and timeless healing through one of Washington, D.C.’s most visited monuments.

Beauty in Simplicity

vietnam_wall_above
The V-shaped Memorial Wall sinks into the earth to create quiet place for reflection.

Located within the sprawling National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall doesn’t dominate the landscape. Rather, Lin insisted that her design work with the land. “You use the landscape. You don’t fight with it. You absorb the landscape,” Lin asserts. This striking architectural principal guided the entire development of the monument, from conception to construction.

A V-shaped gabbro wall sinks into the ground and merges with the earth behind it. This “sinking” wall allows visitors to descend from the capital bustle into a cloistered space—a space where “streets and skylines disappear to leave you alone with the wall and its names. Then, as you pass the angle and begin to climb, you feel yourself emerging again into the world of noise and light after a meditative experience.” The Wall shuts out the general chaos of the world and focuses simply on the names of the fallen soldiers.

A Scar

Vietnam veterans wall satellite image.jpg
An aerial photograph of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

In addition to forming a cloistered space, the tapered walls that descend into and emerge from the earth create a visual scar on the National Mall’s landscape. The wall cuts sharply into the land, and the polished stone wall symbolizes a healed yet ever-present wound. Throughout the design process, Lin maintains that she “never looked at the memorial as a wall, an object, but as an edge to the earth, an opened side.” Her intentional design acknowledges a pain felt by veterans especially, but also by the United States as a whole.

Lin reflects, “I thought about what death is, what a loss is. A sharp pain that lessens with time, but can never quite heal over. A scar.” Thus, the Memorial Wall uses thoughtful architecture to create a visual, tangible wound that offers healing to its visitors.

Tangible

TouchWall
Photo by Skyring at English Wikipedia (GFDL).
Lin’s intentionally minimalist design magnifies the significance of the 58,307 names etched into the polished stone surface. The etched names allow visitors to run their fingers over the cuts in the stone, to feel the permanence of each name’s existence, and to contemplate the permanence of each name’s death.

In contrast with many memorials, the names on the Wall are listed chronologically instead of alphabetically. As they walk the length of the wall, veterans can find the familiar names of their fallen comrades and therein find their time of service within the larger context of the war.

A Link

The tangibility of time reflected in the Memorial Wall’s chronological names extends further to the entirety of the two-part, V-shaped wall. “The two walls were positioned,” Lin explains, “so that one pointed to the Lincoln Memorial and the other pointed to the Washington Monument. By linking these two strong symbols for the country, I wanted to create a unity between the nation’s past and present.”

US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124
Photo by Mariordo.

The Wall also noticeably reflects its surroundings, so that visitors see their faces reflected in the names. “The design is not just a list of the dead,” Lin muses. “To find one name, chances are you will see the others close by, and you will see yourself reflected through them.” Past and present merge again in the names of the fallen past and the faces of the visiting present.

Thank You

Gelotte Hommas Architecture extends our gratitude to the men and women who have served the United States through military service. We thank those service members’ families for their sacrifice and support as their loved ones serve abroad.

Finding Warmth in an Eclectic Home Library

A rich color palate and unique design elements are sure to entice any reader to this Gelotte Hommas designed library.
A rich color palate and unique design elements are sure to entice any reader to this Gelotte Hommas designed library.
All avid readers dream of a relaxing home library where they can get lost in the pages of a good book. The eclectically designed Seattle lake house, Hitari, showcases a unique, romantic` library that is sure to make any book lover salivate. Here’s how this homeowner blended tone, structure, eclectic interests, and imagination to create a vibrant library.

Tones

Rich tones make the space feel warm and intimate. From the lush, red Persian carpets, to the brown leather armchair and the golden finish of the bookshelves and balconies, rich textures and colors fill this space.

Display

zebra_library
The balcony within this library invites readers to explore a seemingly endless array of books.
An indoor balcony displays the vast collection of books. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves fill not one, but two stories in this expansive library. With the addition of the indoor balcony, one can admire the entire collection from either level.

Eclectic Unity

A custom fireplace ties the space together. By visually breaking up its wood surroundings, this gorgeous fireplace makes a bold statement while simultaneously drawing the eye up towards the second floor.

Imagination

A travel motif ignites the imagination. Exotic animals are featured all over the space, with a zebra painting on the mantle and a taxidermy grizzly grinning at the books. Globes are also prominently featured in the design, with several globes of various colors and sizes adorning the floors, and a giant map covering the ceiling of the upper story. The entrance to the upstairs portion of the library is guarded by two figureheads, perhaps warning that adventure lies within the pages of these books!

If you’re hoping to add the library of your dreams to your home, contact Gelotte Hommas today for a design consultation.

Exposed Wooden Beams Enchant in this Striking Home

The exposed wooden beams in Wood, Stone, Water highlight the home's dramatic cathedral ceiling.
The exposed wooden beams in Wood, Stone, Water highlight the home’s dramatic cathedral ceiling.

Wood, Stone, Water is a dramatic, award-winning custom home by Gelotte Hommas Architects. Its most engaging features are the ubiquitous wooden beams that encase the interior of the home. Below are three spaces where these beams are best utilized:

  • The upstairs hallways showcase a dynamic combination of wood and stone. The ceilings in this home appear to go on forever thanks to exposed support beams and the open nature of the upstairs level. The crisscrossing beams that support the ceiling elegantly intersect the giant stone wall that stands in the middle of the home. The wall provides a strong contrast to the light and airy feeling the wood evokes.
  • The dramatic cathedral ceiling creates an awe-inspiring effect. Rows of pillars and beams symmetrically frame the main living area of the house. The open, two-storied living area has several beams that run from the bottom of the room, all the way to the top, highlighting the impressive height of the ceilings. Large windows in the space connect the room with the light and nature outdoors.
  • wood_stone_water_master
    The master bedroom stuns with an intricate latticed canopy that surrounds the raised bed.

    The master bedroom stuns with its unique wood detailing. The bed in this room sits on a raised wooden platform that’s connected to a latticed canopy of the same colored wood. Up lighting and a warm brown color palette highlight the singular shapes and structures in this master suite.

If you’re hoping to incorporate impressive wood detailing into your dream home, contact Gelotte Hommas Architects today for a design consultation.

Intelligent Design: 9 Ways to Hide Your Home Tech

It’s hard to deny that advanced technology plays an increasingly important role in home comfort. Modern heating and cooling, security, entertainment, food preparation and storage, communications, and house cleaning all rely heavily on the latest available technological advancements. In fact, an estimated 14.2 million US homes currently use some form home automation, and many of these modern conveniences are merging into one integrated system easily controlled by a single tablet or smartphone.

But that timeless, 19th century marble mantle doesn’t have to play second chair to a domineering TV screen, and your meticulously arranged modern sculptures needn’t share space with bulky speakers and knotted chords.

This week, we’ll explore nine ways to keep your room’s focal point on that exquisite modernist painting and off the “71⁰” readout on your thermostat.

Retractable TV

Brookside Retreat

 

 

Your television need not take center stage in your carefully crafted family room. Instead, conceal it behind a fireplace or wall art or let it retract into the floor or ceiling. When you’re ready to relax, your TV will emerge with the tap of a button.

This homeowner installed a sleek flat screen television behind the exquisite fireplace. When desired, the TV slides horizontally from behind the stonework and covers two windows for an optimal viewing experience.

Hidden Projector

San Andreas

San Andreas Home with hidden projector in far left wall. 

A projector retracts into the ceiling in this Woodvalley residence. 

If you prefer a projector over a TV, hide it within your media room’s back wall or install a subtle lift that enables the projector to retract into the ceiling when not in use.

Retractable Screen

Media Room

Install an automated drop down projection screen in the ceiling to show off your family photos by day and catch up on the news by night.

Screen Wall

Avocado Residence

If you’re not sure about a projection screen, you could get rid of it altogether. Projection paint offers the perfect reflective surface for all your favorite shows and movies while still presenting a sleek, uninterrupted white or light gray wall in your home. Partner this paint with a hidden projector, and your guests will never know that you marathoned The Lord of the Rings the night before!

Invisible Speakers

Complete 7.2 home theater with invisible speakers

This home uses customized Louis Vuitton wallpaper to cover invisible speakers. Invisible speakers can be installed in walls or ceilings and then plastered over—no one will ever that a suspect state-of-the-art sound system hides behind your soothing sage-colored walls.

Secret Speakers

Moraya Bay Residence

Painted speaker cloth hides this home’s sound system within a custom built-in. 

Moraya Bay Residence

Make sure your sound system is heard and not seen by placing speakers within cabinets or behind specially crafted wall art. Customized speaker cloth allows cupboards and art to conceal unsightly equipment while still ensuring crystal clear sound.

Concealed Chords

Living Room Cabinets, Hidden TV Panel

The panels above this fireplace move aside to reveal the family room TV. 

With a little forethought, it’s easy to conceal television, sound system, and computer chords in molding, trim, and cornice.

Charging Drawer

Thin drawers allow this family to keep their devices charged, safe, and out of the way. 

While smartphones, tablets, and laptops offer portability, convenience, and a veritable lifeline when lost on your way to Seattle’s newest coffee shop, they can also add to the clutter and chaos of home life. To keep all of your devices in order and out of the way, add a charging drawer to your kitchen, office, or bedroom. These drawers offer inconspicuous outlets or wireless charging centers and a reliable storage space.

Integrated Automation

Under-cabinet iPad mount. 

To further eliminate clutter in your home, consolidate your heating, security, and intercom control panels onto a single integrated device using convenient apps. These home automation features may be accessed on a mini tablet magnetically attached to a wall or remotely through your personal smartphone. In addition to standard security and climate control features, you can also adjust lighting, blinds, stereo volume, TV channels, and more from a single integrated device.

Your architect or designer can help you learn more about consolidating your home tech or refer you to services that will install, maintain, and update your integrated home technology in the years to come.

Designing Peace

In light of the United Nations’ September 21sr International Day of Peace, let’s turn our attention to the architecture of Hiroshima’s Peace Center and Memorial Park.

Following the devastation of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan sought to rebuild the city and dedicate it as a national cry for peace after a long and tumultuous war. Kenzo Tange—a premier Japanese architect—was asked to lead the city’s reconstruction efforts.

dsc_0478-001
Fountain of Prayer, Hiroshima, Japan.

Tange faced a unique architectural opportunity: the chance to redesign a city without the constriction of preexisting structures. His design centered around a memorial dedicated both to the victims of the bombing and as a symbol of peace and future hope to the world.

Completed in 1955, Hiroshima’s central memorial is comprised of a large peace park at the hypocenter of the blast zone and features a memorial museum, a children’s peace monument, and the Genbaku Dome.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Center stands above the ground on large pillars, and is accessible by a free-standing staircase that allows visitors to climb up into the museum. The Peace Center is one of the few remaining examples of modern-style Japanese architecture from the 1950s. Most contemporary buildings have since been demolished.

 

hiroshima_peace_memorial_museum_2009
Peace Center Memorial, HIroshima, Japan. Photo by: Wiiii, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 2009, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Peace Center’s modular design crafted with bare, reinforced concrete allows visitors to focus fully on the exhibits contained within the structure. The structure also provides stark contrast to the shocks of vermillion, bountiful greenery, and artfully curved roofs that are so prevalent in traditional Japanese architecture. For Hiroshima, this intentionally modern design embodies the city’s desire for rebirth and longing for future peace.

The Peace Center’s windows look out across the rest of the park and frame a view of the Genbaku (“atomic bomb”) Dome, the eternal flame, and the Children’s Peace Monument.

The Genbaku Dome stands in contrast to the Peace Center and represents a rare picture of ruin within a country that constantly seeks to project the most polished and beautiful image possible. Originally a landmark exhibition hall designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel, the Dome is a raw glimpse into early twentieth century Western architecture in Japan. It’s also the only surviving building that was directly impacted by the atomic blast. The building is now permanently preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

dsc_0518-002
Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima, Japan. 

From the Genbaku Dome’s raw destruction to the Peace Center’s bare hope for the future, the Tange’s Hiroshima Peace Park walks visitors through history with architectural excellence. His design—a work that evolved over the course of the project—incorporates elements of imperialism, destruction, and modern hope to tell a story he hoped visitors would not soon forget.

A Home with a View

Eastern Inspiration

Elegant home design concerns itself not only with the home as an isolated structure, a pleasing and well-designed object in and of itself, but also with the collective interaction the home has with its surroundings.

The concept of shakkei or “borrowed scenery”—using surrounding scenery to enhance the beauty of a garden or structure—has been a foundational tenant in East Asian architecture for centuries. Instead of relying purely on human-made designs, shakkei borrows surrounding mountains, rivers, lakes, and hills to frame and magnify the beauty of a home.

For instance, this Japanese temple perches between a large pond and small mountains. The surrounding greenery both stands in contrast to the red temple and lends its natural splendor to the structure’s curved roofs and stately columns.

japanese_temple
This temple borrows the majesty of the surrounding forest and mountains to enhance its own splendor and sense of serenity.
Views from the temple’s porch frame the surrounding scenery and inspire awe and serenity in the viewer.

Modern Application

When planning your dream home, consider your home’s surroundings, and maximize the available views.

Thoughtful architects consider the natural surroundings of a home as they plan windows, doorways, and columns throughout the space. Borrowed scenery takes full advantage of available “natural resources” to invite authentic beauty into a space.

This vacation home captures an island view within the large great room windows.

san-juan-home
Island view home.
Similarly, this “Coastal Cove” home draws on views of a small lighthouse and a local harbor to bring coastal beauty into the dining room and outdoor entertaining space.

Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.
Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

While shakkei most often “borrows” natural features (mountains, harbors, etc.) to lend beauty to a space, modern architects also frame sprawling skylines or landmark structures to enhance the experience in an urban home’s interior.

Signature Work (and a sneak peak!)

This week, we’re thrilled to be one of fifty architects, interior designers, and builders featured in Structure and Design, a book that highlights residential designs from leading professionals across the nation.

structuredesign
Structure + Design: Signature Work by Leading Architects and Interior Designers

Structure and Design features glimpses into several of our favorite homes—from a Tuscan-style villa to a San Juan Islands refuge to a Pacific Northwest inspired “Cedar Haven.”

One of Gelotte Hommas’ defining features is our love of story. Every home we create celebrates the fruition of a dream—and the story behind that dream. We select a specific theme and narrative to guide our design through every home. The homes in this collection celebrate the beauty of their surroundings, the careful skill of their craftsman, and the cherished visions of our clients.

bathroom
A Tuscan-style master bath centered around a stunningly crafted bathtub. 
exterior
A Pacific Northwest inspired “Cedar Haven.”

 

While the Structure and Design hardcopies won’t release until November, you’re welcome to take a look at a digital copy of our featured work as well as the masterful creations of our colleagues across the United States. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

A Home for Tennis

When our clients dream big, Gelotte Hommas Architecture transforms zoning restrictions into creative opportunities.

Overcoming Obstacles

Recently, our tennis enthusiast clients brought us their vision for a home complete with an indoor tennis court. Local zoning laws restricted residential structures to a 25 foot height, so a standard 36 foot high indoor court was out of the question. Instead, our team dug deep and proposed to recess the tennis court beneath the custom home.

tennishome

 

This custom design brings modern elegance to life with a long-span structure set on a deep foundation. The terraced green roof provides an abundance of outdoor space, and a stunning oculus allows natural light to permeate the recessed tennis court and workout room.

Celebrating Innovation

Our “Home for Tennis” model currently sits on display alongside other innovative designs at the (un)Restricted Architectural Model Exhibit. This year, the exhibit focuses on architectural innovation in response to environmental, material, social, and economic challenges. The (un)Restricted Exhibit explores the stories behind the structures, and celebrates local ingenuity.

Eric Drivdahl attended the opening of the (un)Restricted Exhibit and snapped a few photos of the Gelotte Hommas team’s design as well as a few other curiosities. Take a look!

unRestrictedExhibit
Architect Eric Drivdahl at the (un)Restricted Architectural Model Exhibit.
AffordableHousingPods
Architects had the opportunity to add “improvements” to the Seattle skyline. Eric Drivdahl suggested adding affordable housing pods to the Space Needle.

You can visit our current model (and many others from Seattle’s best architects!) at the Center for Architecture Design now through September 23.

Interested in other models? Check out our model entry from the 14th Annual Architecture Exhibit!

A More Dramatic Curve

On Tuesday we featured doorways with curves- from just a hint to dramatic. Now let’s take a look at larger curved windows that make a bigger impact on the architecture of a home.

English Craftsman

The rectangular windows of the craftsman home are typical to many houses. They let in ample light and fit the traditional design but what if you want something more. With tall ceilings it is easy to add more windows. Sure, more rectangular windows could have worked but the semicircle brings much more interest and fun to the home.

The Garaj Mahal

Unlike the previous picture, where a rectangular window could have surfaced, nothing less than a large rounded window would work on this garage. The window mimics the curved beam overhead and makes the central focal point of the building. And when the garage door is closed there is still a great deal of natural light inside.

Glass

But the most important part of any window is the view that it affords from inside. If the curved windows in this living room were replaced with a solid wall, such a wonderful view of the sky would not be possible. All windows let in light and views but some can also add whimsy and interest to a home. So when you are dreaming of your ideal home don’t forget to consider a variety of window options to bring out the beauty of the space.

A Little Curve

Modern architecture tends to be a proliferation of straight lines but it doesn’t have to be. Adding curved elements can create whimsy and interest to the home. Rounded doors with windows are particularly nice for creating a welcoming entrance or focal point for a room.

A Storybook Cottage

These curved top french doors leading to a small balcony make the room feel romantic. A subtle curvature adds interest but it not overly dramatic or attention grabbing.

Westview Manor

To spice up this elegant entryway a double door was chosen with rounded glass at the top. This is an easy way to get this look without having to customize the door frame.

Prairie Style Architecture

For a more unique and dramatic look, a large semicircular window can cap the entryway doors. Stained glass in both the doors and the overhead window make this a truly stunning doorway.

Whether you go all out with a large semicircular window or just add a hint of curve in the door, breaking up the straight lines of a house can add interest and charm.

Erasing the Line Between Indoors and Outdoors

The world outside has always been separated from the interior of the home by walls and windows. This is great in the winter, when keeping the elements out is a home’s top priority. But what about when the weather is nice? Then the most that can be hoped for is an open window and a screen door, right? Not anymore. The newest home trend is to get rid of the wall- when you want to.

Northwest Perspective

Accordion folding doors are a growing tend that allows a larger space to be open between the outside and inside. When closed they are a solid barrier from the elements but when opened they tuck neatly away and allow two separate spaces to become one.

Glassworks Remodel

This may seem a style suited only to contemporary homes but the doors can be made to fit any style and size of home. French doors have long been the staple for opening the home to the outside but now there are more options.

Lakefront Splendor

And you don’t need to stop at just one set. This home has a combination of traditional double doors in the middle with accordion doors on either side to effectively make the entire wall disappear. They also offer wonderful views and ample natural light. Is there a place in your home that could benefit from a large accordion door?

Soaking in Serenity

A bathroom is a necessity but it can also be a luxury. A well designed layout with expertly styled decor can transform a simple bathroom into an awe inspiring space. Here are some bathrooms that are so luxurious you may never need to go to a spa again.

Classic on the Green

This traditional bathroom features a large soaking tub complemented by marble flooring and counter top. An open and airy space welcomes you to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Lakefront Splendor

For a more contemporary feel this bathroom uses cement and tile along with straight lines and darker colors. The glass shower almost disappears to create an open feel.

A Storybook Cottage

If an even more contemporary design is your style then this white minimalist bathroom might catch your eye. A unique tub and faucet are the centerpieces to the bathroom with only a few small items on the windowsill adding color.

Hillcrest Farm

For the complete opposite of the minimalist bathroom there is this grotto inspired room. The shower is tucked into a faux stone alcove while the bathtub is filled by a spring from the rock wall. A delightfully interesting space.

Whether your taste goes towards the ultra minimalist, over-the-top or somewhere in between, the architects at Gelotte Hommas can help design you a bathroom that fits your needs and style.

Setting the Stage

The area around a home can impact the way the home looks almost as much as the architecture. Landscaping that severely contrasts with the style of the home can detract from the beautiful aesthetic so it is important to give the yard some thought when designing a home. A solid plan does not have to be in place until the home is completed but getting ideas now will help the process.

Classic on the Green

A formal home deserves a formal garden. This Italian inspired home is elegantly framed with small shrubs, a perfectly manicured lawn and a few hits of colorful flowers. The landscaping intentionally draws the eye to the entrance of the home. The addition of two tall potted urns give just a hint of drama to the visual.

Woodway Manor

For the landscaping of this English manor house a mixture of formal and informal design is used. The lawn and driveway are precisely maintained but the climbing plants on the house are left to wander as they wish. The plants are trimmed so that they do not cover the windows but otherwise they are left to give the home a softer facade and to make the home look as if it has been there for a hundred years.

The Woods Outback

Not every home must be so formally landscaped. This contemporary home tucked into the woods has a meadow like feel to its landscaping. The plants and design used mimic what might have grown there naturally but with more intention of the placement. The overall effects is to pleasantly blend the home into its surroundings.

Prairie Style Architecture

Not every home has a completely flat lot. Hillsides provide an excellent opportunity to create a textured and fun landscape. Here, large stones were placed to add interest while varying textures of plants were used for contrast. Flowers are not the only way to grow a beautiful garden.

All of these homes have vastly different landscaping that compliment their architecture and bring the overall feel of the home into the outdoors.

 

 

Work-from-home Options

The home office use to be the realm of CEO’s and intrepid entrepreneurs but these days things have changed. Of course, a home office can still be used for running your business but it doesn’t have to be. Having a space to store important documents and work on home budgeting can be just as important. With the complexity of life these days sitting down once a month at the kitchen table to make a budget just won’t cut it. A home office, no matter how small or large, creates a space to get work done.

Lakeside Lookout Office

This first office is almost more of a nook than an entire room. Two work spaces with ample storage puts everything you need within reach. The style is clean and uncluttered while still being highly functional.

Classic on the Green

If a larger, and more traditional look, is what you have in mind then this office might be just the thing. The dark wood and fireplace give the impression of a banking tycoon’s office is the late 1800’s but the flat screen tv playing the financial news is all modern luxury.

Sammamish Tuscan Estate

Another office that channels that old elegance is this stately room complete with bookcase and leather tufted chairs. There is a decidedly more masculine feeling to this home office.

Home Office of Cedar Haven Home

But if a large and modern space is more to your liking then there is this home office. There is plenty of storage in the room but also incredible floor to ceiling windows for those times when your mind wanders and you need something beautiful to look at.

No matter the size or style, a home office is a functional addition to your living space which can improve organization and work flow. If a home office is in your future then let Gelotte Hommas design you one to fit your needs.

Pool Party

With the 4th of July holiday this weekend many people are probably wishing they had a pool in their backyard in which to cool off. You may think that a pool will only fit a certain type of house but these days a pool can be designed to fit with any architectural style.

Classic on the Green

When designing a pool area it is great to have multiple levels of patio and poolside space. These stairs create a dramatic entrance to the pool area and continue the classic design of the home into the outdoors.

Prairie Style Architecture

A prairie or craftsman style home is not necessarily one we associate with having a pool but they fit quite nicely together. The design here is much less formal but still creates a relaxing ambiance with plenty of space to entertain.

House in a Mountain Meadow

And contemporary homes accommodate pools particularly well. If space allows, such as it does here, having grass near the pool area extends the space and allows for games and other activities.

Keep in mind that the pools featured above are all standard sized rectangular pools. Other shapes and sizes abound that can turn your backyard into a water playground. If you are considering a pool for your new home, or hope to remodel an existing space, then contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture to learn about more options.

Paper for a Pop of Color

There are a myriad of ways to add color and interest to a room but one which we often forget about is wallpaper. This form of wall decoration got its start during the renaissance when people couldn’t get their hands on tapestries but still wanted to spruce up their rooms with large pretty pictures. Over the centuries the motifs have changed but the interest and style that wallpaper brings to a room has not.

English Craftsman

A smaller space, such as this bathroom, can handle a more vibrant print. It is important to choose a design and color scheme that fits with the other elements in the room such as a unique sink or lighting fixtures.

Westview Manor

Not all wallpaper features intricate designs. The design of the striped wallpaper above could have been achieved with paint but the installation process for the paper was much faster than watching paint dry. Also, some wallpapers come with flocking, glitter or other textures that paint can’t mimic.

Westview Manor

But the best part about wallpaper is the sheer whimsy. There are so many options these days that almost anything is possible. There are even wallpaper options with LED lights embedded in the paper and eco-friendly options made of woven grass.

Wallpaper isn’t the best fit for large rooms that have interesting architectural elements but in smaller ones, particularly bathrooms it seems, wallpaper can bring a lot of pizzazz and whimsy while complimenting the other elements in the room. Just something to think about.

Dining with Style

On Tuesday we looked at how some homes are now combining the kitchen, dining and living rooms into one large multi-use space. For some, this is a highly functional layout that fits a laid back lifestyle while others might want something more structured. So today we will look at examples of formal dining rooms which focus on entertaining and traditional family meals.

Hillcrest Farm

When we think of formal dining rooms an image similar to the one above probably pops into your mind. A sumptuously carved table is surrounded by leather seats and flanked by a pastoral painting and traditional sideboard. This is most definitely a room that would accommodate the most elegant of guests.

Classic on the Green

For a more contemporary feel there is this spacious yellow and white dining room. It still has a strong formality to the space with a chandelier and built-in china hutch but the color scheme and less ornate furnishings make it more relaxed than the previous example. This would be a lovely room for breakfast.

Westview Manor

Our final example is an eclectic mix of ornate traditional and streamlined contemporary. The glass table is thoroughly modern but the carved wood chairs bring an antique elegance. The ceiling and rug are traditional elements which are countered by the lighting fixture and contemporary styling of the display cases. All together these diverse pieces combine to create a room that is beautiful enough for a dinner party but comfortable enough for a family lunch.

If a separate dining area makes sense for you home then let Gelotte Hommas design you one that fits your level of formality.

At the Heart of the Home

Trends come and go but one that seems to be sticking around is the kitchen as the center of the home. Industry experts report that while overall home size is getting smaller, particularly in urban areas, kitchen sizes are staying the same or even getting larger. This is due to the fact that the kitchen has replaced the living room as the central gathering place for the home as well as new layouts that are more open and combine kitchen and living room into one large space.

Prairie Style Architecture

The prairie style home featured above is an excellent example of this modern trend. The kitchen is situated at one end of the room with the living room at the other and a dining area in between. The space is open and uncluttered but there is still the impression of the three distinct areas.

Northeast by Northwest: a NW interpretation of Cape Cod Architecture

This arraignment offers the same benefits of the completely open floor plan but the space feels more defined. The kitchen, along with  a dining area to the left, occupy one area while a partition and steps indicate that you have moved into a different room. However, the low wall does not disrupt the line of sight and there is still a great deal of flow between the two rooms.

Fallen Maples

This final home may be the epitome of the open space trend. Only a short wall acts as a partition between the living room and kitchen. The space also incorporates other trends such as large windows that let it natural light and high ceilings that add to the open and spacious feeling of the home.

If you are thinking about making the kitchen the center of your new home, or need to knock down a few walls in an existing home, then Gelotte Hommas architecture is here to help you design the perfect space for your needs.

Heart of the Home

We all tend to think that the living room, or perhaps the dinning room or patio, is going to be the social hub of the home but in the end everyone ends up in the kitchen. The kitchen also doubles as a homework help center, home office and snack station. So even if you aren’t a gourmet chef, or have aspirations to be one, the kitchen is still an integral part of the home and deserves a great deal of consideration.

Lakeside Lookout Kitchen

A large kitchen with a Mediterranean feel might fit your needs. The openness of the space makes it easy to move around and when all the party guests migrate into the room it won’t feel cramped. A neutral color scheme with hints of color make it a relaxing space to start your morning.

Concrete Floored Abode - a cabin on Lake Wenatchee

But maybe relaxing isn’t your thing. This vibrant kitchen will help you start your day. Red cabinets and a jazzy back-splash add color and excitement to this galley style layout. The large island with plush seating on one side also make it great for intimate and casual entertaining.

English Craftsman

Not everyone needs a flashy cooking space or one that is as big as some apartments. Quaint and rustic might be right up your alley. This craftsman style kitchen may be smaller in size but it still features all the necessary amenities. The semicircle design creates flow through the space and the openness to the living room allows traffic to enter and exit easily.

Each of these kitchens is distinct from the other but they all off a well designed layout which fits the homeowners needs and creates a pleasant place to linger. What does your dream kitchen look like? The architects at Gelotte Hommas can design a kitchen that fits your needs and style.

Escape to the Mountains in Contemporary Style

Mountains are majestic. Meadows are relaxing. Put them together and you have the perfect location for a home- a Mountain Meadow. This contemporary home is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape and be as unobtrusive as possible, however, this does not compromise the view nor the style one bit.

Mountain Style Pacific Northwest Architecture

A low concrete wall divides the home into two sections. One side has tall ceilings with large windows that capture the stunning view. The other side contains the smaller and more private rooms of the home. Both sides have a clean and modern style.

House in a Mountain Meadow

A wall of windows and a multitude of skylights mean this home is awash in natural light whenever the sun is up. But when it goes down the views are just as stunning.

House in a Mountain Meadow

Contemporary homes are versatile and can be designed to fit beautifully into a variety of landscapes. There are few constraints on how bold or subtle a modern home can be and new materials are being produced to last longer and still look amazing.

Spiraling Upwards

Have you ever wanted to see more of that gorgeous staircase at the top of our website? Well this is your chance. That beautiful spiral staircase is part of Hillcrest Farm and works its way up the observation tower.

At the base is a nearly life-size bear statue accompanied by a small garden area.

It is a bit of a hike to the top of the tower but luckily there are a few landings that allow you to stop and catch your breath.

Wood, stone and metal combine to create a contemporary staircase with a slightly medieval feel.

Hillcrest Farm

The stairs are situated in a stone observation tower in the middle of the home. The view at the top makes it fun, rather than a chore, to get your daily exercise.

Your home may not require a multi-floor spiral staircase but the architects at Gelotte Hommas can still design you something spectacular to fit your needs.

Updated View

Remodeling a home can take as much work, if not more, than designing and building one from scratch. To be done properly, the remodel must take the original structure and meld new ideas and materials with it to create a cohesive design. The Lakefront Spender home is an excellent example of taking an uninspiring original design and creating a luxurious and contemporary new space.

Patio

This home began its life as a monochromatic box in the 1980’s. To revitalize the structure, new materials were added for texture and color. Rich wood paneling gives the home a warmer and more inviting feeling while pergolas above the patios add interest and change the shape of the home.

Color palette #4

Adding more color to the home was an important element of the remodel but it had to be the right color. The graphic above shows the color palettes used for three different areas of the home. Even though they have distinct color palettes the overall tone is the same and there are no jarring differences in color when transitioning from one space to another.

Lakefront Splendor

As mentioned previously, details were very important for this project. Here you can see a section of stairs and railing. This style of open floating stairs were popular when the home was built but the elegant wood of the step and industrial metal of the railing create a decidedly contemporary look.

Remodeling an existing structure has its constraints but a creative architect can see the potential in the bones and design an exquisite new home.

Contemporary Design in the Pacific Northwest

Not all homes in the Pacific Northwest are log cabins. Contemporary architecture is thriving in the Northwest and we have our own particular take on it. This Northwest Perspectives home is a perfect example of this. The home is modern and functional without being cold and aloof. As proof, just look at this stunning concrete fireplace.

Northwest Perspective

We often don’t think of concrete or cement being a high end building material but when done right it can really shine, literally. This versatile material can be stained and buffed to look nothing like its drab sidewalk cousin. The fireplace in this home has a smooth finish in a neutral gray tone. It is a statement piece that is not overpowering.

Northwest Perspective

Throughout the home an emphasis was made to have clean lines and open spaces. This shelving wall creates a sense of privacy without completely closing off the room. Air and light flow freely through it while at the same time being an excellent display area for art and collectibles.

Northwest Perspective

Even the shower has a very contemporary design. No fancy tile mosaics or claw foot tubs, although there are a few amenities. The bench and built-in shelf offer a place to set toiletries while the two separate shower heads provide luxurious options for cleanliness.

Contemporary Northwest homes capture the stylish yet relaxed atmosphere of the region. If this style speaks to you then contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture to see what we can design that fits both your style and needs.

Living It Up Outside

Technically, summer does not start for another 20 days or so but don’t tell that to the weather.  It is now the perfect temperature to enjoy your beautiful new outdoor living space. What’s that? You don’t have one? Well then here are some idea that just might inspire you to create one.

2012 Trends: Outdoor living spaces get the spotlight

At the moment the weather is cooperating with sun and perfect temperatures but that is not always the case. Here in the soggy northwest we can get rain any time of year and it can really put a damper on a party. Solution? A large covered seating area with fireplace offers protection from the elements and warmth while still enjoying the great outdoors. Marshmallow roasting is a bonus feature.

2012 Trends: Outdoor living spaces get the spotlight

Maybe you are not interested in hiding from the elements but want to soak up as much sun as possible. This rustic landscape can be designed to require very little water but still provide a lush green feel. Chairs can be placed around the stone fire ring or the area can be left open for ample walking space.

2012 Trends: Outdoor living spaces get the spotlight

But if it is a pool that your heart is set upon then a pool it must be. Whether large or small they all provide a cooling place to relax. Add an adjoining hot tub and you practically have your own personal spa.

Whichever outdoor living space fits your needs Gelotte Hommas can help you design and build it. And the sooner you start, the sooner you will be relaxing.

 

 

Cozy Guest House

We all want our guests to feel welcome and in this Touch of Normandy guest house they will feel so welcome they might never leave. Normandy is in the northwest region of France and is known for cheese and a dramatic coastline along with historic architecture. Many old buildings survive, from quaint thatched roof cottages to expansive stone country estates. This is the design aesthetic which influenced this charming guest house.

A Touch of Normandy

The fireplace is the centerpiece for many older homes as this was the main source of heating. This is not the case with this modern interpretation but the fireplace does add elegance to the room and a cozy feel. Above, dark wood beams hint at the rustic origins of the Norman style.

A Touch of Normandy

The upper floor of the guest house encompass a sitting area and bedroom. The vaulted ceilings of the upper floor are typical of the style and simply follow the pitch of the roof. Again the structural beams are visible and the upstairs features a fireplace as well.

A Touch of Normandy

Because this is a guest home the kitchen was designed to be of minimal size. It may be small but it is still fully functional. A farmhouse sink and country style cabinetry help it to continue the aesthetic of the home. Every detail of this home has been designed to take advantage of the small size and make it feel large and inviting. If your guest quarters need an overhaul then Gelotte Hommas Architecture can help.

Grand English Manor

As soon as you pull up to the Woodway Manor you make think you have crossed the pond to jolly old England. Nestled in a park like setting this grand home is over 5,000 square feet of impeccably detailed architecture and design. Extensive renovations and additions give the home an eclectic feel but all of the components meld together into one elegant home.

Woodway Manor

The main entrance is understated and feels more like a country cottage than a grand estate. Details such as the leaded glass windows lend an historic feel to the property while the landscaping would make any English gardener proud.

Woodway Manor

The home also pulls influences from other European countries. This ample side patio feels more Mediterranean than English, perhaps due to the fact that the British weather does not dictate the necessity for such a sun worshiping space.

Woodway Manor

Another element that is not normally found at an English manor is this stunning pool and cabana. It just goes to show that styles and influences can be combined to create something that is more than the sum of its parts.

Woodway Manor

You may be dreaming of a home with a certain style but also wishing for elements not normally associated with that style. The creative and experienced architects of Gelotte Hommas can work with you design a home that has the style you want with the elements you need.

Soak in the Sun

Some homes are just designed for relaxation. From the layout to the materials there are certain spaces that have the ability to calm. This Casa del Sol home is a perfect example of a home which will make you want to put your feet up and let time drift by.

Casa Del Sol

An open floor plan lets the living room flow into the kitchen and dining area. And with such ample windows and doors the deck feels part of the living space as well. The beautiful wood ceiling complements the stone floor and brings a natural feel to the room.

Casa Del Sol

The sun plays a large roll in this home which tries to capture as much of it as possible but sometimes you just need to soak it in directly. The large deck area offers gorgeous views and a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Casa Del Sol
As the sun goes down this luxurious bathtub is the ideal place to enjoy a sunset. A full day in a home such as this is better than a week at a spa. This home was specifically designed for the owners needs and desires so it perfectly reflects their lifestyle. If you are planning a new home then Gelotte Hommas can design you one that can relax you, inspire you or delight you.

The Beauty of the Great Indoors

The pacific northwest is known for its rustic beauty and pristine forests. Many of us live here because we love the great outdoors and it makes sense that we could want to bring that aesthetic into our homes. Cedar Haven is an amazing example of incorporating nature into a unique and luxurious home.

Side Exterior of Cedar Haven Home

It starts on the exterior of the home with the use of rough hued tree trunks as support columns and balusters. The trunks individual dimensions were taken into consideration and a hole was even cut in the roof of the overhang to accommodate this uncommon element.

Hallway of Cedar Haven Home

Inside, the use of natural material continues. Combining wood and glass in an unexpected way accentuates the organic nature of the wood while still providing privacy.

Staircase of Cedar Haven H ome

Organic curves are a key element to this modern yet rustic home. Each element was specifically chosen or designed to give the occupant the feeling of being in nature while also being clean and precise. Like camping in the woods without the dirt and bugs.

If you would like to bring natural elements into your home but don’t know where to begin then let the architects at Gelotte Hommas help you create a space that fits your personal needs.