The Self Sufficient House: A Zero Energy Home

The Built Green Conference had so many wonderful ideas for discussion, we couldn't help but share.

If you weren’t able to attend the 2011 Built Green Conference, then we hate you missed out, but we do have some great information on what’s going on in the green focused architectural community around Bellevue and Seattle. One of the ideas that we loved to see discussed at the conference was that of a Zero Energy Home (ZEH).

So what is a Zero Energy Home? A ZEH is a home that is self sufficient–It provides what it needs to consume, and has its own cycle that allows the people within it to save on costs and to lesson their carbon footprint on the planet. Though a home that generates the same amount of energy as it consumes may seem more futuristic, there have already been plenty of homes built that meet this criteria, or at least come within reach. The Zero Energy Home is a great goal for the eco-friendly design and architecture community, and we look forward to seeing how it develops.

What are your thoughts on a ZEH?

Functional Architecture: The Beauty and the Brawn

When people look at homes in shelter magazines, they discuss how beautiful a space is, and how much they would love to have aspects A, B, and C in their soon to be constructed space. Yet, when you sit down with someone to discuss what features they would like in their home, they’re likely to discuss issues they have with their current space, and what problem solving, functional features would be great to have.

Great design is about marrying form and function, beauty and brawn, to create a cohesive, well designed space that is both beautiful to the eye and appreciated by the mind for it’s functionality. We recently featured photos from Vista Ridge Imaging in our Northest by Northwest Project that display these ideals well:

A classic library design gets a modern spark and a fresh feel.

Built in bookcases in the library keep the the space uncluttered and unencumbered, while the spacing of the shelves allows for larger titles and a sleek, spacious modern feel that keeps the room from feeling stuffy.

The kitchen island now works for prep and for guests.

Single level islands often put anyone on a bar stool in the thick of food preparation rather than allowing them a place as a comfortable spectator. By raising a portion of the island, we create an interesting silhouette while also adding seating space and more room to work.

Adding a recessed space adds architecture interest and useful areas to the room.

This dining room has a recess that may seem just for show, but it also keeps a buffet out of the way of the main room, so guests can walk without dodging furniture. Closets in the dining room provide great storage for special china, linens, and more.

Add function and beauty to your home to create a harmonious and beautiful place that you’ll cherish for years to come. For help with this aspect of your new home’s design, contact Gelotte Hommas today.


Home For a Lifetime: Creating a Home For All Stages in Life

When designing a home, many people consider what they need right now, whether it’s a two bedroom starter home for a new couple, a small cabin for empty nesters, or a four bedroom house with a spacious layout and nice backyard for a growing family. Gelotte Hommas tries to leave as small of a carbon footprint as possible when designing a new home for someone or while remodeling their current one. Though you may take care to examine green design for the homes that you build, it’s also important to think about the environmental impact of the number of homes you’ll inhabit. One family decided to design their first home as their “forever home”, creating a space that they plan to enjoy as they raise their children and on into their elderly years.

David and Mayuku plan to enjoy this home for the rest of their lives. Photographed by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao for Dwell.

David and Mayuko Lai, as featured in Dwell, took five years to design their home. In it they feature elements of universal design so that it will accommodate their young family now and them as they age. One of the most interesting aspects of their story was that they had the freedom to give the home little touches that they knew would be great for them, without having to consider how it might effect future residents or the resale value of their home.

What kind of changes would you make to your home, or what features would you include in a new build, to make it more of your forever home? Tell us about them in a comment.

Upcoming Events For Gelotte Hommas, Including the Built Green Conference

Architects are an active, engaging group that thrive on interaction, creativity, and the exchange of ideas. Any given month, there’s usually at least one big event in the world of architecture, but September is looking to be an intensely busy month. To keep you up to date on the happenings at Gelotte Hommas, we’ve included our up and coming events:

  •  The Built Green Conference is just days away on the 14th at Pickering Barn in Issaquah. Our very own Eric Gelotte will be speaking at the conference, discussing how using local merchants add to the greenness of a home, as well as offering information on who/what they are in the area.
The Built Green Conference and Festival is a great event for those interested in green architecture and how to make your designs and builds more eco-friendly.
  • On the 17th of September, we’ll be attending an open house for a client that we assisted with a wonderful remodel on the Sammamish plateau. We designed the space and then the client built the design over the course of five years–An open house is definitely earned after a half decade of labor!
Many bungalows have their style and charm displayed on the exterior of the space, like our Kirkland Bungalow.
  • Our big event for September,  The Bungalow Fair, will take place on the 24-25 in Seattle. We will be attending and speaking at the fair, with Scott and Eric leading a discussion on “How to teach an old house new tricks”. The talk will focus on how you can add bungalow charm to an existing newer home to add vintage elements and character. Gelotte Hommas loves bungalow style, as you can see from our work on the Medina BungalowBungalow on the Beach and Kirkland Bungalow.
Scott's talk at the Bungalow fair will help you add bungalow charm to your existing home, with wonderful interior additions like this one, in our Medina Bungalow.

We’re ecstatic about these upcoming events, and are excited to share them with you here. Will you be attending either of the conferences or the open house? If so, tell us in a comment!

Green Design: The Longevity of Your Home

If you have noticed from our blog posts, Gelotte Hommas puts great emphasis on the power and principle of green living and design. By creating sustainable homes, we ensure that each of our creative and inspired spaces puts as little burden on the environment as possible, while ensuring that its occupants enjoy their space. While we’ve talked about materials, design techniques, and energy efficient additions that make a house green, we’ve yet to discuss another important aspect of eco-friendly architecture and life: Longevity.

Learn more about how one family built their home to last them their lifetime in our next post, as pictured in this photo by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao for Dwell.

The longer you use something, the longer you go without replacing it. In today’s world, the concept of having a different home to fit each stage of your life is common. On average, you’ll buy about three homes in your lifetime: A starter home, a home for your family, and an empty nest abode.

Each one of these homes is another space that you’ll use, change, remodel, build, or somehow impact the environment with your time there. Even just hiring the moving truck to transfer from one location to the other detracts from your sustainable lifestyle.

Start thinking about how you can make your home last a lifetime instead of a mere 5-7 years. Check out our blog on Monday to read about one family that built their home for a lifetime, and how you can make your space adapt to you walk in life.

How long have you lived in your home?


Cascade Joinery Highlights Gelotte Hommas Architecture

Thanks to Cascade Joinery, who did the timber work on our “Cedar Haven” project in Carnation, Wash., for highlighting Gelotte Hommas Architecture in its blog post “It’s in the Details.” The post champions the detailed craftsmanship demonstrated by both Cascade Joinery and Gelotte Hommas in the collaborative home project, built by Hamish Anderson Custom Homes, and sites our firm as producing some of its favorite designs. What can we say? We keep good company. Thanks again, Cascade Joinery!

Here’s a peek at the synergy we achieved in creating this timber-framed balcony:

Extensive use of timber throughout the home

Check out more photos and details about “Cedar Haven”, a sophisticated 8,500 square-foot woodland retreat, featuring:

A petrified stump found on the property featured under the open trellis foyer makes for a very dramatic entry

Accenting Your Home’s Architecture with Paint

The interior design that went into this home after it was designed by Gelotte Hommas truly stands out as a great example of how to accent the architectural elements of your home through paint and decor. Each of the homes designed by Gelotte Hommas has special features and small touches to accent their over all aesthetic. You can choose to show off these little accents in your home with how you style it.

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider Photography.

In the room above, styled by Gregory Carmichael Interior Design, you can see how the details of the molding and the ceiling are accented by paint. A glossy white accents the molding, while having a contrasting color on the ceiling brings attention to the interesting elements of the space. The large windows in the dining area are brought to your attention as the darker color that borders them stands out from the lighter walls.

Simple accents like the ones above can take your home from “Oh, this is nice” to “Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous!” Start accenting your home today, or adding architectural interest to your space with Gelotte Hommas.