Ideas for Building a Stone Fireplace

designing a fireplace

A stone fireplace adds special character to your home. It’s a centerpiece that sets the mood of your living room, and even of your entire home. Not all stone fireplaces are created equal, however. Here are a few ideas to help you choose the fireplace design that’s right for your home.

designing a fireplace
  • Country-Style: Create a country-style fireplace by using granite blocks arranged in rustic stacks without any mortar. This style, which is often referred to as dry stacking, is wonderful when paired with light-colored walls. The gray granite blocks make your room look larger when the fire is glowing inside of them.
  • Bold: For a very bold, outstanding look, a tall fireplace that reaches from the floor to the ceiling is a wonderful choice. It looks especially impressive if paired with a vaulted ceiling. When designing a home, you need a special feature like this to be the focal point. Setting it against white or light-colored walls makes it stand out even more. Because of the height of this type of fireplace, you’ll need to use strong stone material and mortar made to withstand the weight.
  • The freestanding fireplace: Create a freestanding fireplace by relying on sturdy, cultured stone. Whether you choose a floor-to-ceiling design or a shorter one, this type of fireplace allows you to create interesting patterns with the stones, thus decreasing your need for additional decoration in the surrounding area. What makes a fireplace freestanding? It can be installed without reinforcing floor joists.

If you need help designing a home that is brimming with the true art of architecture, be sure to contact us at Gelotte Hommas Architecture. Our Seattle-area professional architects can put together a comprehensive plan for designing your dream home.

Ideas for Adding an Artful Wine Cellar to Your Home

wine cellar design ideas

If you love sipping on a glass of vino at the end of a long day, than your new home simply must feature a wine cellar. When designing a home, you have many wine cellar options.

Here is a look at some of the more artful choices:

wine cellar design ideas
  • Reserve Wine Racking System. This wine racking system allows you to see each bottle’s label, so you never have to sort through bottle after bottle to find the perfect one for your dinner party. It also shows off your collection as it grows. Bottles are displayed on an angle on lower shelves, and then laid on their sides, with the labels showing, on upper shelves. Let Gelette Hommas Architecture help you design the beautiful wooden racks needed for this type of system.
  • Custom X-Style Storage. Storing wine in x-style storage shelves allows you to keep a large amount of wine in a smaller space. Using stone and beautiful mohogany wood creates a warm, inviting touch. Of course, you can custom design your wine cellar to feature a few upper shelves where you can leave your more popular bottles displayed vertically for easy reference.
  • Nek Rite System. This is a unique system that uses metal pegs to hold bottles in place horizontally. You can use it throughout your entire wine cellar, or integrate it into part of a larger wood design. It has a high-end, modern look, but is an affordable choice.

Designing a home can be an overwhelming burden to undertake without guidance. There are so many choices to make, and if you don’t have a lot of experience, even the simplest of choices can be overwhelming. Let the experienced architects and designers at Gelotte Hommas Architecture guide you though the process. Contact us today to get started.

Choosing a Home Style? Think Grand With a Mountain Home

mountain home design style

Wouldn’t you like your home to stand out from the crowd? If you’re more interested in standing out in a good way than in blending in with the masses, consider making your next home a mountain home. Our talented Seattle-area architects and design experts at Gelotte Hommas Architecture can guide you through the process of designing a home that you’re happy to call your own.

mountain style home design

Traditional American mountain homes date back to the 19th century. This style was well-suited to the wooded, sloped land in the Blue Ridge and Adirondack Mountains, and it evolved out of the need to create homes that did not get bogged down by the heavy rain and and snow. The gable roofs, which are a prime example of mountain home architecture, accomplished this goal. Big, rustic timbers are used to support these roofs and also to form the sides of the home. It is these rustic timbers that give mountain homes their signature look.

Another prime characteristic of mountain homes is a stone foundation. This makes the home sturdy, anchoring it to uneven land. This adds to the rustic look of a mountain home. Often, stone chimneys are used to compliment the exposed stone foundations.

If you love large windows and plenty of sunlight, a mountain home is certainly for you. These homes feature large picture windows, which allow you to look out onto your land and the surrounding countryside. Most also have large, homey porches, which are perfect for enjoying a meal outdoors or an evening under the stars.

At Gelotte Hommas Architecture, we take pride in helping our clients create homes that exceed their expectations, both functionally and visually. Contact us to learn more about our services and start designing your new Seattle-area home.

Home Design Considerations: Light or Dark Wood?

contrast light and dark wood

You’re designing a home, and you’ve decided that you love the look of wood. Should you go with light or dark wood? This is a common question that comes up, and there is no correct answer. Both light and dark wood have their merits and drawbacks, and you must consider these carefully when making your choice.

contrast light and dark wood

Dark Wood

  • Dark wood is great for creating a rustic look, especially when it’s used for floors. Pair dark wood with neutral colored walls to create a timeless look. If you use textured decor, it intensifies the look.
  • Dark wood holds its color better than light wood, meaning that it’s the same color after 15 years as it was when you first installed it.
  • A downfall of dark wood is that it shows dings more easily than light wood. You may have to touch these up with stain or a wood pen.
  • Dark wood also tends to make small rooms seem smaller, thus it’s not usually the best choice in smaller dens, hallways or bedrooms.

Light Wood

  • Light wood creates a beautiful contrast when paired with dark-colored walls. This is a more modern look than the look created with dark wood.
  • An advantage to light wood is that it does not show dings and dents easily.
  • Light wood is less prone to fading in sunlight than dark wood, making it a good choice in rooms with lots of sunlight.
  • Light wood sometimes darkens with age, meaning that it may be darker in 15 years than it is when you install it.

Are you in the process of designing a home? We would be happy to help you make it the home of your dreams. Contact us at Gelotte Hommas Architecture to learn more about our interior and exterior design services.

Understanding Architecture Through Music

music in architecture

Sometimes the best way to truly understand one art form is through the words of another. Even though 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 various 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 intricate details 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. So 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, 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. To find out how to incorporate some of these musical notes into your next project, contact us today.

How to Make Architecture Efficient

efficiency in architecture

Efficiency is a popular idea in construction and design, although it is usually attached to energy and how to use less of it. Architecture trends, however, have plenty of room to accommodate design efficiency – especially in terms of space and materials. Here are some ways to incorporate efficiency into architecture and achieve great results.

efficiency in architecture
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Think “Tract House”. Don’t cringe yet – tract house doesn’t have to mean “plain and unoriginal”. The idea is to apply the method of construction while still creating beautiful designs. Using standard construction methods such as 2-by-6 frames, trussed roofs, and taking advantage of prefabricated components means that construction can move quickly and efficiently and carpenters have fewer plans to learn.
  • Shrinking Square Footage. Homes in America have been growing and growing in size over the last several decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century. However, the economic climate over the last several years combined with a focus on energy efficiency has led to a revival of the small home. Skilled architects can create open, airy, and comfortable homes that echo the mid-century concepts of simplicity and minimalism and use a fraction of the square footage used in the McMansions of the 1990s.
  • Finish For Less. High-end finishes used to be a must-have: a new kitchen without stainless steel and granite was unthinkable ten years ago. Today’s finishes are more creative, flexible, and budget-friendly and when paired with good design they are just as beautiful. Shop around for materials and negotiate for deals.

Incorporating efficiency is one of many architecture trends that will continue to be in the forefront of design. To learn how Gelotte Hommas can incoporate efficient designs in your next project, contact us.

Getting In Touch With the Vernacular Style

vernacular style architecturevernacular style architecture

Hearing about the local vernacular when it comes to language is probably familiar to most people. Discussing a region’s vernacular architecture style, however, may be less common although the idea is the same. A vernacular architecture style is one that is native to an area and its people. It often has functional elements that are necessary for the local climate, and decorative aspects that are inspired by nature.

vernacular style architecturevernacular style architecture
Source: Gelotte Hommas’ Portfolio

Examples of Vernacular Architecture

Because vernacular style is dependent on the location, it can be difficult to truly define. The best way to understand it is by example so we’ve collected a few:

  • Scandinavian design often incorporates white walls. This was done to help brighten the home during long, dark winters and now the design element is part of the area’s vernacular.
  • Adobe homes are perfectly at home in the Southwest landscape. The earthen textures and colors make the structures feel like they grew on the hillside with bright colors added to showcase important elements.
  • Steeply pitched roofs, end gables, and a simple cottage look serve an important function of these types of homes in the Northeast. The roofs are pitched to keep snow off, and the low and long shape of the home keeps wind from causing damage. Over time, these functional homes became part of the landscape and define the architecture style of the area.

What area’s vernacular speaks to you? To learn how Gelotte Hommas Architecture can help you incorporate the local vernacular, or elements of a more exotic vernacular, into your home, contact us today.

Architectural Design Inspiration: Soaring Cantilevers

implementing Cantilevers

When it comes to drama, no architectural feat will ever outdo the cantilever. Anchored only at one end, the cantilever appears to defy gravity as it juts out from the main structure of a building, appearing to hover in mid-air. As with many architecture trends, cantilevers are more than just a source of beauty, they also serve important functions in building design.

implementing Cantilevers
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Add Dimension. Besides creating visual interest, adding dimension can also make a structure appear larger and contribute to the overall value of the project. Cantilevers break up long, straight walls from the outside and make a building feel expansive from the inside.
  • Utilize Outdoor Space. By raising portions of the structure off the ground without intrusive supports, outdoor space becomes more open and useable. Similarly, if outdoor space is very unusable – perhaps a steep hill or jutting boulders – a cantilever can be extended over the area and not only provide extra usable space, but often a spectacular view from the cantilevered room as well.
  • Define Spaces. A cantilevered second-floor room can define the sitting area of a patio below. The bottom of the cantilever becomes the “ceiling” of the patio and the shadow created contributes to the illusion of a boundary while providing shade from the sun.

At Gelotte Hommas Architecture, we specialize in combining the functional needs of each project with dramatic and interesting effects for our clients. Contact us today to see how we can create a true work of art for you.