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.

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. 

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.

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.

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!


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!