Crafting a Healthy Home

A healthy home is a happy home. So goes the old adage. And there’s truth to it. We spend forty to fifty percent of our lives in our homes–sleeping, cooking, entertaining, viewing Netflix. That’s why the healthiness of a home is crucial to the well-being of its inhabitants. Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture understands the importance of a home’s overall health, and we factor this into the design and materials we incorporate into each custom home.

Despite the advances in our understanding of human health and how various chemicals and materials impact the environment, modern homes often still lack the details necessary to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. We’ve gathered a few simple, healthy living tips to help you maintain a healthier home.

A Touch of Normandy Tradtional + Design Design + Interior

Watch Where You Sit

Cushions, throw pillows, and upholstery collect dust, dander, and skin cell particles over time. Factor these plush items into your cleaning rotation, and replace them when they get too worn.

Reduce Clutter

Unnecessary clutter collects dust, creates stress, and hampers productivity–all negative factors for your health. Donate items you don’t use regularly and clear up space to enjoy the home design you so diligently crafted.

Designing an in-home art gallery


Light refreshes the body and soothes the soul, especially in the Pacific Northwest where winter brings an increase in seasonal affective disorder. When designing or remodeling a home, make natural light a priority. If you still need more light, add mirrors and bright-colored finishes to your decor to maximize what natural light is available.

…and Airy

When building a healthy home, selecting the perfect HVAC system is important. However, that HVAC system must be regularly maintained to ensure that it provides proper ventilation and keeps the air clean. Consider a quarterly maintenance check to ensure you’re breathing the best, most efficient air. Adding houseplants to your interior decor adds vibrant life to your home and further cleanses the air, ensuring that your HVAC circulates the purest air possible.

Clean Cleaners

Nearly 85% of the dirt in your home comes in on your shoes. Place doormats outside entrances and remove your shoes as soon as possible to significantly decrease the amount of dirt you track in. For the dirt and germs that do cross your threshold, opt for nontoxic cleaning agents. More and more nontoxic cleaners are emerging on the market, and choosing them can help reduce indoor air pollution.

The Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture team constantly collects information on the healthiest, most effective building materials, and we’d be honored to create a safe, happy, healthy home for you and your loved ones.

A New Old House

Two philosophies prevail when it comes to home additions: to make it bold or to make it blend.

Prague’s Dancing House exemplifies a bold, new addition to an old neighborhood. The deconstructionist-style structure stands in stark contrast to the gothic and art nouveau buildings around it. Dancing House certainly makes a statement, but some argue that it’s too much for its setting.

By Andrés Nieto Porras from Palma de Mallorca, España – 58/365²: El inevitable paso del tiempo, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Other projects require a more tender approach to design. Woodway Manor, for instance.

Originally constructed in the 1920s, the European-style home needed twenty-first century updates, repairs, and added space. Yet the homeowners desired to respect the manor’s original character. Curt Gelotte and Eric Drivdahl diligently molded the home’s remodels and additions to blend seamlessly with the old. They delved into the home’s rich history–including early contributions from Elizabeth Ayers, Washington State’s first female architect–and allowed that evolving story to inform the project.


The result? A seamless melding of old and new. The poolside entertaining pavilion, the gift wrapping room, and the sports den look as authentic to the estate as the living room and library.

The kitchen features quality amenities while conveying an air of timeless charm with imported Tuscan tile and retrofitted antique fixtures. Outside, verdant landscaping hugs the home and vines climb the walls for a touch of Old World whimsy.


Thus, for the lover of history and traditional style, remodels and additions need not sacrifice character and charm. Diligent design and attention to detail brings out the best in an old home even while adding a harmonious modern twist.

Capturing the Vision

It’s been just over a month since we welcomed Eric Drivdahl as a name partner at Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture, and we want to provide you with a glimpse of what allows him to thrive as a custom residential architect in Seattle.

What draws you to work each day?

Eric: The greatest success is when we listen intently enough to capture exactly our client’s vision and we’re then able to interpret that into their dream home. That’s the home run, which we try to hit every time.

It’s an adventure that we get to have with the client, crafting a home for them.

It’s always hard because there’s a lot of constraints on that effort: time, budget. Within each family, people have different ideas of what they want in their home. There’s all these different things that weigh into the home, all these different paths. It’s an adventure that we get to have with the client, crafting a home for them. We get the privilege of guiding them through that, helping them make the decisions when they’re faced with constraints of any sort and still achieving the dream. We’re distinctly privileged to work with some amazing clients who have a vision for a home, to build these incredible homes.


Is this where you envisioned you’d be?

Eric: My real passion interest through college and through the first years of my career was historic work. I love old buildings. I’m fascinated by them. I love their craft and the materials that they used and the proportions that they used. In my mind, a building that was built a hundred years ago was a better building than a lot of buildings that get built today. They were built to last. There was quality inherent in the work. That’s why a lot of these buildings are still around. You look at a lot of the housing stock that gets built today, and they’re not hundred-year homes. In forty years, they’re old and tired and need to be completely redone. You walk into a 100 year old, terracotta clad masonry building with marble inlay floor and it’s just as beautiful now.

We get to recreate that quality, that permanence, that visual delight that a lot of older buildings have.

So I had this fascination with historic structures. I did a lot of that work in Ohio. When I moved back to Seattle, I was offered the project architect role in the State Capitol renovation project in 2001, but I turned it down to come work with Curtis Gelotte. I was fascinated by the work Curt and Scott were doing. They recreated these old homes. Some of them are traditional or classical in style, so we get to recreate that quality, that permanence, that visual delight that a lot of older buildings have. It was a fascinating opportunity to do work aligned with my passion, but in a new way. We get to build new “old” houses.


Are you a convert to residential design?

Eric: Ultimately, I fell in love with residential design. I came out of doing a lot of commercial work and working for institutions and corporations. When you’re doing a home, you’re working with an individual family, and the personal care and attention that the client has for the project and that you have for the client is so much more rewarding because it’s relationship-based. It’s all about your relationship with the client and with the project, which is what I love. That’s a strength of mine. I love relationship.

We’d welcome the opportunity to build a relationship with you and help you translate your dream home into reality. Please contact us for more info.

Teamwork in Design

Steve Jobs once said that “great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.“ We’re inclined to agree.

And while Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl is a gifted, creative group of artists, our team extends to the contractors and vendors we work with. After all, that’s why we look forward to Gelato, Hummus, and Drinks every year–it’s our opportunity to celebrate and catch up with the people who partner with us in the art of architecture.

We’re privileged to partner with people who share our passion for enduring homes, molded perfectly to fit lives as unique as our clients’. Real Sliding Hardware is one of our partners. Located in our own Seattle, Washington, RSH emphasizes craftsmanship, excellence, and innovation in interior sliding barn doors and barn door hardware.

We used one of RSD’s barn door designs to provide a seamless flow from Cedar Haven’s main living space into the hallway. The doors captured the rustic-modern look that the homeowners desired and added to the illusion that the house grew out of the forest–that every inch of the home belongs in that space.

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That level of attention to detail is essential in the design of a dream home. Every inch–from shingles to stairways to doors–speaks to the character of the house and the lives of our clients. 

And we’re grateful for our colleagues who share our passion for intentionality and excellence in design.