Exploration Through Collaboration

Excellent home design is born from exploration and collaboration.

When a family of five approached Scott Hommas with their vision for a custom family home, they assumed they needed a traditional style house to blend with the rest of their neighborhood. Scott showed them otherwise.

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Throughout the design process, the initial traditional concept morphed as the homeowners expressed preferences for specific stylistic choices. Flat roofs, large windows, and clean lines won out out as the homeowners began to realize that their home–beautiful and splendid in its unique design–didn’t have to mimic the choices of the surrounding homes. The stone-clad contemporary home rests just as comfortably on the lakeside as its established neighbors.

And that’s the beauty of exploration through collaboration. As architects, we love to hear your vision for your dream home, to listen as you describe the ideas you’ve been pondering for years. Your ideas inspire us.

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Then it’s our turn. We put your ideas on paper and flesh them out; then, together, we dialog about the design. Now that you see your home, what would you change? How does it or does it not meet your expectations? Just as Scott did during the Meydenbauer Place project, we listen and discern our clients’ distinct preferences. We help read between the lines, so to speak.

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Yet the collaboration doesn’t end with architect and client. Scott and (then) project manager Eric Drivdahl pondered this custom house together and drew upon each other’s creativity to create a home unique to and perfect for this family. Play spaces, a media room, and kid-friendly landscaping met symmetrical staircases, a grand entryway, and modern finishes for a timeless home that will serve the family well through every age and stage.

Contemplating Craftsman Style

The craftsman style values less manufactured perfection and more intentional, hand-crafted artistry. With current trends favoring the real and untouched–unphotoshopped images, organic foods, and experience over excess–it’s not surprising to see a corresponding resurgence in the popularity of craftsman style homes. Their beauty, intentionality, and incorporation of natural elements ensure enduring architectural splendor.

 

Craftsman homes are “based upon the simplest and most direct principles of construction.” Emerging out of California in the early decades of the twentieth century, they emphasize organic patterns, textured materials, found items, and earthy tones. They sit just as well in a neighborhood and as in a quiet corner of the forest.

Banks of windows, open floor plans, rustic and textured materials, and exposed, decorative beams exude the authenticity and laid-back sophistication so cherished in the Pacific Northwest.

 

The home’s furniture mingles with the architecture with well-placed built-ins. Dormer bench seats and shelves framing dramatic fireplaces maximize the home’s space and imbue an additional level of comfort and stability in the home’s design. The arts and crafts style goal is, after all, functional, natural craftsmanship. Its earliest proponents believed that a return to a simpler home style leads to a healthier, more productive life.

 

Of course, the craftsman home isn’t exempt from striking touches of personality. While natural browns and greens dominate the home’s exterior, a pop of contrasting color on the trim highlights the architectural features. Intentionally imperfect stone in both exterior detailing and interior tile work exemplifies the charming, handcrafted nature of the home.

 

You don’t need to go all-in to incorporate a craftsman vibe into your custom home. Choose your favorite craftsman features and let them mingle with your unique style. Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl is happy to help you find your perfect merging of styles for your dream home.

Getting to Know You

Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture thrives on relationships. Our clients trust us with their dream homes, with the ideas they’ve been gathering and treasuring for years. We take seriously that trust. We strive to build on it and to create an environment where our clients (you!) feel heard, understood, and valued.

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Curtis Gelotte (far right) at the annual Gelato, Hummus, and Drinks anniversary celebration.

As we enter into your vision for your home project, we learn about your preferences, your lifestyle, and your vision. Here’s how we begin every home project.

Understanding Your Life

We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your home. Your needs are unique. As we get to know you, we ask you to fill out a Lifestyle Questionnaire that walks you through many of the details that go into a home. It’s full of prompts and questions that begin to uncover your unique story.

Understanding Your Ideas

Your dream house ought to be uniquely you. To understand your long-held dreams, we ask for your scrapbook of ideas–those images, articles, and other items that you’ve been collecting as you ponder your project. Houzz and Pinterest are great tools for collecting your images and notes in a format that’s easily accessible to the rest of your design team.

Understanding Your Vision

Most importantly, we listen. In every meeting, our ears are attuned to your preferences, your concerns, and your vision. You’ve essentially invited us into the your home–although that home’s yet to break ground–and your input is vital. We are artists, and your vision is our inspiration.

 

Ultimately, our goal is to partner with you in your custom home design journey. As one of our architects wrote, “We are doing our job when you can go home in the evening and not worry about what you should be doing next in the process. Our goal is to accept all of that responsibility so you don’t have to worry.”  

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.

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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…

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.

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By Andrés Nieto Porras from Palma de Mallorca, España – 58/365²: El inevitable paso del tiempo, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24332315

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.

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.

Designing Around the View of Your Dreams

This natural wood deck blends in well with its woodsy surroundings.
This natural wood deck blends in well with its woodsy surroundings and provides views of the ocean beyond.
“Location, location, location.” So goes the real estate cliche. Yet it’s true. Setting is a key component in maximizing a home’s beauty, especially for a vacation home. For those seeking a serene, breathtaking view, incorporating a design that enhances the natural beauty of the area ensures that you’ll love the home for years to come.

Incorporate natural elements into the design.

The Gelotte Hommas’ High Above the Water exemplifies a design concept in which the building materials work harmoniously with the beauty of its woodsy location. Both the interior and exterior of the house incorporate a rocky façade into the design, and the high beams, exposed wood, and earth tones further highlight the house’s connection to the surrounding forest.

Make the most of high ceilings and large windows.

Vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows invite a plethora of light into the house and give the main living area an open feel. The windows give the illusion of continuous flow from the inside of the house to the lakeside beyond.

Include a deck for outdoor living.

Of course, no house with a view would be complete without a beautiful deck. The outside living space allows homeowners and guests the opportunity to fully enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

We’d love to help you sketch out your dream home and bring it to reality. Contact us.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.