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.

6 Resources to Inspire Your Style

So, you’re ready to design your dream house, but you’re stuck on the details. We’ve put together a few resources to help you flesh out your dream home!

Browse Houzz

Houzz is a great place to collect inspiration for your longed-for remodel or your brand new dream home. Start with our Houzz page. See what other clients dreamed up and start forming your vision for your own custom home. Mountain retreats, lake-front getaways, inspired garages, and exotic influences—it’s there!

Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest is one of our favorite resources. The magazine (both online and in print) provides design inspiration for a wide range of luxury styles with interviews, furniture picks, and lifestyle tips.


Luxe lives up to its name. You’ll find luxury color scheme ideas, style trends, décor inspirations, and more to fuel your imagination.

Portrait Magazine

Portrait stands out as a voice focused specifically on Pacific Northwest design trends. In addition to ideas for bringing the glory of the Pacific Northwest into your dream home, you’ll find suggestions for local food, travel, and wine. And watch for Gelotte Hommas on the site!

Kirkland Bungalow

Explore Our Library!

Visit us in our office! If you’re partial to more tangible resources, we have an abundance of books, magazines, and portfolios to peruse.

We’d be delighted to help you shape your ideas, dreams, and inspirations into a tangible home that you’ll love for years to come!

A Delectable Dream Kitchen

Thanksgiving is now behind us, and the Christmas season is upon us. It’s that scrumptious, food-filled time of year that has many people dusting off their dreams for the perfect kitchen.

When clients approached us with their vision for a delectable kitchen, we invited Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar to lend his expertise to the Hillcrest Farm project.

Here’s the fruit of our partnership with the illustrious Bellevue chef:

Spacious Kitchen

The main kitchen features a full range with an additional oven on the left and a second stovetop located on the island. The island offers the family and guests a comfortable space from which to eat or to interact with the meal’s cook. To the right of the range, the fridge melds with the surrounding cabinetry in order to offer efficiency without disrupting the kitchen’s visual flow with a clunky appliance.

Hillcrest Farm
Hillcrest Farm

Designated Prep Area

A defined food preparation area sits adjacent to the primary kitchen. Complete with a double sink, extensive cabinets, and plenty of counter space, this kitchen companion provides home chefs and caterers alike with ample room to create their culinary masterpieces—from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas cookies.

Hillcrest Farm

Ample Pantry

Large pantries and secondary kitchens are among the top trends in home kitchens. A butler’s pantry offers considerable storage for food and kitchen supplies and provides additional space in which to cook and clean outside of your guests’ view.

This pantry features an exquisite island, an extra sink, an additional dishwasher, and storage for cookbooks.

Hillcrest Farm

Inviting Bar

If you’re searching for an additional entertainment space, consider adding a luxurious bar and a well-stocked wine cellar. Mounted television screens and inviting bar stools fanned around a curved bar ensure that game day camaraderie will flourish in your home.

Hillcrest Farm
Hillcrest Farm

GHA on Houzz

Gelotte Hommas Architecture recently woke up one morning to learn that one of our project photos had been featured in a Houzz article.

The article, “How to Live With Plants,” explores the creative incorporation of plants and flowers into home design and features projects from several great architect and design firms. The Houzz article suggests growing indoor greenery in your window sill, under a skylight, in a passageway, or even in an indoor garden. We especially appreciated the artistic use of indoor trees as partitions between rooms and the creation of a green wall to add beauty, reduce noise, and insulate heat.

Our own featured photo used dry trees to add organic movement against the geometric lines of the home. The home—Casa Del Sol—endeavors to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with numerous French doors and a master suite wrapped in glass.

Jump over to to explore the “How to Live With Plants” idea book as well as a plethora of other inspiring designs.

Dwelling on Windows

“I discovered windows one afternoon, and after that, nothing was ever the same.”  Anne Spollen

Windows are a key feature in most homes–especially for the Pacific Northwest natives who peak through the window each morning to determine how waterproof their shoes ought to be that day!

At one point, windows were merely small holes in the wall through which to keep watch, shoot arrows, and let in light. Over time, human ingenuity tried to fill the drafty window voids with paper, thin slices of marble, or pieces of glass. Such materials—often paired with wood or iron frameworks—provided a modest amount of light and ventilation, but sacrificed on heat and security.

Today, however, architecture enjoys a veritable feast of window options that let in light, seal in heat, control sound, and offer security for any home design. For now, let’s revel in the beauty that large windows add to a home.


Inviting natural light into your home with large windows comes with a host of benefits. During daylight hours, large windows lead to significant energy savings thanks to a decreased need for artificial lighting. What’s more, studies report that natural light increases productivity and helps regulate circadian rhythms in many people.

The one downside to welcoming natural light into your home: glare. Not to worry! Current window technology offers window solutions that help minimize glare so you can revel in the natural beauty around you!


Especially in a scenic region like the Pacific Northwest, windows enable homeowners to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.

This Cedar Haven uses a wall of windows to bring the forest into the central living space.

Similarly, this contemporary home employs glass walls to welcome the waterfront into its neutral living room.


Due to the influx of light and the absence of firm walls, large windows make a room appear larger than its square footage might indicate.

Large windows can also frame splendid sights outside your home, be it landscape or cityscape. A great architect will help you scout out your property’s best views and design your home with those sights in mind!


Advancements in window technology ensure that while light shines into your home, heat or cool air doesn’t escape unnecessarily from it. In fact, well placed windows will increase your home’s energy efficiency by allowing the sun to gently warm your home in any season.

And on those perfectly temperate days, throwing open your windows allows fresh air to circulate through your house.


So, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for the advancements that allow us to view the changing seasons from within the warmth of our homes.

Intelligent Design: 9 Ways to Hide Your Home Tech

It’s hard to deny that advanced technology plays an increasingly important role in home comfort. Modern heating and cooling, security, entertainment, food preparation and storage, communications, and house cleaning all rely heavily on the latest available technological advancements. In fact, an estimated 14.2 million US homes currently use some form home automation, and many of these modern conveniences are merging into one integrated system easily controlled by a single tablet or smartphone.

But that timeless, 19th century marble mantle doesn’t have to play second chair to a domineering TV screen, and your meticulously arranged modern sculptures needn’t share space with bulky speakers and knotted chords.

This week, we’ll explore nine ways to keep your room’s focal point on that exquisite modernist painting and off the “71⁰” readout on your thermostat.

Retractable TV

Brookside Retreat



Your television need not take center stage in your carefully crafted family room. Instead, conceal it behind a fireplace or wall art or let it retract into the floor or ceiling. When you’re ready to relax, your TV will emerge with the tap of a button.

This homeowner installed a sleek flat screen television behind the exquisite fireplace. When desired, the TV slides horizontally from behind the stonework and covers two windows for an optimal viewing experience.

Hidden Projector

San Andreas

San Andreas Home with hidden projector in far left wall. 

A projector retracts into the ceiling in this Woodvalley residence. 

If you prefer a projector over a TV, hide it within your media room’s back wall or install a subtle lift that enables the projector to retract into the ceiling when not in use.

Retractable Screen

Media Room

Install an automated drop down projection screen in the ceiling to show off your family photos by day and catch up on the news by night.

Screen Wall

Avocado Residence

If you’re not sure about a projection screen, you could get rid of it altogether. Projection paint offers the perfect reflective surface for all your favorite shows and movies while still presenting a sleek, uninterrupted white or light gray wall in your home. Partner this paint with a hidden projector, and your guests will never know that you marathoned The Lord of the Rings the night before!

Invisible Speakers

Complete 7.2 home theater with invisible speakers

This home uses customized Louis Vuitton wallpaper to cover invisible speakers. Invisible speakers can be installed in walls or ceilings and then plastered over—no one will ever that a suspect state-of-the-art sound system hides behind your soothing sage-colored walls.

Secret Speakers

Moraya Bay Residence

Painted speaker cloth hides this home’s sound system within a custom built-in. 

Moraya Bay Residence

Make sure your sound system is heard and not seen by placing speakers within cabinets or behind specially crafted wall art. Customized speaker cloth allows cupboards and art to conceal unsightly equipment while still ensuring crystal clear sound.

Concealed Chords

Living Room Cabinets, Hidden TV Panel

The panels above this fireplace move aside to reveal the family room TV. 

With a little forethought, it’s easy to conceal television, sound system, and computer chords in molding, trim, and cornice.

Charging Drawer

Thin drawers allow this family to keep their devices charged, safe, and out of the way. 

While smartphones, tablets, and laptops offer portability, convenience, and a veritable lifeline when lost on your way to Seattle’s newest coffee shop, they can also add to the clutter and chaos of home life. To keep all of your devices in order and out of the way, add a charging drawer to your kitchen, office, or bedroom. These drawers offer inconspicuous outlets or wireless charging centers and a reliable storage space.

Integrated Automation

Under-cabinet iPad mount. 

To further eliminate clutter in your home, consolidate your heating, security, and intercom control panels onto a single integrated device using convenient apps. These home automation features may be accessed on a mini tablet magnetically attached to a wall or remotely through your personal smartphone. In addition to standard security and climate control features, you can also adjust lighting, blinds, stereo volume, TV channels, and more from a single integrated device.

Your architect or designer can help you learn more about consolidating your home tech or refer you to services that will install, maintain, and update your integrated home technology in the years to come.

Designing Peace

In light of the United Nations’ September 21st International Day of Peace, let’s turn our attention to the architecture of Hiroshima’s Peace Center and Memorial Park.

Following the devastation of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan sought to rebuild the city and dedicate it as a national cry for peace after a long and tumultuous war. Kenzo Tange—a premier Japanese architect—was asked to lead the city’s reconstruction efforts.

Fountain of Prayer, Hiroshima, Japan.

Tange faced a unique architectural opportunity: the chance to redesign a city without the constriction of preexisting structures. His design centered around a memorial dedicated both to the victims of the bombing and as a symbol of peace and future hope to the world.

Completed in 1955, Hiroshima’s central memorial is comprised of a large peace park at the hypocenter of the blast zone and features a memorial museum, a children’s peace monument, and the Genbaku Dome.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Center stands above the ground on large pillars, and is accessible by a free-standing staircase that allows visitors to climb up into the museum. The Peace Center is one of the few remaining examples of modern-style Japanese architecture from the 1950s. Most contemporary buildings have since been demolished.


Peace Center Memorial, HIroshima, Japan. Photo by: Wiiii, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 2009, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Peace Center’s modular design crafted with bare, reinforced concrete allows visitors to focus fully on the exhibits contained within the structure. The structure also provides stark contrast to the shocks of vermillion, bountiful greenery, and artfully curved roofs that are so prevalent in traditional Japanese architecture. For Hiroshima, this intentionally modern design embodies the city’s desire for rebirth and longing for future peace.

The Peace Center’s windows look out across the rest of the park and frame a view of the Genbaku (“atomic bomb”) Dome, the eternal flame, and the Children’s Peace Monument.

The Genbaku Dome stands in contrast to the Peace Center and represents a rare picture of ruin within a country that constantly seeks to project the most polished and beautiful image possible. Originally a landmark exhibition hall designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel, the Dome is a raw glimpse into early twentieth century Western architecture in Japan. It’s also the only surviving building that was directly impacted by the atomic blast. The building is now permanently preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima, Japan.

From the Genbaku Dome’s raw destruction to the Peace Center’s bare hope for the future, the Tange’s Hiroshima Peace Park walks visitors through history with architectural excellence. His design—a work that evolved over the course of the project—incorporates elements of imperialism, destruction, and modern hope to tell a story he hoped visitors would not soon forget.

A Home with a View

Eastern Inspiration

Elegant home design concerns itself not only with the home as an isolated structure, a pleasing and well-designed object in and of itself, but also with the collective interaction the home has with its surroundings.

The concept of shakkei or “borrowed scenery”—using surrounding scenery to enhance the beauty of a garden or structure—has been a foundational tenant in East Asian architecture for centuries. Instead of relying purely on human-made designs, shakkei borrows surrounding mountains, rivers, lakes, and hills to frame and magnify the beauty of a home.

For instance, this Japanese temple perches between a large pond and small mountains. The surrounding greenery both stands in contrast to the red temple and lends its natural splendor to the structure’s curved roofs and stately columns.

This temple borrows the majesty of the surrounding forest and mountains to enhance its own splendor and sense of serenity.
Views from the temple’s porch frame the surrounding scenery and inspire awe and serenity in the viewer.

Modern Application

When planning your dream home, consider your home’s surroundings, and maximize the available views.

Thoughtful architects consider the natural surroundings of a home as they plan windows, doorways, and columns throughout the space. Borrowed scenery takes full advantage of available “natural resources” to invite authentic beauty into a space.

This vacation home captures an island view within the large great room windows.

Island view home.
Similarly, this “Coastal Cove” home draws on views of a small lighthouse and a local harbor to bring coastal beauty into the dining room and outdoor entertaining space.

Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.
Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

While shakkei most often “borrows” natural features (mountains, harbors, etc.) to lend beauty to a space, modern architects also frame sprawling skylines or landmark structures to enhance the experience in an urban home’s interior.

Add Drama to Your Front Entrance with a Traditional Gothic Archway

Lakefront Gothic's archway adds charm and character to the home's front entrance.
Lakefront Gothic’s archway adds charm and character to the home’s front entrance.

First impressions are important. When it comes to your home, the first thing guests will see is your front entryway. Having a beautiful and dramatic entrance is an excellent way to set the stage for the many other charming architectural features that friends and family will encounter when visiting for the first time.

If your tastes lean towards the traditional beauty of European architecture, consider adding an evocative Gothic archway. In the Gelotte Hommas designed Lakefront Gothic, the front entrance establishes a romantic and mysterious tone that is carried throughout the rest of the home’s interior design.

A steeply angled roof caps this warm, wooden archway and wrought iron nails punctuate the posts with character. The cutouts over the arch add charm and complete the European-inspired look. This archway also serves as the connection point between two garages on this property, with doors on either side of the arch leading into and out of each garage. Gas lamp style lanterns illuminate the walk-up and provide romantic lighting after dusk. After walking through this archway, guests will feel transported to another time and place.

If you need help getting started on your gothic-inspired dream home, contact Gelotte Hommas architects.

Give Your Home Extra Use by Building In a Flex Room

Designing a Flex Room

Have you ever wished that you could trade your dining room for a study? Are there times when your back hallway goes unused, but you think that it would be a great library? Building a flex room in your home is a great way to solve these problems. A flex room is a room that has a range of uses, depending on your needs at the time. Many homeowners change the function of their flex room throughout the year, but you can switch yours back and forth as often as necessary for your situation.

Flex rooms are one of this year’s leading architecture trends. They offer several key benefits:

  • Flex rooms are great when you need a segregated area in which to house long-term guests or live-in grandparents. Architects are great at designing rooms or small areas that can be sectioned off from the rest of the home as a separate unit, and later opened to serve a different purpose when that person moves out.
  • Make the most of your building budget: instead of superfluous rooms that will see only occasional use, focus your money into a more flexible space.
  • People today live fast-paced lives and their needs and circumstances always changing. You don’t know today where your needs will be in three years. Designing your home in such a way that it’s easy to change the function of several rooms if needed may help keep you in that home for longer.

The talented architects at Gelotte Hommas are experts at keeping up with the latest architectural trends including the use of flex rooms. Contact us to discuss your building needs today.

The Effect of Spirals: What the Shape Adds to Home Design

The spiral has been used to depict spiritual concepts for thousands of years. Some ancient cultures used the spiral to represent the path from basic consciousness to the enlightenment of the inner soul and to represent the journey from the material world to the spiritual one.

Incorporating the spiral into architecture dates back centuries and was often used to restore balance and connection to the earth inside the home. Because it is such a bold statement, usually only small or single examples are needed to achieve the benefits.

The Spiral Staircase

Spiral Staircase and Spiral Design
Source: Gelotte Hommas

Aside from the symbolic benefits, the spiral staircase is an attention-grabbing feature of any home that can be fun, elegant, and even rustic depending on the materials chosen. The spiral staircase incorporated into our Hillcrest Farm home uses a combination of stone and wood to anchor the feature and give an air of permanence and stability to the home.

Other Examples of Spirals in the Home

Spirals aren’t limited to staircases, there are a number of ways to incorporate this energizing shape throughout the home.

  • Decorative Wrought Iron. Anywhere that there is an arch or an opening such as a cut-out between two rooms or staircase railings, consider adding a wrought iron decoration that includes curlicues.
  • Furniture Pieces. Racks in the kitchen or bathroom can include curlicue decorations and are an easy way to incorporate spirals into any room.
  • Spirals Outdoors. Spirals can be included outdoors by laying out patio bricks into a spiral pattern, through the use of fountains, or by adding gardens with spiraling plants.

To learn more about adding a spiral staircase or incorporating spirals into your design features, contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

Try an L-Shaped House Plan to Let Each Room Have a View

L-Shaped homes provide views and privacy

Form and function are important features when you are designing a home for comfort and aesthetic value. The L-shaped house plan provides a way to achieve both and much more. At Gelotte Hommas, our L-shaped home designs are beautiful as well as functional in many ways. They provide efficient use of land, unique views, and privacy.

L-Shaped homes provide views and privacy
Source: Gelotte Hommas

The L-shaped home plan works for a variety of lot sizes. The L-shape allows an efficient use of space where you can build up or around the perimeter of your lot. Your built-up home provides of privacy for bedrooms, in one wing the home, and space for living and socializing in the second wing.

Since your rooms are designed around the shape of your home, each room has a unique view. The L-shape allows the area around your rooms to be open and free of the encumbrance of a wall or other structure associated with another portion of your home. This shape provides spectacular views from your living and recreation spaces. Your family will enjoy taking in the natural outdoor scenes. Access to your swimming pool or outdoor patio can be established in several different places within your home.

The L-shaped home provides another level of privacy while you entertain outdoors. Your home becomes a natural hedge that surrounds a portion of your outdoor entertaining area. Nature can become another part of the enclosure and you will have a completely private outdoor location for many days and nights of entertainment and relaxation.

We design beautiful homes that provide form and functionality. Contact us to help you design a home that is perfect for your family and lifestyle.