New Home Sales Are On the Rise

As the economy struggles to right itself, mortgage rates have steadily increased after record lows just a few years earlier. Though many people were still reluctant to make a home purchase at the first sign of the increase, the trend seems to be reversing as an increase in August new home sales indicates.

housing market
Source: Shutter Stock

Up by almost eight percent, the housing market is finally picking back up again in three out of four regions – the Midwest, and the Southern and Northeastern areas of the nation – despite increased interest rates. This is believed to be because people are coming to terms with increasing interest rates on home mortgages.

Apparently, potential home buyers have realized that, as interest rates continue to climb without a break in sight, buying a home now is more important than ever, and waiting too long to take the plunge could result in thousands of dollars worth of additional interest throughout the life of the loan.

Another factor contributing to the increase in new home sales, as opposed to the purchase of older homes, is the modern push towards energy efficiency. As the price for crude oil rises, the pull toward energy-efficient, or green, homes becomes a necessity. Fortunately, many designers understand the appeal of sustainable housing and design new homes accordingly.

Despite rising mortgage rates and increased new home sales tags, more and more people are continuing to buy. And because rates will continue to climb, there has never been a better time to make the move to home ownership.

If you are considering the purchase of a new home, or if you just want to increase the value of your existing property, Gelotte Hommas Architecture can help. To learn more about what Gelotte Hommas can do for you, contact us today!

Whimsical Garage from Gelotte Hommas Featured in Houzz

While Facebook and Twitter keep you up to date with friends, news, and memes, and Pinterest has you planning your yoga strategy and cookie recipes hand in hand, Houzz is the go-to corner of the web for the architecturally minded. Showcasing beautiful spaces and the teams behind them, Houzz catalogs well-designed and interesting spaces from around the world. Gelotte Hommas was extremely flattered to find one of our designs featured as an exemplary “man cave,” especially with Father’s Day right around the corner.

gelotte hommas featured in houzz

Our whimsical garage for a Seattle-based professional Porsche driver was featured as a “man cave” dream space. In their feature, Houzz focused not just on the design, but the client behind it, an essential element to any personal architectural space.

The garage blends in with the other homes and structures in the area from the exterior, employing natural tones and architectural features typical of cabins and farmhouses to make the garage seem more approachable and at home that a stark, more industrialized design. Inside, the space becomes a burst of color and life, creating an environment of encouragement and creativity for the homeowner as he resurrects dilapidated cars into a renewed glory:
We’re flattered to have been featured so prominently in Houzz and happy that the homeowner can enjoy and take advantage of a “man cave” designed specifically with him in mind and to meet the needs of his passion for restoring older cars.
Is your dream man cave a garage? Theater room? A library? Tell us about your ideal in-home getaway. Want to learn more about this specific project?  Read the full article on our garage design on Houzz.

The New Gelotte Hommas Website is Live!

We’ve already told you that we’re making changes to our website, but now we’re happy to announce that the new website is up and running! This is a great chance for you to re-familiarize yourself with Gelotte Hommas and our projects, as well as to learn about our new ideas and projects.

Here's a look at the Gelotte Hommas website, but we suggest you visit it to see it for yourself.

The new Gelotte Hommas website, like our architectural projects, is sleek and well defined, while making you feel at home. On it you will find useful facts about our firm and who makes up our design teams, as well as which principles we prize in design. You’ll get to see the latest work on all of our projects in ourportfolio, as well as learn about initiatives in the community and more that we’re leading or are involved in, like arc i tek.

The new website serves as your information highly on all things Gelotte Hommas. Visit it to learn more about our firm and our projects, then keep up with the blogs for a more personal touch and to hear more about design in general, as well as detailed facts about each project.


Living on Island Time: The Multi-Island Kitchen

The island. It has become an almost essential feature in any kitchen. It provides extra work space, an attractive, centering element in the room, and often times offers extra storage. Most everyone can agree that an island is useful. So what would you do with multiple islands?

This spacious kitchen fits three island stations, allowing you to designate specific functions for each space. Photo by Roger Davies, via Architectural Digest.

Having multiple islands or a multi-level island will make your kitchen even more efficient and accommodating, by adding such features, you also add:

  • Work space that can be designated for different functions. The island closest to the door acts as a catch all for groceries, work bags, and more, while the island near the sink works perfectly for food preparation.
  • Multi-levels work especially well for allowing you designate a space for guests and kids while you prepare tapas or a meal. It keeps the “too many cooks in the kitchen” space issue under wraps, and allows you space to work with the food or beverages while you can still interact with your onlookers.
If you have an open, spacious kitchen, consider redesigning and using some of that space for a second island. You’ll appreciate the space and comfort.

Contemporary Design From Gelotte Hommas

Many of our designs from Gelotte Hommas are nature inspired homes with lots of exposed wood and traditional lines, interpreted in a modern way. Still, this natural look isn’t for everyone. If you’re more about sleek lines and smooth surfaces, contemporary architecture is probably more your style, featuring sharp angles, lots of light, and open space.

Contemporary design is both beautiful and functional, but some homeowners shy away from the style out of worry that it will be too clinical or sterile in feel rather than relaxing and inviting. In our work for The Gallery in Kirkland, we worked to make a contemporary space still feel natural and cozy without losing the spirit of a modern space:

Click each image to enlarge it:


What do you find to be the strengths of contemporary architecture? What about the weaknesses?In each room you can follow the natural floor which keeps the space grounded in natural elements while allowing it a sleek and modern look. The organic layout of each room helps to accent these details from the space itself, highlighting the architecture and keeping each room at ease.

Photos from Gelotte Hommas Architecture


Winners of the 2011 Solar Decathlon Rejoice in Their Energy Efficient Triumph

Last year in October we discussed some of the happenings at the 2010 Solar Decathlon, an “annual collegiate competition that focuses on solar power and green building techniques”, and how the topic of responsive architecture was discussed. If you’re unfamiliar with the competition, teams work on a project for two years with goals in mind as they build a house that:

  • Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
  • Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
  • Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
  • Provides adequate hot water
  • Produces as much or more energy than it consumes. (List via Solar Decathlon Website)
This home was created during the Solar Decathlon by the UT Knoxville team. Image via Eco Friend.

The contest was judged and run from September 23rd until October 2nd. Here are the last recorded scores for each team, within the top 5:

  • Maryland 951.151
  • Purdue 931.390
  • New Zealand  919.058
  • Middlebury College  914.809
  • Ohio State  903.938
One of the most intriguing aspects of this competition is the charting of the energy balance, taking a look at the created village to see how much energy was produced and how much used to help better understand energy needs and efficiency.
Have you competed in the Solar Decathlon? Share your team’s story in a comment.

Take a Look at Northwest Perspective, a Current Gelotte Hommas Project

On our new website, you can see both completed and in progress Gelotte Hommas projects. While looking over the photos, it’s important to remember that these aren’t just spaces that are designed for the sake of beauty and having a place to rest your head or to go to work–They’re spaces that our team works to tailor for you so that you can’t wait to get home or into the office.

As you look over our projects, get into our perspective by reading our notes.

Elevations for current underway project "Northwest Perspective"

In the notes on the Northwest Perspective home, you’ll see items that you expect. Dimensions, “4,535 SF custom home”, style, “ Contemporary Northwest style”, and placement, “In the “Infinity” development in Kirkland”, are all expected. Where Gelotte Hommas goes further is in keeping our clients and the family that will live in the space at the forefront of our minds throughout the design process, even sharing a bit about the space in our notes as it effects them.

•”Light filled great room style living” that’s “designed for a family with young children” tells you what the goal of the property is. We want to create a space that is natural, open, and welcoming for a young family as they grow and prosper. This space needs to be adaptable, as the young children will grow up in the home, and need to have a space that grows with them. There should be plenty of room, in case the family expands, and lots of space for entertaining, as birthday parties, club meetings, and more will probably be enjoyed within these walls.

If you’re looking for a home that is custom designed to fit your needs in a modern and eco-friendly perspective, please contact us today.

Enjoy a Family Model Making Workshop in Seattle

Take your kids from drawing houses to building them with an architecture class.

Earlier this week we officially announced arc i tek, our youth program to be held in conjunction with the Seattle Architecture Foundation. While we know that you’re excited, we didn’t want to leave you waiting for wonderful kid friendly activities involving a passion for architecture. If you want to get into something right now, try the Family Model Making Workshop with the Seattle Architecture Foundation.

The workshop series is holding their “Family Model Making Workshop, More Building” and helps families take a 2D model to a 3D model.

“ Using a variety of materials and techniques, young architects and their families will build several types of models in this workshop. Participants will learn how architects and designers use models to imagine a building. “

Get the entire family involved in the creative process of architecture and design with this wonderful program. The next workshop of this kind is set for November 5th, 11 AM – 2 PM. The cost is $15 per attendee.

Do you enjoy family friendly architecture events?


Photo courtesy of Flickr


The Self Sufficient House: A Zero Energy Home

The Built Green Conference had so many wonderful ideas for discussion, we couldn't help but share.

If you weren’t able to attend the 2011 Built Green Conference, then we hate you missed out, but we do have some great information on what’s going on in the green focused architectural community around Bellevue and Seattle. One of the ideas that we loved to see discussed at the conference was that of a Zero Energy Home (ZEH).

So what is a Zero Energy Home? A ZEH is a home that is self sufficient–It provides what it needs to consume, and has its own cycle that allows the people within it to save on costs and to lesson their carbon footprint on the planet. Though a home that generates the same amount of energy as it consumes may seem more futuristic, there have already been plenty of homes built that meet this criteria, or at least come within reach. The Zero Energy Home is a great goal for the eco-friendly design and architecture community, and we look forward to seeing how it develops.

What are your thoughts on a ZEH?

Functional Architecture: The Beauty and the Brawn

When people look at homes in shelter magazines, they discuss how beautiful a space is, and how much they would love to have aspects A, B, and C in their soon to be constructed space. Yet, when you sit down with someone to discuss what features they would like in their home, they’re likely to discuss issues they have with their current space, and what problem solving, functional features would be great to have.

Great design is about marrying form and function, beauty and brawn, to create a cohesive, well designed space that is both beautiful to the eye and appreciated by the mind for it’s functionality. We recently featured photos from Vista Ridge Imaging in our Northest by Northwest Project that display these ideals well:

A classic library design gets a modern spark and a fresh feel.

Built in bookcases in the library keep the the space uncluttered and unencumbered, while the spacing of the shelves allows for larger titles and a sleek, spacious modern feel that keeps the room from feeling stuffy.

The kitchen island now works for prep and for guests.

Single level islands often put anyone on a bar stool in the thick of food preparation rather than allowing them a place as a comfortable spectator. By raising a portion of the island, we create an interesting silhouette while also adding seating space and more room to work.

Adding a recessed space adds architecture interest and useful areas to the room.

This dining room has a recess that may seem just for show, but it also keeps a buffet out of the way of the main room, so guests can walk without dodging furniture. Closets in the dining room provide great storage for special china, linens, and more.

Add function and beauty to your home to create a harmonious and beautiful place that you’ll cherish for years to come. For help with this aspect of your new home’s design, contact Gelotte Hommas today.


Home For a Lifetime: Creating a Home For All Stages in Life

When designing a home, many people consider what they need right now, whether it’s a two bedroom starter home for a new couple, a small cabin for empty nesters, or a four bedroom house with a spacious layout and nice backyard for a growing family. Gelotte Hommas tries to leave as small of a carbon footprint as possible when designing a new home for someone or while remodeling their current one. Though you may take care to examine green design for the homes that you build, it’s also important to think about the environmental impact of the number of homes you’ll inhabit. One family decided to design their first home as their “forever home”, creating a space that they plan to enjoy as they raise their children and on into their elderly years.

David and Mayuku plan to enjoy this home for the rest of their lives. Photographed by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao for Dwell.

David and Mayuko Lai, as featured in Dwell, took five years to design their home. In it they feature elements of universal design so that it will accommodate their young family now and them as they age. One of the most interesting aspects of their story was that they had the freedom to give the home little touches that they knew would be great for them, without having to consider how it might effect future residents or the resale value of their home.

What kind of changes would you make to your home, or what features would you include in a new build, to make it more of your forever home? Tell us about them in a comment.

Upcoming Events For Gelotte Hommas, Including the Built Green Conference

Architects are an active, engaging group that thrive on interaction, creativity, and the exchange of ideas. Any given month, there’s usually at least one big event in the world of architecture, but September is looking to be an intensely busy month. To keep you up to date on the happenings at Gelotte Hommas, we’ve included our up and coming events:

  •  The Built Green Conference is just days away on the 14th at Pickering Barn in Issaquah. Our very own Eric Gelotte will be speaking at the conference, discussing how using local merchants add to the greenness of a home, as well as offering information on who/what they are in the area.
The Built Green Conference and Festival is a great event for those interested in green architecture and how to make your designs and builds more eco-friendly.
  • On the 17th of September, we’ll be attending an open house for a client that we assisted with a wonderful remodel on the Sammamish plateau. We designed the space and then the client built the design over the course of five years–An open house is definitely earned after a half decade of labor!
Many bungalows have their style and charm displayed on the exterior of the space, like our Kirkland Bungalow.
  • Our big event for September,  The Bungalow Fair, will take place on the 24-25 in Seattle. We will be attending and speaking at the fair, with Scott and Eric leading a discussion on “How to teach an old house new tricks”. The talk will focus on how you can add bungalow charm to an existing newer home to add vintage elements and character. Gelotte Hommas loves bungalow style, as you can see from our work on the Medina BungalowBungalow on the Beach and Kirkland Bungalow.
Scott's talk at the Bungalow fair will help you add bungalow charm to your existing home, with wonderful interior additions like this one, in our Medina Bungalow.

We’re ecstatic about these upcoming events, and are excited to share them with you here. Will you be attending either of the conferences or the open house? If so, tell us in a comment!