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.

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!

This Woodsy Home Takes Retractable Windows to the Next Level

This versatile living space is surrounded by retractable windows on all four sides.
This versatile living space is surrounded by retractable windows on all four sides.

For those seeking optimal connectivity to their outdoor living spaces, retractable windows are a great way to bring the outside in. Gelotte Hommas masterfully designed The Woods Outback with a main living area that is surrounded by retractable windows on all four sides. This design allows guests to fully enjoy a bright, open living room, no matter what the weather.

These floor-to-ceiling windows let in an ideal amount of sunlight, and with weather permitting, they turn a beautiful living area into an elegant covered patio. The tile flooring flows continuously throughout both spaces and is versatile and durable enough to serve as both indoor and outdoor flooring.

One of the most interesting elements of the room is how the windows cut right through the kitchen, allowing homeowners the benefits of outdoor kitchen when they want one. With all the windows open, it’s possible to barbeque in the outdoor space. The room is also equipped with a wood stove that allows brave bakers to prepare delicious wood-fired pizza. The space is especially convenient, since all of the regular kitchen items are easily accessible from both sides. And with a fireplace and ample space, this unique layout is perfect for entertaining.

If you’re looking to incorporate retractable windows into your design, contact Gelotte Hommas Architects today. We’ll be happy to assist you with designing the home of your dreams.

For a Touch of Elegance, Consider an Indoor Balcony

The portico-styled archways and wrought iron railings in Sammamish Tuscan create a feeling of charm and romance.
The portico-styled archways and wrought iron railings in Sammamish Tuscan create a feeling of charm and romance.

Gelotte Hommas’ Sammamish Tuscan includes many beautiful design features, but one of the most elegant and unique aspects of the home are its indoor balconies. Homeowners looking to incorporate a romantic, European touch should consider some of the following benefits that accompany this special design element.

The indoor balconies showcase how marvelously high the ceilings are in the living room. And since they draw the eye up, the hallways are a great place to display pieces of art.

Having the upstairs hallways exposed creates great connectivity between the upstairs and downstairs spaces. Sightlines are improved since it’s possible to see directly into the living room the hallways and rooms above and vice versa.

Despite the high ceilings the living room still manages to feel warm and intimate because of the golden tones used throughout the space. The additional light fixtures that are framed in the upstairs archways further brighten the space.

If you’re interested in learning more about indoor balconies and other charming design features that can be included in the home of your dreams, please contact us here.

Your Guests Will Fall in Love with this European-Inspired Stunner

A Touch of Normandy piles on the charm for your guests with a custom fireplace, exposed wooden beams, and elegant pops of color.
A Touch of Normandy piles on the charm for your guests with a custom fireplace, exposed wooden beams, and elegant pops of color.

A Touch of Normandy, a beautiful guesthouse designed by Gelotte Hommas Architects, proves that guesthouses can be just as stunning as a main home. This romantic cottage plays up classic, elegant design features that draw from both French and English architecture. If you’re considering building a guesthouse of your own, the following are some design inspirations to get your creative juices flowing:

This charming home is chock full of character, thanks in large part to the wood and stone work that is found both in the interior and on the exterior. The outside of the home is built from stately, sand-colored stones. On the inside, custom stone fireplaces add a touch of old world romance. The petit home feels large thanks to vaulted ceilings. Exposed wooden beams give each room a rustic feel.

The bathroom elegantly pairs gray marbled subway tiling on the walls with delicate black and white checkered tiling on the floors. The reclaimed wooden vanity supports an elegant sink while still housing tons of room for storage.

Green and blue pops of color keep all the spaces looking warm. The backs of the built-ins in the sitting room are painted a relaxing sea foam green, while royal blue throw pillows give the traditional living room a modern flare. The kitchen looks soft and classic with beautiful pastel cabinets.

If you’re interested in including any of these design elements into your guest home (or main house), contact Gelotte Hommas today!

Gelotte Hommas Architecture nominated for BEST OF HOUZZ 2015 – 4th Year in row

GELOTTE HOMMAS ARCHITECTURE of Seattle, Washington Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award


Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

Seattle, USA, January 19, 2015 – Gelotte Hommas Architecture of Seattle Washington has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The award winning high-end custom home design firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

“We are very honored to be recognized by the online community at for our work in the design arena. Thank you very much.” – Curtis Gelotte, Founding Principal at GHA

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize [Insert award winner name] among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Gelotte Hommas Architecture on Houzz HERE

About Gelotte Hommas Architecture:
Specializing in design from contemporary to traditional, Gelotte Hommas Architecture is a nationally recognized high-end custom residential architecture firm based in Seattle.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international

How to Add Traditional Designs to a Coastal Home

It is not impossible to imbue a coastal home design with traditional elements into your home.
It is not impossible to imbue a coastal home design with traditional elements into your home.

Coastal homes are meant to be comfortable in a casual manner, making them well-suited to people in need of some rest and relaxation. In contrast, traditional homes are all about their classic timelessness, having withstood the test of time to survive into the present. For people who find something to like in both kinds of homes, it is important to note that it is not impossible to imbue coastal home design with traditional elements.

Here are some suggestions for adding traditional elements to your coastal home as seen in this Coastal Cove House:

  • Befitting their shore-side locations, coastal homes use a lot of crisp whites and marine blues to create a clean and refreshing look. In contrast, traditional homes see extensive use of more natural colors and textures such as those of warm-toned wood. The Coastal Cove House makes use of both, letting the contrast between them enhance and enliven each in the perception of the viewer.
  • Some traditional homes use simple but well-made elements to create a sort of elegance that no amount of ostentation can replicate. This is well-matched to coastal homes, which tend to be furnished in a practical and unpretentious manner. Examples can be seen throughout the Coastal Cove House, ranging from the table made using planks to the simple but nonetheless sturdy and comfortable chairs.
  • The Coastal Cove House has numerous windows so as to provide plentiful light and ventilation. This reflects other coastal homes, which use such windows to let in the ocean breeze. However, the likeness of the windows evokes the symmetry of traditional homes, even while their somewhat unorthodox placement results in a casual and comfortable impression.

To learn more about how we can mix coastal home design with its time-tested predecessors, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Normandy Style Home Interior Designs

Gelotte Hommas Architecture has created lovely homes with Normandy's appeal.
Gelotte Hommas Architecture has created lovely homes with Normandy’s appeal.

Enjoy the style and appeal of Normandy ever day when you design your home with this classic city’s character. Gelotte Hommas Architecture has created lovely homes with Normandy’s appeal. The following design elements are a few of the any we suggest incorporating into your plans.

  • A Traditional Stone Exterior – You’ll instantly feel like you’ve been transported to Normandy when you pull up to your home’s exterior. Natural stone gives the home a classic, vintage look. Plenty of windows, framed in neutral brown, allow light to shine into the house.
  • Creamy Stone Walls – Carrying on the stone look throughout the interior makes the home look cohesive. It also provides a neutral backdrop, to which you can add other neutral-colored furniture and accessories.
  • Exposed Ceiling Beams – Nothing says rustic, rural Normandy like exposed ceiling beams. They add a touch of darker color to your otherwise light-colored interior, and they help emphasize the spaciousness of your rooms.
  • Open Staircases – Open staircases also contribute to the spacious appeal of a traditional Normandy home. Just imagine how amazing you’ll look while walking down an open staircase — especially one with a bend or an elbow. Iron railings add even more character.
  • Shiny Hardwood Floors – Hardwood floors match your exposed wood ceiling beams, giving your home a sense of balance. Choose a medium finish for the most authentic look, or a dark one if you want to create more of a contrast. Hardwood gives your living room and kitchen a very home-like appeal.

If you’re ready to design your Normandy style home, contact the talented architects at Gelotte Hommas Architecture. We’ll be happy to discuss these and other ideas that will give your home the traditional look you crave.

Building an Artful Wine Cellar for Your Luxury Home

Building a wine cellar

Just like an architectural masterpiece, wine is an art form that is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed. Don’t hide yours in a locked cupboard. Get the most out of every bottle by building an artistic wine cellar where you can display it and admire its beauty until it’s time for that first fabulous taste. Here are a few wine storage ideas to use as inspiration.

Building a wine cellar
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Natural stone storage units are perfect for creating a rustic look in your modern home. These prefabricated units often contain recessed lighting, making it easy to identify bottles and admire them. They range in size from several feet tall to the size of an entire basement.
  • Racking wine storage systems are perfect if your wine will be on display in a room that has a simple, minimalistic style. The wine is generally held behind glass paneling, so you can easily see every bottle. Simple pegs support the bottles, and LED lighting enhances their beauty.
  • Wall peg storage systems are a more permanent solution if you’re building a wine cellar. They consist simply of metal pegs which are inserted into the wall so that they hang parallel to the floor. Set wine bottles between two pegs in the same row to support them. Wall peg storage units can be incredibly large, and they’re easy to add to if your collection grows over time.

Reserve rack systems are great for large collections. The bottles are displayed so that the labels can easily be read. The bottles that will be consumed soon are held at angles, while those meant to be stored for longer are held flat.

Don’t forget to keep Gelotte Hommas Architecture in mind for all of your design needs. Contact us to discuss these and other wine storage ideas for your home.

Building On a Great Location? Take Advantage of Your View

When you purchased your land, you probably focused on finding the most attractive plot around. Maybe your land offers a great view of a trickling stream, or maybe you can see a deep forest on three sides of your plot. You want to get as much enjoyment out of this setting as possible, and one way to do that is to make sure it’s visible from inside your home. Before you build, consider these ideas for creating a panoramic view of your land from inside your house.

Building a home around great views
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Take some home design inspiration from the beautiful designs emerging in South Africa. These homes use fabulous glass walls to allow complete views of the ougtdoors. Rather than relying on sharp angles, these homeowners are choosing curved glass designs to create light,  flowing looks.
  • Floor to ceiling windows are a classic way to expand your view. Make yours unique by placing two windows at a corner so that you can stand in that corner and look out over a great expanse of your property and the surrounding nature.
  • If you crave true luxury, build a terrace around the top level of your home. It’s the perfect setting for sun tanning and reading, and you’ll have a completely unobstructed view of the area from a point above the trees.
  • Build a single glass room off of the side of your home which has the best view. Use modern decor, such as simple, monochromatic furniture, to keep the focus on the view.

If you’re looking for additional home design inspiration, contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture. Talk to our talented designers; they’ll work with you to create a home that does your location justice.

Luxury Home Features: Inspiring Mezzanines to Add Depth

One of the latest trending home features is the inclusion of a mezzanine. This wide-open floor space can serve many functions as a social area, family living space, or even a home office. Under a tall ceiling, mezzanines feel open and welcoming, and they allow you to show off your home’s best features in a more expansive atmosphere. Here are a few examples of ways you can use a mezzanine to add depth to your home design.

mezzanine design
Source: Gelotte Hommas

Wooden Mezzanine

Built underneath a wide-open skylight, a wooden mezzanine looks vibrant and woodsy in the daytime and warm and cozy by night. Integrate plenty of wood into the space and draw the eye upwards by choosing natural wooden ceiling beams. Another good places to use wood is on a loft level or as a frame for large picture windows.

Brick and Stone

Create a rustic-looking mezzanine by exposing a plain brick wall on one side of the room. This is a nice choice for a lower level or basement space. Pair the brick or stone with simple colors like gray and rust for a very natural and relaxed look. Use minimal decorations for a coordinated appeal.

Transparent Glass

A mezzanine does not necessarily have to be completely open — it just has to give that appearance. Try creating a unique visual connection between living spaces on a loft level by separating them with glass panes. From the lower level, the loft will look wide open, but when you’re actually up there, you benefit from having the space somewhat physically divided.

The architects at Gelotte Hommas would love to help you design a home that incorporates the latest trending home features. Contact us to discuss mezzanines and more.

Love Art? Build In the Perfect Art Gallery to House Your Favorite Works

If you love art, there is no better way to indulge your appreciation than to build your own collection of paintings and drawings. Once you have this collection, however, it deserves a place of honor in your home. Use these home design inspiration tips to create an art gallery where your favorite works can be appreciated and enjoyed by your family and guests.

Designing an in-home art gallery
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Create an artistic and revolutionary look by using micro-cement to create sculpted structures, including sinks or a bar area. It’s important that everything in this gallery room flows, and using one medium to create the entire space helps ensure this. The art work will really call attention to itself on the walls without you having to create elaborate displays.
  • You’ll want plenty of natural light to shine into your gallery. This makes the colors in the artwork really pop and all of the details stand out. Floor-to-ceiling windows are a good choice, as are large, multi-paned windows.
  • When you have guests over, you’ll likely want to enjoy some cocktails while admiring the newest addition to your collection. Make this easier by incorporating a hidden wine or liquor cabinet into your art gallery design.
  • Industrial lighting gives an art gallery a truly modern feel. Use simple, hanging pendant lights on the ceiling. You can also integrate some ambient lighting around pieces. Wall sconces underneath or above paintings can make them stand out with a splash of light.

The Architects at Gelotte Hommas have years of experience designing special purpose rooms including art galleries. Contact us to discuss these and other home design inspiration ideas that can make your Seattle home unique.