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.

An Architect’s Perspective on Asian Ambiance

Each Gelotte Hommas custom home offers a story, and our architects are meticulous in remaining faithful to the established stories and themes of each project. Seattle architect Scott Hommas recently discussed his process for designing a timeless, Pacific Northwest home with an East Asian motif.

How did the Asian Ambiance project come to you and what’s the story?

This project is actually an older project, but it’s timeless. It’s as modern today as it was when we designed it, right around the year 2000. The project was a remodel–one of those homes that at the genesis of it was a one story shack on the water. We had to determine how it all stood up. There was a deck that wasn’t even attached to the house; it was just leaning up against it!

By the time we got to it, it was a two story shack. The house’s structure was fine. Some of the things attached to it weren’t great, but we worked very hard to maintain the home’s original geometry. We took the roof off and added a third floor with a bedroom, a large office, and a media room.

Then the fun thing about this house is the stairwell. We wrestled with, “How do you get the main entry–which is on the upper floor–to graciously bring people down to the main floor? So we created a stairway that is more like a piece of furniture than a stairway. The owner had an interest Asian art, so this custom stairway is designed after an Asian tansu hutch. We followed through on that Asian theme and created a cozy library sitting area.

The owner approached you with the Asian art theme. Was the East Asian architecture style familiar to you, or did you have to do a bit of research to achieve it?

Asian and craftsman styles are kindred spirits. The craftsman movement was largely influenced by Asian design, so I think I was very familiar with the concept and the overall design philosophy. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me. And it was fun! It was the first project I worked on that had  budget enough to execute details like that stairwell.

Talk more about the evolution of the staircase.

It was a question of how do you make it gracious, how do you make it meld well with the library down below, and how do you use every inch of space in the house? It’s actually not a large house. And it all fell together. It felt natural: the tansu hutch idea and using every bit of storage possible. Making it look like furniture instead of a stairway. It felt like it evolved naturally, with very little effort. I spent a lot of time detailing it out, but I think it turned out well.

What challenges did you face in crafting this home?

The lighting. You start putting a lot of wood into the home along with the muted colors, and, especially in the Pacific Northwest, it can quickly start to get dark. We focused on lighting the displays and lighting the ceilings to make sure that the home stayed bright. I think we did a good job. We were working with some low ceilings and a lot of dark wood, yet it still feels like a light, bright space.

What’s your favorite part of this house, and what did enjoy most about designing it?

The owners really did have an appreciation for good design, and they allowed me to foster that. One of the most successful things in this house is the library. It’s a warm, cozy place, and it’s timeless. I think the owners appreciate all the little details that went into it. It’s an example of how a house can have a waterfront view, but it can offer other things, too. It doesn’t have to be all about the water. Although, we didn’t lose any opportunity to take advantage of it on the other rooms!

Closing Thoughts

Scott’s thoughtful design efforts on this custom project reflect the care we take with each client’s dream home. Our clients’ interests, preferences, and lifestyles are our primary inspiration for crafting timeless, welcoming homes.

Spiraling Upwards

Have you ever wanted to see more of that gorgeous staircase at the top of our website? Well this is your chance. That beautiful spiral staircase is part of Hillcrest Farm and works its way up the observation tower.

At the base is a nearly life-size bear statue accompanied by a small garden area.

It is a bit of a hike to the top of the tower but luckily there are a few landings that allow you to stop and catch your breath.

Wood, stone and metal combine to create a contemporary staircase with a slightly medieval feel.

Hillcrest Farm

The stairs are situated in a stone observation tower in the middle of the home. The view at the top makes it fun, rather than a chore, to get your daily exercise.

Your home may not require a multi-floor spiral staircase but the architects at Gelotte Hommas can still design you something spectacular to fit your needs.


french colonial home designed by upscale Bellevue Architect

When designing your dream home it is best to start by figuring out what are your priorities. Do you want your home to be large or small? Modern or traditional? A master suite that takes up the entire second floor or a pantry the size of Fort Knox just in case guests stop by. In this Westview Manor home we can see just where the priorities lay.

Westview Manor

The entrance to the home is refined but very inviting. The red door and oval window add whimsical touches that indicate this home is fun and friendly.

Westview Manor

Inside most of the rooms, including this bedroom, are well appointed but not overly extravagant. They are comfortable but it feels as if some of their potential size was given to other rooms that may rank higher on the owners list of priorities.

Westview Manor

This bathroom, for example, is decadent. A merely ‘efficient’ bathroom would be half this size but this room is designed for relaxation and indulgence. I would happily sacrifice some bedroom space for a bathroom like this in which to pamper myself.

Westview Manor

And then there is the kitchen. A gourmet meal for a football team could be made in this professional grade kitchen. The owner of this home obviously takes their culinary avocation seriously.

I hope this beautiful home illustrates the point that building a custom home is more than deciding on paint colors and paver stones. It is about creating a home that fits your lifestyle and Gelotte Hommas Architecture are just the ones to help you.

Options for Outdoor Living

It may only be late February but here in Seattle the crocus and daffodils are already blooming which turns our thoughts to outdoor entertainment. The exterior space of a home says just as much about the inhabitants as the interior space. Today’s post is an overview of some of the option that Gelotte Hommas could build you to make your summer entertaining amazing.

Fire pit- This can be as simple as a few chairs huddled around a stone circle or as elaborate as the space pictured above. For the ultimate marshmallow roasting spot combine a modern fireplace with a natural stone patio and plush seating. An added bonus would be the bar nearby with electricity and a working beer tap. Why ever go inside?

Porch- Maybe your home already has a small outdoor seating area but could it be better? Is there ample space to relax in the afternoon while drinking iced tea and reading a book? This rounded porch not only provides more space it is also an interesting architectural element that draws the eye and gives the home a distinct look. The circular bay windows to the right balance out the porch to create a symmetrical, yet not precisely symmetrical, design.

Fountain or Pond- On a hot summer day just the sound of running water can help to cool us off. Fountains can be a beautiful centerpiece to a garden or patio area. Traditional fountains such as the one pictured above are elegant and timeless while ponds have a more natural or wild look and can be stocked with fish and blooming water plants.

Pool- Swimming during the heat of summer is divine. Your own personal pool is the perfect way to cool off and also do some low impact exercise. Pools are also particularly popular with kids and dogs.

Any or all of the above options are great things to add to your home if you like spending time outside. If your interest is peaked and you think you might be interested in adding to your home then contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture to help you design the perfect summer.




Don’t Forget to Look Up- Gorgeous Ceilings

Ceilings are an element of a home that is often overlook. With all the beautiful details that a Gelotte Hommas home has at eye-level it may take some time for the gaze to wander up. But as with every other aspect of the house we feel that the ceiling should be just as gorgeous as the rest of the home. Here are a few examples of ceilings we love.

The ceiling of this porch is subtle and soothing. Wood planking is painted white to create texture and balance. Other options would be to keep the natural wood color or brighter shade of paint to change the entire feel of the area. This may be a simple ceiling but it is elegant and versatile.
This dramatic hallway was created by alternating sections of wood paneling and glass. Perfectly positioned lighting highlights the warmth and color of the wood in the evening while the glass lets in the natural light during the day. The angles of the ceiling gives more height as well as a whimsical quality.
Flat may be fashionable someplace but curves are king in this Mediterranean mansion. A single arch would be enough for most homes but here we have plains of interest which catch the light. The addition of dramatic lighting and a warm color scheme make this hallway irresistible to walk down.
Ceilings are a necessity but they can also be a stylish and eye-catching element. Let the architects at Gelotte Hommas design you the perfect ceiling for your home.

Unique Elements- Part 1

Every home has its own individual style but some homes take it a step further with unique elements that emphasis their character. Each Gelotte Hommas project is one of a kind and here are some details that prove it.

Flowers peek through a round interior window.

Small touches can really change the feeling of a space. A great example of that is this circular cut-out in the wall of this Mediterranean styled home. It is a fun and playful element that helps to create a lighter and more open feel.

Secret Rooms
Nothing to see here…

Another small detail that hides a big surprise is this hidden door bookcase which opens to reveal a secret room. This would be the ideal office for a mystery writer.

Hidden Rooms
…except this secret study.



















This entire Cedar Haven home is filled with amazingly beautiful elements and one of my favorites is this door. The wood grain alone is gorgeous but following the contour of the wood and installing glass panels makes this door really mesmerizing.


Small pieces with a lot of character can add interest and whimsy to a home. However, if you like your statement pieces to be a bit larger then be sure to check out Unique Elements- Part 2 to see some of the larger things that can customize a home.


Stylish Stairs

Deciding to build or remodel a home usually starts with big picture ideas such as the footprint of the house and how many stories. Once the large elements are hashed out the real fun begins- details. One detail that can often be overlooked is the staircase. Yes, its main function is to connect one level to another but that doesn’t mean it can’t do its job beautifully. Here are some examples of staircases that are both functional and stylish.

At the Storybook Cottage whimsy is a keep component in the design. This staircase combines colors and textures to make it a visual highlight in the room. Wood steps and handrails give a warm and traditional feel while decorative metal work balusters are more contemporary. The entire effect works well in this enchanting home.

Fluid is the first word that comes to mind upon seeing this unique staircase of Cedar Haven. The goal of the homeowner was to create a space which blended into the natural surroundings and incorporated the feel of nature. Their success culminated in this beautiful staircase with elegant curves and a relaxing color palette.  Even the lighting fixture continues the organic design.

In contrast to the previous serpentine staircase is this angular set of stairs. Asian style is combined with Arts and Crafts influences resulting in a functional and appealing design for this Asian Ambiance home. Japanese tansu-style cabinets provide storage and style while large display steps showcase the homeowners art.

If you are thinking about building or remodeling a home and want a unique staircase then consult with Gelotte Hommas today to get the design process rolling.


Envy Worthy Entryways

Curb appeal may be a hot buzzword, but it is true that the visual impact of a home sets the tone for what is inside. Should the entrance to your home be large and monumental, giving a sense of opulence and grandeur? Or would something more understated and contemporary fit the home better? Here are a few examples of envy worthy entryways.

The Tuscan home design boasts numerous elements that you typically find in the Mediterranean style, from the grand arches and pillars that frame the entrances.
Circular windows appear often in Tuscan style homes.

This Tuscan style home features an entryway that is elegant and welcoming.  Stately columns emphasis the doorway and ground the old world arch above.


If your tastes are more contemporary then perhaps this entryway at our House in a Mountain Meadow will catch your eye. Wood and glass, combined with ample lighting, create a very welcoming entryway for this contemporary northwest home.

Quintessential mountain homes, like our House in a Mountain Meadow, are havens from the hustle and bustle of urban living.
Covered entryways are a must have for the drizzly weather of the Pacific Northwest.







Or maybe ‘bigger is better’ is your philosophy when it comes to the entrance to your home. This Lakefront Gothic home makes quite the impression, particularly when you arrive by boat. You will feel like royalty coming home to this palatial view each day.

The philosophy behind European Gothic designs like our Lakefront Gothic is "Go big or go home".
Although the front of this Lakefront Gothic home is beautiful, the back is absolutely stunning.


From intimate to opulent, the entrance to your home sets the stage for what is to come. In future post we will look at interior elements to incorporate into your dream home. Or, if you are ready to start designing your own haven, contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture today.