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.

A Touch of Normandy Tradtional + Design Design + Interior

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 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.

Tansu Stairs in a Seattle Lake Home

More than a practical means of ascending from one space to another, staircases present a unique opportunity for exquisite design. Such is the case in one Seattle remodel.

At the behest of a client with an affinity for Asian art, architect Scott Hommas weaved a tansu-inspired staircase into a Pacific Northwest lake home. The custom staircase, designed in part to showcase a collection of Asian sculptures, offers a mild, gracious transition from the third-floor grand entry into the second-floor living space.

Asian Ambiance

The staircase integrates the remodeled home’s existing craftsman style with the clean, solid lines of the banister and railings. The rich wood stain matches the woodwork throughout the house and complements the stone tiles at the foot of the stairs.

Modeled after seventeenth century Japanese tansu step chests, the lower portion of this unique staircase offers both open and closed storage space. This wedding of form and function is authentic to the minimalist, functional East Asian design tradition, which makes use of every inch of space without compromising style.

Classic arts and crafts style architecture

The custom tansu staircase further functions as a natural partition wall for the library, thus creating a well-crafted and inviting enclosure for a wealth of books and art. Large display steps also offer a permanent home to a collection of Asian sculptures.

Asian Ambiance


Scott’s Asian Ambiance remodel exemplifies the melding of form and function–of beautiful design, storage, and accessibility–for the betterment of a home.

Signature Work (and a sneak peak!)

This week, we’re thrilled to be one of fifty architects, interior designers, and builders featured in Structure and Design, a book that highlights residential designs from leading professionals across the nation.

Structure + Design: Signature Work by Leading Architects and Interior Designers

Structure and Design features glimpses into several of our favorite homes—from a Tuscan-style villa to a San Juan Islands refuge to a Pacific Northwest inspired “Cedar Haven.”

One of Gelotte Hommas’ defining features is our love of story. Every home we create celebrates the fruition of a dream—and the story behind that dream. We select a specific theme and narrative to guide our design through every home. The homes in this collection celebrate the beauty of their surroundings, the careful skill of their craftsman, and the cherished visions of our clients.

A Tuscan-style master bath centered around a stunningly crafted bathtub. 
A Pacific Northwest inspired “Cedar Haven.”


While the Structure and Design hardcopies won’t release until November, you’re welcome to take a look at a digital copy of our featured work as well as the masterful creations of our colleagues across the United States. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

Grand English Manor

As soon as you pull up to the Woodway Manor you make think you have crossed the pond to jolly old England. Nestled in a park like setting this grand home is over 5,000 square feet of impeccably detailed architecture and design. Extensive renovations and additions give the home an eclectic feel but all of the components meld together into one elegant home.

Woodway Manor

The main entrance is understated and feels more like a country cottage than a grand estate. Details such as the leaded glass windows lend an historic feel to the property while the landscaping would make any English gardener proud.

Woodway Manor

The home also pulls influences from other European countries. This ample side patio feels more Mediterranean than English, perhaps due to the fact that the British weather does not dictate the necessity for such a sun worshiping space.

Woodway Manor

Another element that is not normally found at an English manor is this stunning pool and cabana. It just goes to show that styles and influences can be combined to create something that is more than the sum of its parts.

Woodway Manor

You may be dreaming of a home with a certain style but also wishing for elements not normally associated with that style. The creative and experienced architects of Gelotte Hommas can work with you design a home that has the style you want with the elements you need.

Kirkland Bungalow

The word bungalow might conjure up the image of a quaint little shack near a beach but that is not all that bungalows have to offer. In the book Bungalow (published 1911) the author, Harry Saylor defines a bungalow as having “an open floor plan, low-pitched roof and essential large front porch”. With that definition, the Kirkland Bungalow is a perfect example of this architectural style.

Another aspect of the bungalow is its ties to the arts and crafts movement. This is evident from the use of warm wood and cool stone tiles. The arts and crafts movement aimed to be welcoming and comfortable without being overly ostentatious or cluttered.

Even in a 4,000 square foot house every inch is expertly utilized. This entryway, though small, offers storage as well as seating. The stained glass above the door floods the area with delicate light while the use of wood creates a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Another unique feature of this home is that the main living area is on the top floor so as to take full advantage of the gorgeous views. Bedrooms are on the second floor with a garage as the lowest level.

If you are looking for a home with a distinct style but is still welcoming and homey then the bungalow might be right for you. The architects at Gelotte Hommas Architecture will discuss all the options with you and design a home that fits your style.

The Northwest Perspective

The gorgeous Pacific Northwest is known for having a relaxed yet refined style. Simplicity and functionality play key rolls in everything from our clothes to our homes. An excellent example of this unique aesthetic is this very Northwest home.

Although the lines are straight, it is the variation of height and width that give interest to the design. Concrete, wood and glass are favored materials because they are versatile and, when done right, can blend into the surrounding beauty of nature.

Inside are more clean lines complimented with neutral colors to give the space a fresh and inviting atmosphere. Influences from other cultures have made their mark on the northwest style such as the Asian influence of the wood shelving. The overall simplicity of the designs allows for interesting elements and art pieces to be incorporated into the space and still look harmonious.

Kitchens are often thought of as utilitarian spaces but they can also be beautiful and inviting. Informal gatherings almost always end up in the kitchen and this bar setup allows people to spend time with the cook without getting in the way. Add to that the speakers above the cabinets and you have the perfect gathering place for family and friends.

If you are interested in have a Pacific Northwest style home of your own then give Gelotte Hommas Architecture a call so we can start designing your stylish new space.

Start Planning for Summer Fun

Winter may be fast approaching but that does not mean we can’t dream about the day spring will arrive and we can sit out on the patio with a glass of lemonade and a book. In fact, if you are thinking about adding or remodeling your outdoor living space for next summer, now is a great time to start planning. And the first step for any new project is coming up with ideas. So here are a few examples of gorgeous outdoor living spaces to inspire you.

How can grilling get any better? Add a view!
How can grilling get any better? Add a view!

Food is an integral part to most summer gatherings and our Coastal Cove Home showcases an ergonomic grilling area which allows your guests to gather around and marvel at your cooking skills. The curved lines of kitchen/bar area ripple out to the wood deck with ample space to entertain or just enjoy the view.

Covered outdoor fireplaces are prefect for the unpredictable pacific northwest weather.

Perhaps your dream is to entertain your guests outside during more than just the nicest days of summer. A fireplace and covered porch will allow you to roast marshmallows well into the colder months. Other amenities in our Glassworks remodel include a luxury grilling station and glass accordion doors which create a seamless transition between indoors and out.

These two houses illustrate vastly different approaches to outdoor living, but still offer top of the line design and style. Contact  us today to start planning your dream outdoor escape.