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.

Open Your Bathroom Up with a Curbless Shower

Open up your bathroom with a curbless shower packed with eye-catching aesthetics.
Open up your bathroom with a curbless shower packed with eye-catching aesthetics.

One of the recent trends in customizing homes is having an open shower design in the bathroom. Whether it’s the master bath or otherwise (or all of them), this addition can be an attractive and streamlined look for your home. Curbless showers make an interesting and appealing aesthetic choice.

Here are a few items to consider when choosing whether or not to design your bath with a curbless shower:

  • Space requirements are typically much larger than a curbed shower in order to contain the splash zone. This can be mitigated with proper showerhead placement, but the size of the bathroom will have to be larger to accommodate, just the same.
  • Drainage needs will require a sloping floor in some cases, to ensure proper water flow to the drain, so that the room is completely dry after use.
  • When considering drains, think about how they will fit into the room, and what kind of materials you would want in order to create an attractive shower system.
  • If a totally open shower doesn’t seem like a good fit for your needs and preferences, there are curbless showers that are enclosed behind glass, which will retain the streamlined appearance.
  • With a curbless shower, exterior walls can be designed in such a way to make your bath/shower experience seem like a step into nature, or give you the secure feeling of total privacy, but without the claustrophobic, cramped feel of a curbed shower.

When you’re considering a customized new home, keep an open shower design in mind for the bathroom, and contact an award-winning Seattle architecture firm, Gelotte Hommas Architects.

Image via Gelotte Hommas 

Home Design with Your Life in Mind: The Entertainer

When purchasing, building, or remodeling a home, the architecture and design of your space are meant to enhance your life there, not inhibit it. Reflecting who you are in your home goes beyond decor, paint, and furniture; every beam, nail, and board should work to cohesively make your space the best that it can be for you as an individual. We’re starting a series on the Gelotte Hommas blog to showcase rooms, homes, and spaces designed for various personalities, starting out with The Entertainer. Are you the socialite of any social gathering? Love to host to dinner parties and get togethers? Enjoy helping people meet other people and the buzz of conversation? If so, you’re an Entertainer (with a capital E), and your space needs to live up to the challenge. Here are a few of the rules that your home should follow to fit your needs:

The Entertainer needs ample space for get-togethers and groups within the home.

Open floor plans are a bit of a “buzz” word in the architectural and home design world at the moment, but this style of architecture is anything but a mere trend. Having your rooms flow seamlessly into one another allows you breathing room, space, and the perfect entertaining setting, as guests can join you in the kitchen, in the dining room, or in the living room while still being able to view guests and the party in general throughout the space.

Wood Stone Water home from Gelotte Hommas Architecture
Large windows, open spaces, and an open balcony make this living space feel larger than life.

In our “Wood Stone Water” home in Bellevue, the architects of Gelotte Hommas created an open, welcoming environment perfect for entertaining. Large windows and open spaces make the room feel even larger, helping guests to avoid feeling stuffy, and create a great space for visitors to flow through as they enjoy group interaction and intimate conversations alike. The large windows provide great scenery and ample conversation starters. Interesting features within the home,  including an indoor waterfall spanned by a delicate wood bridge in the living room, make the house interesting, inviting, and the perfect vessel for a host or hostess.

Preparation is part of the party, so make every space social.

Any regular party host knows that your job is never done, and you’re often handing party management tasks while talking with guests and enjoying the festivities yourself. Make spaces like the kitchen inviting and open so that your guests can enjoy your company while you whip up extra hors d’ oeuvres  or mix a signature cocktail. Our “House on Pine Lake” as a perfect example:

open, modern kitchen designed by Gelotte Hommas
Expansive counter space and in-kitchen seating welcome guests to a behind-the-scenes moment.

The beautiful, modern kitchen in our House on Pine Lake provides seating for guests so that they can enjoy conversation with you while you finish up a few drinks or snacks. Ample bar and counter space provide room for a wonderful food display or just a space to serve to the helping hands of a catering staff.

Behind every great Entertainer there’s a relaxing getaway.

Even socialites need to recharge, and while your home should be designed to accommodate groups in great entertaining spaces, you should also have a niche that’s all about you. A spa shower or bathroom gives you a place to soak away pre-party stress or to relax away a job well done when the final guest says farewell.

spa shower from Gelotte Hommas Architecture
A spa shower can relax away even the most stressful party planning.

A beautiful, welcoming spa shower gives you the perfect space to relax. Beautiful, natural tile provides a soothing environment as you wash away all of your cares.


Are you an Entertainer? How does your home design fit your personality? If you’re not exactly a socialite, stay tuned: We have other personality and design features coming up next month!

Friday Fun – Houseboat Architect

Being a Seattle native architecture firm we have the pleasure of designing homes for some of natures most beautiful terrain’s. All within the Washington border there is Rainforest, Lake Front, Beach Front, Wooded and Down Town city scapes. We have designed every possible type of home there is from Mediterranean to Cape Cod, and everything in between. We truly love our job as we get the pleasure of bringing your ideas to life. We are inspired daily by our clients dreams, and we never really know where they are going to take us. The one house style that we have yet to design is a house boat, and we are here to say we would LOVE to! We want to be a house boat architect too. Take a look at just a few of the gorgeous house boat’s on Lake Union.

Very contemporary
The view from inside the house boat
These house boats look similar to a few projects we have done!

The aboev house boats look similar to some of our projects Sammamish Tuscan and Lakefront Splendor.

A cute Shingle style boat house

With a boat house you wake up everyday with a stunning view of the water. Here in Seattle; rain, or shine, in the snow or the heat the water is always gorgeous.
Are you thinking of downgrading in size maybe? Have you ever considered designing a boat house? We would absolutely LOVE to be your architect. Give us a call and let’s talk about your boat house dream.

*Images courtesy of Bing

The 7 Stages of Residential Architectural Design – An Info-graphic

From start to finish there are quite a lot of details that go into the design, and then build out processes of residential architecture. This can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years depending on the size and complexity of the project. Whether remodeling your guest bathroom, or designing a 35,000 sq. ft home in the Colorado Rockies, the process can basically be broken down into 7 stages.
Check out this info-graphic we developed to help us explain the process. Enjoy!

Do you see anything that we missed? Do you have a question that we didn’t cover?
Leave us a comment so we can make sure to answer them, and of course to make this info-graphic even better!

GHA home featured in Pacific NW Magazine

Over the weekend one of our homes was featured in Pacific NW Magazine in The Seattle Times.
View the Full article by clicking here.

"The Car Lodge"
"The Car Lodge"
"The Car Lodge"
"The Car Lodge"
"The Car Lodge"



Gelotte Hommas Architecture of Seattle, WA Receives Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award

Gelotte Hommas Architecture of Seattle, WA Receives

Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award 

Houzz: Best of Remodeling 2012 - Seattle Pools

First-Ever Survey & Analysis of More than 1.2 Million Members Reveals Top-Rated Professionals and Current Design Trends from Across the Country

Seattle, WA  —  March 19, 2012 – Gelotte Hommas Architecture of  Seattle, Washington has been awarded  “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  The award winning custom residential design firm was chosen by the more than 1.2 million registered members of the Houzz community.

The Houzz “Best Of Remodeling” award for 2012 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionalsDesign award winners’ work was the most popular among the 1.2 million members, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 16.5 million professional images to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site and iPad/iPhone app. 

“Thank you for choosing GHA to be a part of the ‘Best of Remodeling 2012’ chosen by the Houzz community. Houzz is a wonderful tool for home owners and professionals alike infused with inspiration and creativity. We are truly honored.” – Gelotte Hommas Architecture

“With 3.5 million monthly unique users and 80 million monthly page views, Houzz has rapidly become the largest community of active remodelers, providing homeowners and design enthusiasts with first-hand advice from Houzzers who have been through the renovating and decorating process,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. “This is a real stamp of approval for Gelotte Hommas Architecture from the Houzz community and we’re thrilled to welcome them to this elite group of ‘Best Of’ winners.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Gelotte Hommas Architecture, but also those whose work visually aligns with their own design goals. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

About Houzz

Houzz ( is the leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.2 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

Our work won in the “Design” category, as our portfolio includes some of the most popular images on Houzz.
You can see our award-winning work in these “Best of” ideabooks:–Best-of-Remodeling-2012—Seattle-Media-Rooms


(Be my) little house on the prairie

Prairie style home

Since “Prairie Style Architecture” is really popular right now (we’ve got the blog and website stats prove it), we thought we would give you something to oogle at.
May I introduce you to three projects:

prairie house style
Open Prairie
Boxstar Ranch
contemporary prairie style home
Wood, Stone, Water

Open Prairie

is a 3,300 square feet home in Kirkland. Here are some specs:

glass detailing in door on prairie style house
Gorgeous door with stained glass detailing in "Open Prairie"

• Prairie-style with broad, sheltering overhangs

• Main level also accessible from an elevator in the garage

• Open floor plan maximizes light and views from all spaces

prairie style house in Kirkland
Look at the sky light detailing!

• Built-in banquette for casual dining

• Covered outdoor barbecue off kitchen

Boxstar Ranch

a 6,400 square feet refined rustic rambler

prairie style house
wood detailing and open floor plans are a big part of prairie style

• Master suite is a separate pavilion connected by a glass enclosed “breezeway”

Prairie style home
This wall made up of windows spans the length of the house

• Great room focuses to the expansive view

Wood, Stone, Water

5,600 square feet prairie style home with a contemporary Northwest twist

contemporary prairie style home
Contemporary twist on Prairie style architecture

• Heavy-timbered soaring roof structure unites the inside and outside

• Home was designed to capture the changing light throughout the day

contemporary prairie style home
Look at all that amazing wood work!

• Living room features an indoor waterfall and is spanned by a delicate wood bridge

• Custom designed “tea-house” canopy over the master bed

What is your favorite part of Prairie Style Architecture? Leave us a comment!

Sage in your ketchup? What custom residential architecture looks like

What IS architecture? Have you ever asked this question? Most people have at one point or another considered what it would be like to design and build their own custom home. What stops them is that surprisingly there are quite a few misconceptions about custom residential architecture floating around out there.  Today we thought we would end off the week by tackling a few of them.

Scott Hommas explains custom residential architecture

Custom Architecture is expensive and only for the rich and famous.
Five years ago this statement was true for about 80% of our clientele, now that number is quiet a bit lower. I’m convinced that one of the main reasons more people aren’t going down the road of hiring an architect is simply that they don’t know they can!  Designing and building homes on affordable budgets is not as elusive as you think. What most people don’t know is that custom architecture and designing the home you have always dreamed of is extremely affordable. You still don’t believe me? I want to flip your perspective. From renovating your current home, to buying a lot and starting from scratch your budget is made up by YOU! That’s right, you. If you want 50 thousand square feet and marble everything we can do that, but if you are wanting something a little more modest we can absolutely do that too.

The tract developers”custom” myth
Everyone has seen one of these developments, has a friend, and or lives in one themselves. They seem to be everywhere now-a-days. Don’t get me wrong, these are great home builders who produce quality homes, but they are not as “custom” as they claim to be.
For those of you who don’t know – when you buy a custom home from one of these builders you are presented with options every step along the way from carpet to wall color. Some options are standard, and some are called “upgrades” costing a little bit more money and adding onto the cost of the home. For example, you can either get the standard brown tile in the kitchen or you can upgrade to marble tile for a little bit more money. This method of building a home can be a great option. It gives the home owner a sense of customization and bit more pride in the home they are purchasing. What if though (let’s say) you wanted to add a skylight in your master bathroom, or add pillars in your kitchen. That is not possible and would not happen because it is outside the scope of what “customizations” are allowed.

Scott Hommas, one of our principals here at GHA, explains it like this; Burger King offers you a burger and you can have it YOUR WAY right? You can add cheese, or bacon, no bun, whatever. It’s your burger, have it your way. What if though you wanted the cook to add sage in your ketchup? (I know, sage in ketchup sounds weird but go with it) There would be no way for you to add sage in your ketchup at Burger King because they do not have the means to provide that. If, however, you had a custom chef preparing your meal you could most certainly have sage in your ketchup and literally whatever else you wanted. So, you see. Custom isn’t truly custom unless you can get what you want at the price you can afford.

Gelotte Hommas is a custom architecture firm and we could talk architecture all day long! (in fact, we kind-of  do). Whether you are thinking about updating your outdoor living space for Spring, or building a cabin in Tumblecreek we would love to walk you through that process. As with most architects we offer free consultations, so there is literally no pressure what so ever to come and talk about what your thinking. We would love to meet you! Getting some feedback on what your thinking will give you piece of mind, and that you can’t put a price-tag on.

Northwest living: Waterfront Reflections

We have some pretty amazing projects underway, but Waterfront Reflections is unique for a few reasons.

Waterfront Reflections

‘Northwest living’ can truly range from deep in the woods of Tumblecreek to a bluff in the San Juan’s overlooking the Puget Sound, and everything in between. GHA homes are designed from elegance and embrace the gorgeous Northwest scenery and Waterfront Reflections is stunning example of this. At 8338 square feet this  custom Northwest Contemporary style home is tucked into the shores of Lake Washington.

Aerial view of Waterfront Reflections

Although it is designed for a family with small children, this home is boasts brawn and beauty. Our client’s love the natural beauty of the lake and wanted to incorporate as much of the “lake lifestyle” as they could into the design, so we went to work. Walls of huge glass windows and a beautiful outdoor living space allow our clients to enjoy the lakefront year round.

View from the Lake Washington of Waterfront Reflections

Inside the light filled great room is the center of the home with everything radiating out around the massive stone fireplace. Northwest family living on the shores of Lake Washington is truly “Northwest Living.”

Contact Gelotte Hommas today to set up a consultation!

Pop-Up card for Valentine’s day

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Whether you are celebrating today with as a couple, or not, there is always someone you can show some love to today. We were inspired over here at GHA and got a little crafty.

pop-up card for valentines day
Happy Valentines Day from GHA

We designed a pop-up card based on a custom tile mosaic on one of our client’s wine rooms. (You can view the wine room here)

Get your supplies ready and download our custom template here. Ready? let’s make a valentines pop-up card!

What you will need: card stock for the template and the card, glue stick, exacto knife, cutting mat, cute red envelope to put your finished valentine in, and chocolate (for energy whilst crafting of course!)
pop-up card for valentines day
Step 1: cut out all the sections marked "CUT OUT". *Careful not to cut the red outline*
All cut out and ready for step 2
valentines day pop-up card
Fold along the "FOLD HERE" lines
valentines day pop-up card
Fold down the center of the design in half
valentines day pop-up card
Fold the pink heart in half as well *careful not to rip the attached portions on the top and bottom*
valentines day pop-up card
Put some glue on"GLUE TO CARD" tabs on either side of the design. Align the design with the inner fold of your card and push down gently. Close the card over the pop-up design and press down firmly.
pop-up card for valentines day
Voilà! You have made yourself a pop-up card! (I knew you could do it) 🙂

Once you’re done post your pictures of your finished pop-up card in the comments section. We would love to see them!
Have a safe and happy Valentine’s day everyone.


Top ten most romantic homes of 2012 (and one from 2011 too)

There is 3 more days until Valentines day (one if you are only counting business days). *gulp* Are you all set to swoon the love of your life on Tuesday? If not – good luck to you. Well, we can’t exactly help you out in the gift department, but in the meantime we sure can get you in the mood for romance. Here are the top ten most romantic homes of 2012 courtesy of

# 1 - Coco Chanel Estate
#2 Katharine Hepburn Home
#3 Elegant Provencal Farmhouse
#4 Cedar Grove
#5 Romantic Maison De Pierre
#6 Fabulous Aspen Estate!


most romantic homes of 2012
#7 Amazing San Francisco & Golden Gate Bridge Views!
#8 Story New York Townhouse!
#9 “Stranded” On Your Own Private Island!
#10 Tammy Wynette-George Jones Estate

Now don’t you feel all mushy and romantic? We thought so.  Last year our very own project in Mercer Island was #3 on the top ten most romantic homes. Check it out!

#3 A Modern Day Fairy Tale
Have a safe and happy valentines day everyone!
*images courtesy of*