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.

Entertain your Guests in your Open Floor Plan Home

You don’t necessarily need a huge home in order to entertain a lot of guests effectively. What you really need is an open floor plan — one that allows people to easily flow from place to place without encountering a lot of obstructions like doorways and extra walls.

Source: Gelotte Hommas
Source: Gelotte Hommas

As lives become busier, open floor plans have become more important for homeowners who wish to entertain. No longer do hosts have days to prepare by re-arranging furniture and moving decorations to make more space. Homes must be ready for last-minute entertainment, and an open floor plan allows for this.

Whether you have five friends over or fifty, people tend to congregate in the kitchen. For this reason, having a spacious kitchen that opens up seamlessly into the living and dining areas is essential. A kitchen island is also an important part of an open floor plan — it gives people a place to perch and talk.

The proper lighting can help you make effective use of open floor home plans. Since you don’t have room boundaries to define where guests are supposed to eat, and where they are supposed to sit and mingle, accent lighting can do the trick. Dim lighting over a table draws attention to it as a dining space. Hanging pendant lamps over a buffet place the emphasis on the food, and soft table lamps set near sofas and chairs invites guests to sit and relax.

Building a larger home does not necessarily give you more space. Using an open floor plan, however, creates a space that’s more easily utilized and enjoyed.

Are you looking for open floor home plans that are great for entertaining and everyday family living? Contact Gelotte Hommas Architecture to learn more about our home design services.

Indulge Your Inner Sommelier With a Custom Wine Cellar

Indulge Your Inner Sommelier With a Custom Wine Cellar

Building the perfect house means making sure that it accommodates all of your needs, as well as your wants. If your house doesn’t reflect your passions, then how can you ever truly call it home? We at Gelotte Hommas want to make sure your home features everything you want so that you will truly love returning home day after day.

Indulge Your Inner Sommelier With a Custom Wine Cellar
Source: Gelotte Hommas

If you’re a wine lover, then why not consider incorporating a wine cellar into your home design? It’s not as difficult as it seems, and with these tips, your friends will consider you to be a master sommelier in no time.

  • Location, location, location: Technically the wine cellar can be placed almost anywhere throughout the home, but you want to think long and hard about its location before finalizing any plans. Ideally, wine cellars should be placed in the coolest and most humid place in your home, which is often in the basement. You want to get as close to 55-58 degrees Fahrenheit as possible with 55-75% humidity.
  • Lighting: Wine cellars are an great feature in any home, but they can really stand out with the right lighting. Consider incorporating LED lighting so that they don’t emit heat (which is not good for wine cellars.) There are myriad LED lighting options to choose from, so look around for one that will really accentuate your wine cellar’s style.
  • Doorway: You want to keep your wine cellar at the right temperature and humidity level, so don’t use just any old doors; choose a door that seals so that you can keep the interior climate separate from that of the rest of the house.

At Gelotte Hommas, we love incorporating interesting features into our clients’ homes. Check out our Northeast by Northwest property to see a wine cellar we’ve completed in the past. Please contact Gelotte Hommas for a consultation, and follow our Facebook page.

Why You Should Build Your Home Using Wood

When deciding which type of material to use for your home, you’ll discover plenty of options. If you’re leaning toward natural materials, consider having a wood home built. Timber homes offer aesthetic appeal, as well as several practical benefits.

timber building material
Source: Gelotte Hommas

These are some of the advantages of living in a home made of wood:

  • Better efficiency. Wood provides more insulation than other types of building materials, such as steel or glass. It also helps keep heat inside in winter and cool air inside during summer, leading to lower utility bills.
  • Thousands of design options. Since there are more than 5,000 types of wood available, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. You can choose different colors or grains for different parts of your home, and you can also have the wood painted another color. The versatility of wood makes it an ideal building material for any home.
  • Water-resistant. Certain types of wood, such as Western Red Cedar, are very water-resistant, meaning that you don’t have to worry about the wood absorbing water and swelling.
  • Cost-effective and quick. Timber homes are more affordable than homes made from brick, concrete or other materials, and they can be built in a much shorter amount of time. Wood homes can also continue being built in all kinds of weather, including snow and rain.
  • Eco-friendly. There are many sustainable sources of wood used to build homes, making this an environmentally friendly material. Wood also absorbs carbon dioxide, which helps make the air healthier.

Our Wood, Stone, Water project illustrates the use of timber in a home’s design. You can view images of this project by visiting our online portfolio.

Need help designing a timber home? Please contact Gelotte Hommas for a consultation, and follow our Facebook page.

Defining Characteristics of Gothic Architecture for Your Home

Castles are the most popular examples of Gothic architecture, but this style can also be applied to homes. This type of architecture dates back to Medieval times, when people went to great lengths to make their dwellings seem light and airy.

Gothic Architecture
Source: Gelotte Hommas

These are some of the defining characteristics of Gothic architecture that can be incorporated in residential buildings:

  • Soaring heights. Gothic buildings reach great heights, thanks to architectural features, such as flying buttresses, that help support higher walls and ceilings. In Medieval times, these buildings towered over other structures.
  • Ornate design. Gothic buildings are admired for their intricate designs and ornate details, which contrasted sharply with the plainer designs of most other Medieval buildings. This type of architecture focuses on making buildings aesthetically appealing, as well as functional.
  • Light, open interior. The interiors of Gothic buildings are designed to be airy and allow in a lot of natural light through large, ornate windows. They feature lofty ceilings and an emphasis on open space instead of closed-off rooms.
  • Pointed arches. Pointed arches are visually appealing and provide a functional purpose as well. They help distribute the weight of ceilings better than other structures, such as pillars.
  • Vaulted ceilings. Gothic buildings feature vaulted ceilings in a variety of sizes and shapes. These ceilings provide added elegance and height to rooms, making them seem even more airy and ornate.

Our completed projects include a Lakefront Gothic stone estate on Lake Washington. The home showcases several features of European Gothic architecture. You can view images from our Lakefront Gothic project on our online portfolio.

Interested in discussing plans for a Gothic-style home? Contact Gelotte Hommas to make an appointment, and stop by our Facebook page.

How to Think Through Your Master Bath Plan

master bath design tips

Master bathrooms allow homeowners to enjoy some quiet and privacy at the end of a busy day, and they also provide a comfortable and luxurious place to get ready in the morning. There are several possibilities for designing a master bath, depending on the homeowner’s preferences and the layout of the home.

master bath design tips
Source: Gelotte Hommas

Homeowners can use the following tips to help them think about how they want their master bath set up:

  • Space. Ensuring enough space to move around comfortably is important. The room should have clear pathways that are at least 36 inches, especially around sinks and bathtubs. More room might be needed if two people will be sharing the master bathroom.
  • Placement. Sinks should be easy to get to as soon as the occupant enters the room. Bathtubs can serve as a focal point, especially if they feature an unusual design. Showers should be placed in areas that are the most resistant to water. They can go in a more open area of the bathroom or be installed with more privacy in mind. Toilets should be installed where they will be out of sight, and an exhaust fan or window should also be included. If there is enough space, a linen closet can also go in a master bath.
  • Measurements. Sink cabinets are typically between 24 and 36 inches wide, although they can be up to 48 inches wide. Standard tubs measure between 60 and 72 inches long and between 30 and 42 inches wide. Comfortable showers are generally between 36 inches deep and 48 inches wide.

Our Houghton Contemporary project showcases the possibilities involved for a master bathroom. Visit our online portfolio to view images.

Ready to get started on your master bathroom project? Contact Gelotte Hommas for a consultation, and follow our Facebook page.

Ideas for Building a Beautiful Contemporary Home

Contemporary architecture is sometimes confused with modern architecture, but the two styles have their differences. While modern homes often have a streamlined look, open floor plan, large windows, and plenty of white or neutral hues, contemporary homes push the envelope when it comes to decorative touches.

contemporary home design
Source: Gelotte Hommas

If you’re thinking of having a contemporary home built, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Sculptural effect. Instead of going with a simple modern ceiling, try something artistic and out of the ordinary, such as ceiling plans that overlap. The color can still be white or neutral, but the overlapping effect makes it stand out more.
  • Odd elements. Introduce unusual elements to a room filled with streamlined surfaces, such as an angular kitchen island or one structural piece or element made from a material that’s very different from what’s found in the rest of the room. These are simple changes that turn a room from modern to contemporary.
  • Visual impact. Add one focal point that really stands out, such as a wine storage area lined in glass or an eye-catching lighting fixture. This type of detail only needs to be done sparingly in a room that mainly features simple surfaces in white or neutral colors.
  • Variety of surfaces. A contemporary home can be done in a minimalist fashion, similar to a modern style, but it should have details that break up the streamlined surfaces. You can do this by adding different types of simple surfaces, such as a lighted glass flooring in a room with shiny surfaces.

Visit our online portfolio to see a lakefront contemporary home we designed. Look for the kinds of details that stand out, such as unusual textures and structural elements.

Ready to discuss plans for a contemporary house? Contact Gelotte Hommas, and visit our Facebook page.

How to Make the Mountain Home Modern

Many people think of mountain homes as simple cabins tucked away among the trees, but these homes can be much more than that. They can be spacious houses that make the most of the surrounding scenic views and feature luxurious touches.

The following ideas for a modern mountain home can help you decide how you would like yours to look:

designing a mountain home
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Large deck. Considering that any mountain home is bound to have beautiful views, adding a large deck makes sense. You can have a deck built onto the main floor of your home to take advantage of these views while relaxing.
  • Mix modern design elements with organic ones. The organic elements help give modern rooms a softer look. Rugged or petrified wood works well in mountain homes that are filled with modern furniture and other modern design elements.
  • Choose light-colored furniture. White or light neutral tones provide some contrast to mountain homes that feature dark wood floors and cabinets.
  • Wall-mounted faucets. These types of faucets are a common feature in modern homes. In mountain homes, they help bring a modern touch and work well with natural materials, such as a walnut slab countertop or a petrified wood sink.
  • Bring the outdoors inside. Adding structural elements, such as stone columns, helps blend the indoors and outdoors. Skylights and expansive windows let in as much natural light as possible and provide additional views of the home’s surroundings.
  • Home office. A home office doesn’t look out of place in a modern mountain home, especially when it contains a blend of modern and natural elements.

Take a look at images of our Cedar Haven project, which involved creating a modern mountain home.

Need to set up a consultation to get started on your mountain home? Contact Gelotte Hommas, and stop by our Facebook page.

How to Get the Modern Prairie Home Style Right

Prairie homes became common in the early 20th century. They provided a more spacious and visually-appealing home than more traditional homes with smaller windows and simple, four-wall designs.

Prairie homes typically feature rows of windows and cantilevered roofs, as well as more open floor plans that bring in extra light. Other ideas for a modern prairie home style include:

prairie-style home
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Horizontal lines. Prairie homes usually have horizontal lines. This feature can be seen on famous prairie home styles, such as those designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Central chimney. Placing one large chimney in the middle of the home gives prairie homes a cozy feel and serves as a central gathering place for family or friends.
  • Open floor plan. Prairie homes have open floor plans, instead of more compartmentalized designs with separate rooms. The kitchen, living room and dining room are often connected, which helps the home “flow” better and makes it easier for family members to interact.
  • Rich wood tones. Quarter-sawn oak and other deep wood tones are commonly seen in prairie homes.
  • Casement windows. Rows of windows are a hallmark feature of prairie homes. These windows let more sunlight in and create a streamlined look that offsets cantilevered roofs.
  • Hip roof with deep overhangs. This is one of the most common design elements of the prairie home style.
  • Art glass windows. Prairie homes often have visually striking windows with artistic designs on them. Thanks to these intricate patterns, these windows usually don’t require curtains.
  • Built-in seating. Seats that are built right into the room close to a fireplace or corner windows are also found in many prairie homes.

Please visit our portfolio to view images of a prairie home in Virginia, then contact us for a consultation. Follow us on Facebook to get more architectural ideas.

Build Your Home With a Courtyard for Entertaining

Courtyards provide a private outdoor space for entertaining guests. Whether you just want to have a few friends over for a late dinner or throw a larger party with dining and entertainment, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Use the following ideas for homes with courtyards to think about how you would like to set up yours:

courtyard design tips
Source: Gelotte Hommas
  • Entertainment. If you plan on having guests over to watch movies or games, have a big-screen TV placed in the courtyard, along with benches and lounge seats. Shelving to hold your movie collection also comes in handy.
  • Lighting. Fill your courtyard with enough lighting to make it look inviting when you entertain guests at night. You can have lights installed along the edges of your home to brighten up the courtyard.
  • Color. Add an unexpected splash of color to make your courtyard look more vibrant and festive. Royal blue or another bright color, such as red, can make your courtyard look more welcoming to guests.
  • Versatility. Design your courtyard so that it can be used during the day or at night. Have a water feature installed to create a focal point that guests can admire whether they’re over for an afternoon meal or a late dinner.
  • Space. Make effective use of the space you have in your courtyard. Place a long table in it if you’ll be having several guests over often.

To see a fine example of a courtyard made for entertaining, please visit our online portfolio. Homes with courtyards present wonderful design opportunities, which we would be happy to help you with.

Interested in discussing design options for your courtyard? Please contact Gelotte Hommas to schedule a consultation, and follow us on Facebook.

Like the Cape Cod Style? Use These Ideas

Natural colors, a broad frame, and a steep roof characterize Cape Cod homes. Although this style originated in New England, it has been adapted to the Northwest coast. If you’re a fan of Cape Cod style homes, there are several ways to accomplish this look.

cape cod shingle style home
Source: Gelotte Hommas

These are some of the features to consider giving your home if you want it to have a Cape Cod appearance:

  • Clapboard shingles. These shingles typically appear on the exterior of Cape Cod cottages, instead of brick or siding. They give these homes a charming appearance, especially when they’re accompanied by a gabled entrance and double dormers.
  • Symmetrical layout. Many Cape Cod homes have the front door right in the center with windows and dormers on either side to create a symmetrical appearance. Some even have double chimneys to complete this look.
  • European charm. Combine Cape Cod features with European ones to create a visually stunning variation on the traditional Cape Cod style. A few ideas to consider include climbing vines, a flagstone facade, and arched entrance.
  • Gabled dormers. Most Cape Cod homes have dormers. You can add charm to yours by choosing gabled dormers instead of a plainer style. Many Cape Cod houses have double dormers, but you can have a third one put on, depending on your home’s overall look.
  • Shutters. Cape Cod houses from the Colonial Era typically have shutters, which add visual appeal to the exterior. Consider adding a white picket fence and flowers for an even more traditional look.

Despite having common aspects, Cape Cod style homes can differ greatly. For an example of a Northwestern Cape Cod style, visit our online portfolio to see a stunning home we completed.

Ready to discuss your architectural ideas in more detail? Contact Gelotte Hommas for a consultation, and follow us on Facebook.

Love Your Cars? Give Them a Luxurious Place to Rest

man cave and garage

There have been some impressive achievements in man cave design in recent years. One new trend that tends to astound is the man cave/luxury garage combination that is demonstrated in this Connecticut home. Gelotte Hommas Architecture has taken on such a luxury garage project as well at a home in Seattle to create a garage of 3,000 square feet combined with a 2,600 square foot lounge area.

man cave and garage
Source: Gelotte Hommas

If you’re considering a man cave area in your home that embraces your love for cars and your car collection, consider the following luxury garage design ideas:

  • Lounge area that overlooks cars– The example shown in the Connecticut luxury garage has an upper level deck area that overlooks the cars kept down below.
  • Home automation enhancements– For the utmost in luxury, luxury garage components can be hooked up to a home automation system that will allow features such as lighting, sound, and heat to be controlled via smartphone or tablet.
  • Prepare for garage work– Obviously car lovers will want to do more than just admire their cars; they’ll want to do work on them as well. A complete luxury garage should be prepared to accommodate tinkerers with a sink area to remove wash car grease away and storage space for tools.
  • Include a patio area outside– Allow for outdoor lounging in nice weather by designating an area outdoors for a patio. Consider a romantic fireplace area as in the example of the Connecticut property.

Find more helpful information on home design ideas and luxury garage design ideas by following Gelotte Hommas Architecture on Twitter.

If you’re contemplating a design project for your home, contact us at Gelotte Hommas Architecture for information on our architectural services and our portfolio of past projects.