Helpful Tools Found Within an Architecture Blog - Project Crit at B&V

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog

This month’s Architalks post is centered around the word “tool” with a lot of leeway as far as what that can mean. Just like every Architalks post, there’s a lot of great content being written by some amazing architects listed at the bottom of the post, and I encourage you to click away.

I love the whole Architalks series, as it breaks me a bit out of my normal blog writing routine. To generate content, I keep a list of ideas which I circle back to when it comes time (or, rather, when I have the time) to write a new post. Snapping out of that list is helpful. This one in particular got me thinking about the tools that I use as an architect. There’s the obvious: the drafting board and vellum (perhaps now you get the name), drafting scales, pencils, computers, blah, blah, blah. But, I was quickly out of steam (and interest).

What I really care about are the tools that we, at Board & Vellum, use to help communicate with our clients (or, more honestly, the people who aren’t our clients). The Board & Vellum blog is easily my most useful and effective tool in communicating with people who aren’t directly working with our team. It helps explain what we do in a casual and accessible way. When I started Board & Vellum almost 5 years ago, I didn’t fully know where this was heading, but I knew I had to write with the interests of people debating the merits and logistics of an architectural project in mind. I specifically was not writing for other architects to be amazed at what I was doing, but for people to have access to knowledge that was typically charged for. It has been a little unconventional, but I’ve enjoyed the way we continually help people make more informed architectural decisions.

Here are some of my favorite ‘helping’ posts, in no particular order. (By some I mean, fifteen. I couldn’t bring myself to whittle this down to my typical ten.) While this feels a bit like an episode of a TV show that uses old snippits from previous episodes to make up 90% of the content (I believe this is called a clips show. Remember that horrible Shades of Gray Season 2 ending episode of Star Trek The Next Generation?), I hope this isn’t as cringe worthy as that. Anyway, here we go.

Favorite Helpful Posts from the B&V Architecture Blog

How Long Should My Remodel Process Take?

I’m constantly the person telling a prospective client the less-than-desired bit of information that they can’t, in fact, start building this summer. Here’s how long everything takes (give or take obviously).

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Typical Project Schedule

Tracking schedules is something we do continually.

How Much Does an Architect Cost to Design a Remodel?

It isn’t free, there’s plenty of variables, and everyone does it differently, but here’s how we charge.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Summary of Fee and Billing

We generate our costs from an Excel spreadsheet, and they're very transparent.

The Stages of Architectural Design

One of the most cringe-worthy things I hear from well-meaning clients is “I’d just like some plans.” There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there really isn’t any such thing as “just some plans,” either. Here’s how the whole process works to get from Pre-Design through Construction.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Sun Diagram

Here's a typical image from the early stages of design, analyzing sun-angles and site conditions

Does It Make Sense To Add a Second Story to My House?

Easily in our top three posts, here’s a question we get a lot in growing Seattle, filled with useful information, including costs.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Before and After

Before and After of our first second story project.

How Do I Design My Project with an Architect?

Here’s a blow-by-blow recap of the Schematic Design process at Board & Vellum. You’ll now better understand what generates the amount of work to get through this first phase in the design process.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Internal Crit Session at B&V

Design is pretty collaborative and 100% always includes pointing. We like to point.

Jeff’s (Current) Top 10 Design Elements to Watch For

Like most architects, I have my biases and here’s a pretty recent list of them with some helpful tips.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Jeff's Current Favorite Space-Saving Master Bathroom Plan

My current favorite space-saving Master Bathroom plan.

The Ups and Downs of Staircase Design

Stairs are often the key to a successful plan. Here’s what to consider when debating moving them or adding on to your house.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - A Designed Staircase

A generous entry and staircase leading up to a new second story.

Finding a Contractor

Just as critical as finding a great design team, finding a General Contractor can make or break your project. Here are some tips.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Todd with a Board & Vellum Job Site SIgn

We like contractors who let us put up job site signs.

What to Expect at the First Design Meeting with an Architect

Here’s some helpful information as to what that first meeting will be like.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Plan Sketch for a First Design Meeting

This is a pretty typical schematic-level sketch (although we often don't include color).

What do Architects’ Acronyms Mean?

We drop a lot of words that mystify the general public. Here’s a handy decoder (we need a cool ring for this, don’t we?)

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Translating Architectural Acronyms

Pulling back the curtain, since 2011.

An Architect Remodels His Own House

I’m not only the Principal, I’m also a client…. Here’s the story of my own remodel.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - An Architect's Own Remodel

I promise you that with two young boys, my house never looks this clean anymore.

Building the Lego Room

I’m down with the fact that my LEGO room is far more prevalent on google than I am. Here are answers to the questions I get all the time about how I planned the (now infamous) LEGO room.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - LEGO Room

LEGO! Also booze, but the booze gets far less press.

Advice to My 17-Year-Old Self When Considering Careers

Great advice for any young person debating whether or not to go into architecture. It wasn’t an easy trip, but the destination has been pretty epic.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Jeff Pelletier at Seventeen

Look at that space age hand-held computer I'm holding!

Top 10 Problems That Come Up During Construction

It will be a bumpy road from time to time. Here’s a road map to help guide you through.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Pointing at Plans

See what I said about pointing? We love to point.

What Kind of Cabinets Should I Select?

Cabinets seem pretty simple, don’t they? They’re not. Here’s a visual guide to some simple cabinet styles to help you select your cabinets with confidence.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Details of Types of Cabinets

Here are some typical cross sections of three common cabinet types.

The Top 10 Things an Architect Learns from Vacation

Stepping back and getting perspective is incredibly helpful in what we do as architects. Here are some lessons that inspire me to this day.

Helpful Tools Found within an Architecture Blog - Jeff on Vacation

Learning to relax and smile should be plenty, but vacations teach far more.

Thanks for Reading!

Hopefully, you’ll find some useful tips in all of these posts. We’ll continue to keep pulling back the curtain and giving away as much information as we can to better the conversation and elevate the discussion.

This post is part of the ArchiTalk series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect selects a theme, and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. This month’s theme is Tools. To read how others interpreted the theme, please click the links below.

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
3 Tools to Get Our Clients Engaged and Involved

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Best Tool In Your Toolbox

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The Tools That Help Make #AREsketches

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
tools #architalks

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
One Essential Tool

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Architools – Mind Over Matter

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 17 “Tool”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Tools of an Architect #Architalks 17

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Why An Architect’s Voice Is Their Most Important Tool

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
it’s ok, i have a [pen]

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@simplybrinn)
Synergy: The Value of Architects

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Tools for Learning

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Something Old and Something New

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Helpful tools found within an Architecture blog

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Sharpen Your Tools

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Super Tool

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Construction: An Architect’s Learning Tool

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
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  1. Great list here! The internet is giving us easier and easier access to lots of new tools that we wouldn’t have dreamed of having access to ten years ago. Thanks for sharing these.

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