Should you remodel your home, or build new? Learn what to consider when making this tough decision.
Jeff Pelletier – Meet a B&V'er – Board & Vellum Team

Jeff Pelletier, AIA, CPHC

Principal | Architect

Jeff has known since he was two years old that he wanted to be an architect. He was one of those kids playing in a room filled with LEGO bricks who grew up to be an adult practicing architecture in a room filled with LEGO bricks. It is a profession he loves deeply.

After moving from New York City in 2001 following graduation from Cornell University’s architecture program, Jeff invested heavily in Seattle. He spent a decade working for area firms before founding Board & Vellum in early 2011. Tapping into his extensive experience in residential, retail, commercial, and multi-family projects large and small, Board & Vellum is focused on complicated and precisely-detailed projects utilizing clear communication, a collaborative design approach, and excellent project management. Jeff is your advocate the whole way through. In a very short time, Board & Vellum has gained local buzz and grown to a staff of around 30. Jeff has been honored with the “40 Under 40” award by Puget Sound Business Journal, been recognized as one of the Top 200 Influencers in the Construction Industry by Fixr, and one of the top two architects in Seattle by Build Direct. He is passionate about creating one of the best places to work not just in Seattle, but in the United States.

Jeff lives on Capitol Hill, a short walk from the office, with his husband, two dogs, and their two young sons. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, travel, hiking, skiing, volunteering with local non-profits, a good bourbon, and hunkering down in his LEGO room. He is a passionate resident of Capitol Hill and serves as the Chair of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce board.

[email protected]
+1 206 866 6775

Read Jeff’s introductory blog post.


Explore articles by Jeff Pelletier from our blog.

Advice for Young Architects
Arts & Culture
Ask an Architect
Commercial Office
Custom Residential
Events
Firm Culture
Going Green
Historic Preservation
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Multifamily Residential
News
Other Tangents
Retail
Seattle Design Community
Third Places
Custom Residential

Designing for Fire

Gathering around a fire is an ancient human activity that maintains its magnetic attraction, even now. As a feature that so viscerally attracts us and so often is the backdrop of our favorite memories, why not design more than one location in your home or yard where you can encourage the comfort of a fire.

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Commercial Office

Private Offices vs. “Open Office” Concepts for Workspaces

Over the years, the popular (and researched) opinions about what makes for an ideal workspace have shifted from recommending private offices, to semi-private, to the so-called “open office” concepts, and back. But, different types of workspaces are ideal for different types of companies, based on budget, type of work, company culture, and more.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

How To Pay For, Or Finance, a New Custom Home

Whether modern or traditional, a custom home can be designed to meet your family’s needs. You’ve just got to find a way to pay for it! Here is a look at a few of the options available for paying for — or financing — the construction of a new custom home.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Should I Dig Out My Basement?

Digging out your basement seems like an attractive solution to gaining more useable space in your home, but it’s complicated to do and can be quite expensive. These are a series of questions you should consider when weighing whether or not to excavate the basement in your home.

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Custom Residential, Going Green

Designing a Sustainable Remodel

Designing a high-performance new home is straight-forward and time-tested. Designing a high-performance remodel can be a bit more complex and nuanced. Here are areas in which to focus your efforts so you can maximize the sustainable impact of your project, remodeling your space into a beautiful and high-performing home.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

Do I Have Space for a Kitchen Island? (And Other Kitchen Island Questions)

Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, you can actually fit a kitchen island into a tighter space — you just have to design for it. Here are the details to keep in mind, as well as questions you’ll need to answer whether or not you have a small space to work with.

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Custom Residential

Spec Home vs. Semi-Custom Home vs. Custom Home

When designing a new home, it’s important to understand the level of service you’ll need to get the particular quality of new home you’re hoping for. From a spec home, to a semi-custom home, to a fully custom home — here are the differences between the levels of service and the quality of the end result.

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Custom Residential

The Benefits of Building a New Home vs. Remodeling an Old One

Remodeling a home is not always the right call — there are a lot of complicated factors at play (and we’re here to help). If you are wondering about the advantages of building a new home instead of remodeling an old one, here is a quick primer on the advantages of new construction.

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Interior Design

To Buy, or Not to Buy, Knock-Off Furniture

Not everyone can afford to buy a house full of designer furniture. So, do you turn to knock-off pieces instead? (No. Or, not 100% no.) Here’s our philosophy for stretching your furniture budget, planning for longterm, and, all the while, still having somewhere to sit down at the end of the day.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Common Bathroom Floor Plans: Rules of Thumb for Layout

There are a few typical floor plans to consider when designing the layout for a bathroom in your house. These eight lessons illustrate the common plan options and describes the advantages and disadvantages of each. Of course, there are always exceptions, and a good designer can find a solution that meets your needs.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Retail

What Is a Tenant Improvement Allowance?

As a business owner, understanding what a tenant improvement (or TI) allowance is, is essential to inform the choices you’ll make when selecting a new commercial space and negotiating your commercial lease. The TI allowance will also define how much of the cost of your commercial build-out will come out of your pocket.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Why Custom Construction Details are Worth It

When you find yourself in a space that really feels amazing, take a moment and study how the details come together. These custom details take time and skill to produce, typically done during the construction documents phase, and the details are what take a project to the next level.

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Advice for Young Architects

Advice for Starting a Design Firm

Starting a design firm isn’t easy. It takes a lot of luck, it can exciting, but also stressful. You’ll need to take some calculated risks. It worked out at B&V, and we’ve grown to about 40 people in 8 years. Here are some tips learned along the journey of starting a design firm.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Should You Remodel, or Tear Down Your House and Build New?

So, your house isn’t meeting your needs. How do you decide what to do? Should you remodel or tear it down and build your dream house? Or, should you leave the house alone and move instead? Here are six areas you need to consider to help you make this complicated and delicate decision.

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Landscape Architecture

Landscape Details in an Urban Yard

Just like interior spaces, beautiful details are what help exterior spaces shine. To help illustrate, this post is a narrated tour of a project near and dear to us — just imagine it as if you are over for a summer party, and getting your first tour of this urban yard.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Clever Ways to Increase the Storage Space in Your Home

Not everyone can Marie Kondo all their extra stuff away — sometimes, you just need a little extra storage space, and we don’t mean you should go rent a storage unit. Here are ten ways to maximize the space you already have in your home to find additional (or previously under-utilized) space for storage.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

Reducing Stress with Good Design

Reducing stress with good design is a thing, we promise. Even if you can’t put your finger on it, sloppy design causes stress. But well-designed spaces make you feel good, often without you realizing. Our goal as architects and designers, is to create those spaces that you love to be in, stress free.

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Ask an Architect

Do Architects Advocate for the Client or for the Architect?

Does an architect or designer advocate for your interests or for theirs? We believe your design team should advocate for you. That doesn't mean just being a "yes man" — it means working with you to design the best path forward. Here are a few areas we can especially help by being your advocate.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Can You Convert Your Attic to Living Space?

Just because it seems like there is enough space in your attic to be converted into a finished room, doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea to try it. Most of the time, it turns out to be unfeasible, and here are the four main reasons why we usually don’t see these projects move forward.

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Ask an Architect

How Do Architects Work with Out-Of-Town Clients?

Do you have to hire an architect or designer in the same geographic area as your project? No. But, that being said, there some crucial things to know and consider if you go this route. Here are answers to common questions we get about working with out-of-town clients or non-local design teams.

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Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multifamily Residential, Retail

Virtual Reality for Architecture: Experience Your Space Before You Build It

Can you visualize a space from floor plans as if you were in it yourself? Don’t worry, most people can’t, and that sometimes makes it hard to communicate design ideas. Virtual reality can help with that — we can spin up a VR model so you can experience it as close to real as it gets.

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Retail

Design Your Retail Space for Selfies (Yes, Really.)

Maintaining a small retail business is really hard — you need great marketing, and to get your space in front of a lot of eyes. We say, design your retail space for selfies! If your shop or restaurant looks unique and interesting, your visitors will help market it for you. Here’s how to get started with design.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

Ten Tips For Designing a Great Small Bathroom

Judging from the number of sub-par small bathrooms out there leaving you wanting more, it must be hard for some people to design them! It's true, it is tricky to design a great small bathroom, but it is completely doable. Here are ten tips to help you design one that feels just right.

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Landscape Architecture

Maximizing a Small Urban Yard

Take a digital walk through this small, urban yard to see just how much fits into this tight, city lot. But first, let’s hear about the story behind how this unique project actually came to be. You may recognize it from the B&V portfolio: The Urban Yard at the Seattle Box.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

Cheap Design Tricks for Your Home Improvement Project

People ask us a lot how they can save money on their home improvement project, and there are plenty of great tricks that suit smaller budgets. (Spoiler Alert: You still need good design.) Here are ten cheap design tricks that will help you get that extra ”oomph” out of your budget.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Retail

Ask an Architect: Highlights from The B&V Blog

Our blog has always been a way for us to pull back the curtain on what we do as architects and designers: to advocate for our clients and help anyone learn a bit more about how we do things. This is a collection of highlights from the past few years, all in one place!

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Ask an Architect

Are Architects “Experts”?

Are architects experts? No. But we are fantastic creative problem solvers and we eagerly learn from our mistakes. You might say, we are experts and recognizing the mistakes we’ve made in the past, and making a point of doing better. Here are five lessons we’ve learned to be an expert at avoiding.

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Advice for Young Architects

How To Design For Others

Unless you are an architect guided only by your own ego, you need to learn how to design for others. Your clients will be unique individuals who may have needs and preferences that are completely foreign to you. Here are some tips to hone your skills at understanding the needs of people unlike you.

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Advice for Young Architects

Career Path of an Architect (And, Beyond)

What are you going to be when you grow up? Does it come as a surprise that a lot of architects wonder this constantly? The education and on-the-job training that the architectural profession requires trains you for all sorts of other professions that require creative problem-solving. So, what are you going to be?

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Other Tangents

Use Your Words (Even When You Can’t)

Even in a profession where we quite literally draw pictures to communicate, words are incredibly important, too. Use them carefully, and precisely to get the job done right, and don’t forget that words can communicate very differently if they are said out loud versus written down, and there’s a time and place for both.

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Firm Culture, News

Five Ways You Can Create Great Work Culture

At the end of June, we attended the 2018 Seattle Magazine's Best 100 Companies to Work for Event, in the top 10 for small business for the third year! We are excited, of course, but it takes a lot of work to create work culture like this. Here are 5 ways we help cultivate our work culture.

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Other Tangents

Channeling Experience: Storytelling in the Spaces We Design

Although we humans have invented new ways of sharing knowledge beyond the sharing of stories to one other over the firepit, storytelling is a key part of our culture. (Who doesn’t love a good story?) But beyond the stories we tell out loud, there is storytelling in spaces we design, too.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

What’s Harder: Designing a New House or Remodeling an Existing Home?

Remodeling vs building new: is one harder than the other? It’s very difficult to compare the two, as it’s not apples to apples. While they do share some of the same approaches, they are different challenges that require careful thought. Here are a few of the things to keep in mind when remodeling your home.

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Firm Culture

Where Are All the Principals?

Flat hierarchy in a design firm is rare. We are a medium-sized design firm with one principal. Basically, we’re a design firm unicorn. So, how does that even work, and what impact does our internal organization have on our clients? Our experience has been that it is overwhelmingly positive. Here's why.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multifamily Residential, Retail

Hourly vs. Fixed-Fee Billing: What is the Difference?

How do you decide between hourly vs. fixed-fee billing? People really don’t like to talk about money, but you need to talk about it enough to make the right choice about how you would like your project billed. Here is how these two billing methods work, and why you might prefer one over the other.

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Other Tangents

Unlikely Inspiration: The Strange Journeys of the Creative Process

A lot of times, unlikely inspiration solves your problems. To non-designers, it may seem a little crazy, but just as any odd thing can remind you of something else entirely, for designers, that experience often triggers their brains about a project they are working on, taking them on a mental journey towards a design solution.

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Advice for Young Architects

What Was I Thinking? (Learning from Your Mistakes When Starting a Business)

Starting a business is no easy task, and you just can’t expect that you won’t make mistakes along the way. You will make them, we promise. The important thing is to make sure you learn from them once you do. Here are five mistakes Jeff Pelletier made when starting Board & Vellum.

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Custom Residential

What Not to Forget When Designing a Vacation Home

When it comes to vacation home design, there are some things that are decidedly different from a typical home design: features you need in a vacation home that you don’t need in your main home. But what are they? Here are five features you should make sure you include when designing a vacation home.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

How Do You Get Great Design on Your Project?

Great design takes patience. So, if you want your project to look and function like it was designed really well, you need to invest in design, and that takes time. There are several later phases after the design concept is formed that are crucial to your project’s success. Here’s a quick review of why.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

Tips for Communicating with Your Architect, Interior Designer, or Landscape Architect

Communicating with your architect or designer is crucial to the success of your project. How do you prefer to communicate? Great professionals will strike a balance between their communication preferences and yours. Here are ten tips to help you find that balance and ensure you and your design team are on the same page.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Sharing A Vacation Home Between Two Families

Are you considering sharing a vacation home with another family? It’s not uncommon, and a great investment, but make sure you go into it with eyes wide open. Here are a few questions you and the family you’ll be sharing with should ask yourselves before starting design.

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Commercial Office, Retail

How Do You Select the Right Commercial Space for Your Business?

Selecting a commercial space for your business is very important to get right. It’s not as simple as “location, location, location” when it comes to ensuring the success of your retail or commercial space. There are many important details you need to check. Do you know what to look for before you sign a lease?

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About

Who are we, anyway? For starters, we are a close-knit team of architects and designers, collaborating in integrated studios on architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture projects. We love what we do, and we have fun doing it. As your advocates, our goal is to help you realize a project that you love.

Our Team

Over the years, we’ve built a team of passionate architects and designers who not only love the work we do, but love working together. Our enthusiasm translates directly to our projects, and we pair team members with clients and projects we think will be a great fit.

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, third places, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

Get in touch.