Living Shelter Architects joins Board & Vellum! Learn about the details here, and cheers to our expanded team!
Advice for Young Architects
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Ask an Architect

How To Update a Short-Term Rental Property

As schedules remain flexible and more folks are able to work from anywhere, there has been a huge surge in the short-term rental market. The pandemic has fueled a strong desire for individuals and families to get away from their everyday life and into something new, so let's talk through what it takes to get a property ready for renters.

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Custom Residential

Tips For Entertaining In Small Spaces

Is the size of your space holding you back from throwing the dinner party of your dreams? We say, “Throw the dang party!” You don’t need a huge home to have a great party! We’ll give you the push you need to embrace your space of any size for entertaining.

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Landscape Architecture

Your Guide To Raised Beds & Container Gardens

We’re digging deep into everything you need to know about adding raised beds or a container garden to your outdoor space. And what about edible plants? A popular choice for raised beds and containers, let’s talk about how to make the most out of your space to grow exactly what you want.

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Landscape Architecture

Five Things To Consider With Composite Decking

Thinking about building or rebuilding your deck? Maybe you’re looking at all the material options and feeling a little overwhelmed? If you’re considering composite decking as one of your options, let’s talk about some of the things you might want to mull over as you make your decision.

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Building Green, Civic, Landscape Architecture

Sustainability in Park Design

In the Pacific Northwest, the heat is literally on. Last summer, we experienced record-breaking heat in Seattle and, in Washington State, we recently adopted the Climate Commitment Act that requires a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pollution to net zero by 2050. Can investing in sustainable park infrastructure help us meet those goals?

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Landscape Architecture

Recent Trends In Outdoor Spaces

Have you noticed a lot of people updating their yards recently? We certainly have. There are a lot of reasons why, but probably most important has been the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic and the way it changed our relationship with the outdoors. Let's explore some of the influencing factors behind all these updates and what we’re seeing as a result.

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News

Teaming Up: A Message From Terry Phelan

As a leader in sustainable and green design, Terry has dedicated her 30-plus-year career to finding ways to expand the deep green space. As her retirement approaches, Terry is looking forward to continuing to focus on educating the public and mentoring the next generation of designers to carry on the amazing work she and Living Shelter have started.

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News

Teaming Up: A Message From Jeff Pelletier

When the opportunity to advance our plans to expand our green and sustainable practice arose, it was too good to pass up. We feel fortunate to welcome Living Shelter Architects to our team — a dedicated group of designers whose mission and values align so well with our own. Sometimes, things just fit!

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Building Green, News

Living Shelter Architects and Board & Vellum Join Forces

We’ve been keeping a secret, but it’s for a good reason, and we’re pleased to finally get to share! We’ve always been dedicated to bringing our clients the best we have to offer in our services, approach, and design philosophy. Now with Living Shelter Architects joining the team, we’re excited to be able to provide even more to our community.

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Ask an Architect

How An Architect Can Help Before You Buy A House

Ever heard of someone buying a house only to learn their big remodel dreams aren’t possible? The competitive real estate market can add pressure to buying a home before you have the full picture. That’s where we come in! An architect can help you understand the potential of a house before you even make an offer.

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Building Green

The Basics of Building & Material Reuse

You may be familiar with the idea of building reuse in design, but did you know “reuse” actually covers a wide range of project types and approaches? While each type is unique, and some might lend themselves better to certain project types, each kind is integral to sustainable building and design practices.

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The Business of Design

Why I’m a Generalist Architect

Many architects and designers choose to specialize in a specific sector or focus on a single project type. That’s awesome and necessary, but it’s not Jeff. His journey as a generalist architect is why providing out-of-the-box services is part of Board & Vellum’s DNA, and it’s what keeps him dedicated to design of all kinds.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

What Really Adds Cost To Your Home Remodel?

Have you ever heard that moving a toilet is a budget-busting home improvement? Would it surprise you to learn that we think this is debatable? There’s no doubt that home remodels cost money, but the big-ticket changes might not be what you expect. So what’s really going to impact your project budget?

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Custom Residential

Five Design Priorities for Your Home

Any design project is going to be filled with more decisions than you can anticipate. There’s a balance between understanding how to compromise on things that aren’t as important and prioritize the things that really matter. Here’s what we recommend to help our clients make good choices for their projects without giving up what they love.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

Storytelling in Design

What inspires designers to create beautiful projects? Just like making a fantastic dish to eat, it’s about more than the individual ingredients — it’s about how they all work together! In design, it’s so much more than meeting the basic programmatic needs of our clients. It’s about telling a story.

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Custom Residential

Five Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Larger

If you’re like us, you probably wish your kitchen had just a little bit more space – it’s one of those places where things just seem to pile up with nowhere to go. It may not be an option to actually increase the size of your kitchen, but here are five smaller projects you can invest in to make your kitchen live larger.

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Ask an Architect

Dos and Don’ts of the Pricing Process

We see all the time how a good and thorough Schematic Pricing set helps us avoid the pitfalls of waiting too long to get an official pricing estimate. Still, we understand how the process can be overwhelming and confusing for clients. We’ve got your back with a list of our dos and don’ts for sailing through pricing like a pro.

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Ask an Architect

Why and How We Get Pricing Early

If you’ve started a design project in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced an unfortunate shock when the pricing estimate rolls in. We hate that feeling, just as much as you. Instead of leaving it to chance, we take a different approach to helping our clients navigate the confusing and variable world of construction costs.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

2021 Trendy and Timeless Design

Each year, materials and design styles come in and out of vogue. Sometimes, it feels like a game of chance, and other times we can see the changes coming from a mile away. As 2021 dawns, we’re reflecting on what design elements are here for the moment and what’s here to stay.

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Ask an Architect

Hiring an Architect vs. a Design-Build Firm

It’s a question that comes up fairly often: “Should I hire an architect and a separate general contractor, or hire a design-build firm as a one-stop-shop to both design and build my space?” There are pros and cons to each; but, before we jump in, let’s pause for a moment and take this conversation more slowly.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Landscape Architecture

Planning All-Season Outdoor Spaces

Who says yards are just for summer? Here at Board & Vellum, we believe your outdoor spaces should be beautiful, functional, and awesome to hang out in no matter the season or weather. With a few special considerations, you can have an outdoor living space that's comfortable all year long — rain or shine.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Landscape Architecture

Seven Tips for Enjoying Your Outdoor Spaces All Winter Long

We think embracing the outdoors is key to fully enjoying the winter season. If you live in Seattle, you might be scratching your head. Enjoying the outdoors in all this rain? In short, yes! There’s so much to enjoy this time of year, so take a leaf out of Scandinavia’s book and prepare to get cozy.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

Tips for Ensuring Your Home Has Good Air Quality

With wildfire season continuing into the late fall and a global pandemic still keeping millions of people indoors, there's a lot going on in the world. Both these natural disasters have brought to the forefront the importance of ventilation for your health: well-designed ventilation in buildings is important to address present and future pandemics, wildfires, and other airborne pollutants.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

How a Heat Recovery Ventilator Can Make Your Home Healthier

Indoor air quality has never been a more pressing or popular target than it is today. With smoke from wildfires all over the West and the continuing global pandemic of COVID-19, many of us are wondering whether our indoor air is safe. The good news is: it can be, with the right systems in place.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Options for Updating Your HVAC System for Better Indoor Air Quality

There have been a lot of discussions and varied information on how the built environment affects the spread of COVID-19. Now, we are also seeing more intense wildfires and smoke than we’ve seen in the past decade. With both these environmental issues keeping people indoors, healthy ventilation strategies are more important than ever.

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Firm Culture, The Business of Design

How a Philosophy of High Performance is Changing the Way We Work

Designing a home or building is one thing. Designing the work experience of your employees is quite another. But the design mentality we bring to our projects also allows us to adapt and innovate how we operate as a team. Though our firm has evolved over the years, our values have not, guiding us to adopt the philosophy of a high-performance team.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Toilets

Toilet options are a frequently asked question around here. Where do you start with so many options on the market? We picked our interior designers’ brains about everything toilets so you can go into your bathroom remodel with the info you need to pick the option right for you.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Five Takeaways From Remodeling Our Home As Our Own Contractor

With construction costs rising (and construction budgets feeling the pinch) it’s becoming more and more popular to self-perform at least some of the work on a remodel that might normally be left for a general contractor. Luckily, Kaysie did just that not too long ago, and she’s sharing her five takeaways from the experience.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Three Ways to Create a Relaxing Bedroom

Bedrooms are a popular place to make changes when updating your home. From a primary suite to kids’ rooms to a guest bedroom, everyone deserves a restful and calming place to unwind. Here, we walk you through three simple ways to create a relaxing bedroom you'll want to hang out in — awake or asleep.

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Building Green, Custom Residential

Going the Extra Mile for an Unusual Addition

Living in a log cabin just might be one of the more sustainable things you can do. If you’re a city-dweller, you might never get the chance to do so unless you’re like one of our scrappy clients who saved a log cabin by attaching it to their home as an addition.

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Custom Residential

Questions to Ask Yourself About Building a Second-Story Addition

Adding a second story to your home can be a great solution when you want to stay in your house but need more space. Once you’ve decided to build up, though, the decision-making isn’t done. What questions should you be asking yourself before you commit to a second-story addition?

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Ask an Architect

What It’s Like Working with an Architect

When you see an architect portrayed on television or in the movies, they’re either totally unrelatable, wildly eccentric creative-types, or in all black, mingling at a cocktail party as if they would rather be anywhere else. Inevitably, these characters have egos so big they barely fit in the frame. But what’s it like working with real-life architects?

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Historic & Traditional, Interior Design

Matching a Historic Feel with Modern Materials

How authentic does something really need to be? When you remodel a historic home, or just love a lived-in look, it can be difficult to determine when (and how) to make a new object or material look original. Here, we’ve laid out a few rules of thumb to follow if you’re ever in this predicament yourself.

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Other Tangents

What Is A Ranch?

Ranches conjure up all sorts of imagery in our imaginations. But when it comes down to designing one, what are we really talking about? It’s more than just the land, and it’s more than just the built structures — it is the symbiotic relationship between the two, and cultivating that requires careful exploration and design.

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Ask an Architect

What Different Line Types in Architecture & Design Drawings Mean

Thick lines, thin lines, lines with short or long dashes (or both!) — if you don’t speak the language of all these line types, an architecture or design drawing can be pretty mystifying. This primer on design drawing linework will give you a starter toolkit so you can tell what you’re looking at.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Remodeling Your Brick House

What should you consider when remodeling a brick house? Sure, brick is just another conventional building material, but remodeling a brick home presents some unique design challenges. Here’s what to look out for and think about when you’re considering a remodeling a house made of brick.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Home You Want to Remodel

What if the new home you’re considering most definitely isn’t your dream home? There’s a lot an architect can do to help you achieve your dreams but not every dream is achievable in every home. Before jumping into a huge investment, check out our top ten things to know before purchasing a home you want to remodel.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Should You Build Up, Down, or Out When Adding Space to Your Home?

Knowing where to build an addition to your home can be an agonizing decision. And not understanding the impact your decision might have on the construction process (and your wallet) can make it doubly stressful. An architect can help you understand the best solution for your situation and help you move forward.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial

Immediate Solutions for Socially Distant Retail

It has been a tough road for small businesses over the last few months dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. For those small businesses fighting to stay in business, the opportunity to pivot and re-open in some form is upon us. Facing this daunting challenge, where do you even start? This post is for you.

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Commercial

The Rebirth of the American Workplace

Recommendations and trends in commercial office design shift in response to cultural norms, technology, and working styles. Following the 2020 pandemic, how might the design of commercial offices adapt this time? On the spectrum from open office concept, through vast fields of cubicles, to private offices, where will we land?

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Commercial, Interior Design, Third Places

The Personalized Hospitality Experience

Before Covid-19 shifted our world, personalized hospitality experiences, like private dining rooms and by-appointment-only shopping, were considered luxuries reserved only for an elite few. But, with social distancing recommendations in place — driven first by necessity and later by comfort — it’s possible some of these once-elite experiences become more common. Here’s a look at how some of this could evolve.

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Commercial, Interior Design, Third Places

Commercial Design in the Age of Social Distancing

As commercial spaces slowly re-open, businesses and clientele have to take extra precautions because these spaces were designed to operate in a pre-pandemic world. This post is part of a series on how design for commercial spaces may evolve due to the Covid-19 pandemic, either by requirement or by cultural shift.

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Or, if chronology isn’t your thing…

Here are a couple of posts to get you started. Of course, it’s hard to choose, so feel free to poke around; we hope to have a little something for everyone. And, if you have a burning question you’d like us to cover in a future post, please let us know!

Questions to ask an architect at an interview. – Board & Vellum

Questions to Ask an Architect in an Interview: Advice for Clients

What should you ask a designer you are interviewing for your project? A good personality fit helps, but to help you hire with confidence, here are ten questions worth asking.

Questions to Ask a Landscape Architect or Site Design Team in an Interview – Board & Vellum

Questions to Ask a Landscape Architect or Site Design Team in an Interview

What should you ask a landscape architect you are interviewing? From design to fee, to timeline and more, here are ten questions you should ask before you hire.

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, 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.
Board & Vellum makes Seattle Business magazine's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in Washington 2019.

On the list for small business for the 4th year in a row!

Board & Vellum is honored to be a Gray Awards Finalist for landscape design, earning the recognition for the rooftop garden at the Lucille on Roosevelt.

Honored as a finalist for residential landscape design.

LEED Certified in White

Our team includes LEED-accredited professionals.

Certified Passive House Consultant in White

Our team includes certified Passive House consultants.

NGLCC Certified as LGBT Business Enterprise – Board & Vellum Recognition

A Certified LGBT Business Enterprise Since 2016.

PSBJ’s Top 25 LGBTQ-Owned Businesses 2016 in White

Honoring companies that lead in promoting equality.