Our blog is a resource for anyone wondering how to approach their project, get a design question answered, or just get a peek inside the world of Board & Vellum. From how we collaborate with you on a project, to our approachable and practical thoughts on design, along with a sprinkling of other fun things we’re up to, use this blog as a resource to help your project move along.

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

Planting for Bees: Sustainable & Bee-utiful Landscapes

In honor of Earth Day, let’s talk about a crucial part of our global ecosystem that needs our help: bees. How can you help? Lots of ways! Read on for a few to get you started, including how you can support bees in your garden, or even from a tiny balcony.

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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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Interior Design

How To Feng Shui Your Bedroom

We spend a third of our lives asleep in our bedrooms, and that time is incredibly important to our health and wellbeing. To make sure you are getting the most out of your bedroom, here are some Feng Shui practices you can implement to improve the energy in your bedroom.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Christina!

It‘s time to meet a new B&V’er: Christina Sanchez! Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Christina caught the travel bug young: first traveling the US with her family, then abroad on her own. Beyond the sheer delight of it, her travels also inform her desire to harness architecture as a catalyst for positive change in the world.

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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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Interior Design

Our Current Favorite Lighting Fixtures

Are you daydreaming about new light fixtures? You will be soon! We asked our team of interior designers what light fixtures they are currently swooning over. Check out each their responses in this post for some great designers, studios, and manufacturers out there who are making some beautiful fixtures you’ll love to see.

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Commercial Office, Interior Design, Retail

How To Create a Residential Feel in a Commercial Space

Are you hoping for a residential feel — that "homey" comfort — in your commercial space? You aren’t alone! Spaces that capture that homey feeling draw people in, and can help people feel more comfortable and relaxed in your establishment. How do you pull it off? Here are our top ten design elements to make it happen.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Early Spring Flowers

It’s definitely starting to feel like spring, even if we know there’s more rain around the corner. Early spring flowers are emerging, marking the start of the beautiful seasonal change, leaving winter behind. Read on to learn about three of our favorite early-blooming powerhouses: cornelian cherry, manzanita, and crocus.

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Custom Residential, Going Green

Approachable, Sustainable Ideas to Save Money in Your Home

People assume that green building, or using sustainable practices, will cost them more money. But, while some upfront costs may be higher, often, the long-term costs are lower. Here are five approachable and sustainable ideas you can explore to help make your home healthier for you and your family while being better for the environment.

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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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Landscape Architecture

How Much Does It Cost to Redo the Landscape at My House?

Estimating the budget for redoing your yard doesn’t have to be just a finger in the air, and a simple cost-per-square-foot estimate won't quite get you there, either. We recommend using your home’s value as a starting point. Here is a quick guide for what you can hope to build at different budget levels.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Taylor!

Say hello to Taylor, a landscape architect joining our team at Board & Vellum. Taylor has a deep curiosity for the environment and its complex systems, both natural and social. When he is not in the office, he is likely exploring in the mountains or people-watching at the park.

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Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

Seven Reasons You Should Add House Plants to Your Interior Design

House plants can be a great improvement to an interior space — here are seven reasons why you'll benefit from including them as part of the interior design of your space, and it's not just for aesthetics.

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Interior Design, Retail, Third Places

Ten Design Elements to Consider for Your Third Place

Always dreamed of quitting your 9-5 job and opening your own coffee shop? Or perhaps looking to spruce up your existing quaint café? Look no further! Here are ten key design elements you won't want to forget, taking your Third Place’s design to the next level and encourage your clientele to linger.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Contrasting Winter Colors

In winter landscapes, there are certainly fewer blooms, but fortunately, even dormant plants can offer visual interest. Contrasting winter colors in the landscape often come from other elements of the plant, such as the bark. These three plants are some of the ones we’ve enjoyed seeing shining through the snowy weather.

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Going Green, Interior Design

Selecting Sustainable Materials: Your Go-To Guide

Of course, materials play a large role in interior design, and their impact on the sustainability of a project cannot be ignored. So, how do you select sustainable materials that live up to your requirements? Here is a quick guide for what to look for, including material makeup, material source, manufacturing processes, and third-party certifications.

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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, Multi-Family 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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Arts & Culture, Events

Work by Jon-Eric Schafer in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum

We have a brand new show at Board & Vellum’s By Others gallery: ceramic sculpture and watercolors by Jon-Eric Schafer. Join us for the opening at the Capitol Hill Art Walk, February 14th, 6-9 PM. For a teaser, read our Q&A with him to learn a little about his work.

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Interior Design

What Happens at a Feng Shui Consultation Session?

Are you interested in Feng Shui but don’t know where to begin? We now offer Feng Shui consultations at Board & Vellum, either stand-alone, or in coordination with a larger project. Here are the five components that make up a Feng Shui consultation, so you can go in with eyes wide open.

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Interior Design

How To Live Big in a Small Space

Do you live in a small space? (Or, do you have small spaces in your larger home?) There are all sorts of things you can do to maximize small spaces, to help them “live larger” so-to-speak, so you don’t feel cramped. Here are seven tips to keep in mind.

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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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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Sights & Scents of Midwinter

Is winter all just chilly, dark, and gloomy? Well, maybe if you don’t know where to look, or where to sniff. Don’t fret, there are some lovely — often overlooked — sights and scents to enjoy in the midwinter landscape, and we’ll explore some of our favorites here: Witch Hazel, Daphne, and Sarcococca (or Sweet Box).

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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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Interior Design

Feng Shui: A Brief History

How old is the practice of Feng Shui? Was it practiced only in China? How has it evolved over the centuries? If you’re wondering these things, and more, read on! Bonus: We also tell you what type of Feng Shui consultation we offer at Board & Vellum.

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Going Green

Environmentally Responsible Design & Sustainability

Pairing environmentally responsible design with beautiful-designed spaces is very important to us. So, to kick off the near year, we wrote a manifesto declaring the principles we’ll follow to ensure we are doing the best we can to help not only our clients but those who inhabit the spaces and places we create in the future.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Aaron!

Meet Aaron Dorn, a new B&V’er joining our custom residential architecture studio! Aaron is a northwest native from southern Idaho. He carries a love of a family cabin in the woods forward with a fervent belief that our homes should engage with nature to not only shelter but nourish us, even in the city.

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Interior Design

What is Feng Shui? And, What Does Feng Shui Do?

Marissa Lada, an interior designer here at Board & Vellum, is also a Feng Shui consultant. But, what does that mean? What is Feng Shui? What does it do? Well, it’s complicated, so let’s start with the basics in this primer to get you started.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Textures & Colors of Winter

Winter landscapes can be full of textures and colors, includling blooms! There is a lot to love, but here are three of our favorites for Pacific Northwest winter gardens: Oregon Grape, Setsugekka Camellia, and Golden Sweet Flag. Learn a little about them, how to care for them, and how to feature them in your garden.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Jill!

Everyone, say hello to Jill Burdeen! Jill joins our team as a member of the “Neighborhood Studio,” with a special focus on multi-family residential projects. At work, she loves “solving” the site and collaborating to create great spaces. Out of the office, she enjoys adventuring with her daughters, and dreams of opening a candy store.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Jackie!

It’s that time again, time to meet a new B&V’er! This time, say hi to Jackie, our accounting coordinator. Jackie has been a Seattleite since the age of seven, and out of the office, she’s a big fan of hiking, camping, rock climbing, and recently picked up fly fishing, too.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Late Autumn in the Pacific Northwest

As our Pacific Northwest autumn months get darker and darker, it’s easy to feel a little gloomy. But, if you look around, there are actually a lot of beautiful flowers blooming, even in the chill and rain. Here are a few of our favorites to watch in the late autumn season.

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Arts & Culture, Events

Work by Claire Showalter in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum

In the mood for some art? Good! The Capitol Hill Art Walk is coming up again, and we are hosting a new artist, Claire Showalter, at Board & Vellum’s By Others gallery. Read our Q&A with her to learn a little about her work and her process ahead of the November 8th opening reception.

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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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Custom Residential, Going Green, Interior Design

Six Easy Sustainable Design Options to Consider for your Next Home Remodel

Sustainable design doesn’t mean you have to have solar panels, reuse your water, or have a green roof. There are plenty of smaller efforts you can take that can have a positive impact both on your carbon footprint and your budget. Here are six sustainable design options to get you started.

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Interior Design

Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between interior design and interior decorating? For starters, it's more than picking out pillows. There are a lot of misconceptions about these two roles, but it’s important to understand the difference before you hire someone to help you with your space. Here are the details and some common misconceptions.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Morgan!

Say hello to, Morgan, our latest addition to the B&V team! Morgan left life on the east coast to join us here on the west coast. Beyond architecture, she is fluent in Mandarin, and loves spending time on the water: canoeing, swimming, but especially rowing, which she considers “her sport.”

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Five Ways to Design for Entertaining

Do you love to entertain? Here are five ways you can design for entertaining: tips for features you may want to design into your space to make your life as a host easier, more fun, and to help your home support the social events you enjoy planning and hosting.

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Or, if chronology isn’t your thing…

Here are a couple of our (current) favorite posts. 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!

Ask an Architect

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

When you are interviewing architects, interior designers, or landscape architects for your project, how do you know what to ask? A good personality fit makes any project better, but don't leave it with that – come to the table prepared with these important questions to help you ensure you find the architect you're searching for!

Ask an Architect, Landscape Architecture

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

When you are looking into hiring a landscape architect or a site design team, even if you’ve been through the process before, make sure you ask these important ten questions. From design process, to fee structure, to timeline, and more, we lay it out for you so you can jump into your project well-informed.

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.
Seattle Business Magazine Best Companies to Work For 2018: Board & Vellum

In the Top 10 for small business for the 3rd year in a row!

Best of Houzz 2019: Design & Service – Board & Vellum

Recognized for “Design” & “Service” for the 6th year!

LEED Certified in White

Our team includes LEED-accredited professionals.

Certified Passive House Consultant in White

Principal Jeff Pelletier is Passive House certified.

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

Honoring companies that lead in promoting equality.

Board & Vellum on PSBJ's WA's Best Workplaces List for 4th Year!

Ranked for the 4th year in a row as a great place to work!