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, 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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Landscape Architecture

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

Even though the Pacific Northwest is known for its eternal greenery (Hello, Emerald City!), we do still have plenty of beautiful fall colors. Here are three of our favorites, from trees to sedums that thrive in our northwest climate and will brighten up your fall day.

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Interior Design

Is Custom Furniture or Wallpaper Worth It?

Is custom furniture or other custom interiors items, like wallpaper or art, worth it? We think so! And, the price of these items is really not as scary as you think, sometimes, it’s even less than the pieces from large manufacturers, and with better quality. Here are some basics on custom furniture and more.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Hyrel!

Meet, Hyrel, our latest, new, B&V'er! Hyrel joins our interior design studio, bringing nearly a decade of experience in high-end residential design. She’s also loves to cook for friends, arrange flowers, and even takes part in a weekly dog swim club.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Michael!

Say hi to Michael, the latest addition to our landscape and site design studio. Michael is another B&V’er hailing from outside Chicago (we have a few!), but he has been in Seattle for the last six years, with San Francisco before that. Out of the office, it’s not unlikely that he’ll be in the mountains.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now, In August: Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas may be well-known, but did you there are a variety of different types? From the aptly-named ‘Incrediball’ to even a climbing version (really!) — here a the details on a few of our favorites, recommendations on where to plant them, and how to make sure they get what the need to be a champ bloomer.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Christopher!

You know what time it is? Time to say hello to another new B&V’er! Meet Christopher, a licensed architect with over twenty years of experience on projects ranging from zoos to historic preservation to affordable housing. His passion for architecture is underpinned with a love of world travel and photography.

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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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Arts & Culture, Events

Work by Claudia Hollander-Lucas in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum

The Capitol Hill Art Walk is coming up again, and here at Board & Vellum’s By Others gallery, we are hosting a show by artist Claudia Hollender-Lucas. Read our Q&A with her to learn a little about her work and her process ahead of the August 9th opening reception.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Moon Gardens in July

How much do you love a moon garden? When designing your landscape, don’t forget you can plan not only for the experience of the garden in the day time, but also the late night hours! These blooming plants are great candidates for a beautiful (and great smelling) night garden.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Kaysie!

It’s new B&V’er time! Say hello to Kaysie, a licensed architect, who is returning home to the Pacific Northwest from a stint in southern California. Kaysie is a strong advocate for architects and designers to keep learning, not only in the context of continuing education, but with an active attention to the world around them.

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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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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: June in Seattle

June in Seattle is also known as “Juneuary,” thanks to our famously rainy early summers. But there are still plenty of flowers to enjoy at this time of year, and you could argue they look even better glistening with raindrops. Read on to learn about the Japanese Snowbell, the Pacific Mock Orange, and Creeping Honeysuckle.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Hailey Mackay!

It‘s time to say hello to a new B&V’er in the landscape and site design studio: Hailey Mackay! Hailey grew up inhabiting both the urban and rural environments of the Pacific Northwest, and the experience of balancing those contexts to informs her work today.

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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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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!