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
 
Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Retail

How Long Does a Commercial Project Take?

One of the most frequent questions we get from business owners is, “How long will my project take?” Of course, this varies a lot based on the scope and parameters of your particular project, but here are the basics of the time it takes to move through each of the phases of a commercial project.

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Landscape Architecture

What Material Should I Use for My Deck?

There are a lot of types of wood decks to choose from. How do you know which might be the right one for you? As the first in a series about decking materials, this post covers your main options for building a wood deck and explores the pros and cons of the different wood choices.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Landscape Architecture, Multi-Family Residential, Retail

How Long Does It Take to Get a Full Building Permit?

If you need a full building permit for your project (rather than an “over-the-counter” one) you need to include the additional time it takes for permit review in your project schedule. How long does it take to get a full building permit? It varies, but here is what you can expect in Seattle.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Abby!

Say hello to Abby, our latest addition to the B&V team! Abby is a Pacific Northwest native, born in Seattle. With a degree in music, besides plenty of singing and performing (even at her desk), these days, she also spends her creative energy cooking, baking, sketching, and is learning to sew.

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Firm Culture, Landscape Architecture

What Does It Mean To Be An Integrated Design Firm?

We are an integrated design firm, but what (you may wonder) does that mean? And, specifically, what does that mean for your project and how it benefits you? Here is a breakdown for what it means for you and your project when the integrated design firm you are working with is us, Board & Vellum.

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Commercial Office, Retail

Do I Need to Permit My Commercial Space?

"Do I need to permit my commercial space?" If you are in Seattle, most likely, "Yes." The more important question is, "What type of permit do I need?" There are two major types of building permits in Seattle, and which type you need will impact your timeline for opening for business. Here’s how to plan.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now? (A Quick Guide for Spring Plants in Seattle.)

Wondering what's blooming in Seattle in the spring? Maybe you’ve noticed some flowers on your walks around town and don’t know what they are? We are certainly big fans of when the flowers start peeking out in the spring. Here is a quick guide to some of our favorites that you will find in Seattle.

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Landscape Architecture

April is Landscape Architecture Month!

April is Landscape Architecture Month, and with all the hints of spring popping up around us, it's the perfect time to celebrate the profession that brings you parks, trails, gardens, streetscapes, national parks, plazas, community p-patches, and all the places that make getting outside to enjoy the season all the more enjoyable and inviting.

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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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Arts & Culture, Events

Work by Zack Bolotin 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 local artist Zack Bolotin. Read our Q&A with him to learn a little about his midcentury-inspired prints ahead of the March 8th opening reception.

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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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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

What is Driving Up the Cost of Construction in Seattle?

Does it seem to you like the cost of construction in Seattle is through-the-roof-crazy? You’re not wrong! Why is the cost of construction rising to surprising heights? Well, it’s complicated. Here are a few reasons why, and a few ways that you can plan your project to ensure it’s worth it. (It is!)

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Firm Culture

Disrupting the Design Industry with Great Benefits

The architecture and design industry is notorious for high-pressure workplaces that lack great benefits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Board & Vellum, we are proving that a design firm can offer great benefits: the numbers pencil out. Now, our goal is to help other firms join us to redefine the design industry.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Where Do You Start When Designing a New Home?

So, you’ve decided to build a new home. Making that decision is a big first step, but what do you do next? Designing a new home is a big effort. Here are the first things that you and your architect need to pay attention to before any of the fun design work begins.

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Ask an Architect, Interior Design

What is FF&E?

We try to be good about not using too many acronyms at Board & Vellum, but sometimes, we slip up. FF&E is one of those cases that comes up a lot as our interiors studio grows. (Plus, once you know what it stands for, it’s a bit of a tongue twister.) So, what does it mean?

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Advice for Young Architects, Other Tangents

5 Tips for Harnessing Renewal to Advance Your Goals

Everywhere you look this time of year, it’s all about New Year’s resolutions. But, there might be a better way. We make our yearly strategic goals in the summer, and that means the new year is the perfect time to assess and renew our progress. These are tips to ensure your yearly goals actually happen.

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News

A Year in Review: Looking Back at 2017

Jeff Pelletier looks back on 2017 in his annual Year in Review blog post. From fun family times, to fun times at work, 2017 was a year to remember. So many things happened, but here are 10 highlights that leave us excited for what’s coming up in the new year.

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Ask an Architect

How Do You Deal with Choices During the Design Process?

The design process is fun, but it can also be fairly stressful because there are so many important choices to be made. How do you make the right call? We certainly have a few recommendations (which we’ll get into here), but two huge ones to count on: trust your instincts, and let the professionals help.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Ciera!

Say hello to Ciera, our latest addition to Team B&V! Ciera grew up in Idaho, steeped in a love of the outdoors and active in the design, dance, and maker communities. Of course, all of this fits perfectly with Seattle, as well, and she’s thrilled to carry on creating at Board & Vellum.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Breanna!

Say hello to Breanna, our latest new B&V’er! Breanna combined her love of art and math — and a fascination with construction — to become an architect. She has experience with projects of many scales and types, and loves to design spaces that create a positive impact on the lives of their inhabitants.

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Firm Culture

B&V’ers Toast to What They Love About Working at Board & Vellum

Hey, wondering what’s it like working at Board & Vellum? Well, you’re in luck: in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, B&V’ers took a moment to write down (or draw) what they are thankful for about being part of the team.

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Ask an Architect

Finding That “Eureka!” Moment in the Design Process

Parts of the architectural design process can (and must) be very precise, but there is also a messy, organic part of it. It’s the creative part of the game, and it’s often in that time that we find the “Eureka!” moment in the design process. When you’re working on your design, watch for it!

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Landscape Architecture

Landscape Designer vs. Landscape Architect: What Is The Difference?

Is there a difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect? (Spoiler Alert: Yes.) So, why would you want to hire one versus the other? Is it all about plants? Or is it more technical? Let’s get into the differences between the services each typically offers, and how that applies to your project.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Chris!

Say aloha to Board & Vellum’s latest team member, Chris Parker! Chris comes to us from Hawaii, by way of Ithaca, New York (a more than 7,000 mile journey!). A licensed architect, Chris is thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest and eager to be a force for good in his newly adopted community.

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Ask an Architect

How To Prepare for Your First Call with an Architect

If you’ve never worked with an architect before, it might be daunting to know what to even ask when you start to research a team that will be the right fit for your project. Here‘s what the process looks like if you reach out to us and we set up a call to chat about your project.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Michelle!

Hey, everyone, say hello to Michelle! Michelle joins our team as Operations Coordinator and will be heading up our new internal education program to keep us all tuned up. She originally hails from Philly – which she loves – but, she is now enamored with the Pacific Northwest, so we are pretty sure we get to keep her.

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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's 100 Best Places to Work in Washington 2017 Winner

Scored in the Top 10 for small business for 2 years in a row!

Best of Houzz 2018 – Board & Vellum

Recognized for “Design” & “Service” for the 5th 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.

PSBJ Washington’s Best Workplaces 2017 – Board & Vellum

Ranked for the 3rd year in a row as a great place to work!