Should you remodel your home, or build new? Learn what to consider when making this tough decision.
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Going Green, Interior Design

Sustainable Bedding Options for Your Home

Many of us are making an effort to live our lives with a critical eye on our environmental impact. Building homes following sustainable practices is incredibly important, but don’t forget to also give that attention to the materials and products you put inside it. This primer on sustainable bedding options can get you started.

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Arts & Culture, Events, Seattle Design Community

DIY Urbanism

Every year, communities come together to take back parking-spot-sized parcels of the street, transforming them into pedestrian-centric installations. Though PARK(ing) Day lasts mere hours, other forms of tactical urbanism exist globally in various degrees of permanence, engaging and influencing the evolution of communities, public space, and informing the relationship between an urban environment its inhabitants.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Andrea!

Say hi to Andrea, our most recent addition to the B&V team! Adding to our collection of UO grads, Andrea joins us with experience on multifamily, custom residential, and commercial projects. Also, she owns a 35' sailboat — when you’re done asking her design questions, ask her where she likes to sail on a sunny weekend!

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Multifamily Residential

Why Corridors in Multifamily Buildings Are Worth It

Corridors in multifamily buildings are often overlooked, considered areas to pinch the budget to save money for ”more glamorous” amenities, but it’s actually well worth it to invest in the design of a building’s corridors, not only from the perspective of the residents but from the perspective of the developer.

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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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Landscape Architecture

Creating Vibrant Layers in Your Garden

Layered planting doesn’t have to be complex and, if done correctly, layering can reduce your garden maintenance and increase the time you spend actually enjoying your garden. From the ground plane to the backdrop, you can create your own luscious, layered garden by following these simple concepts.

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Retail

Branding Through Storytelling in Commercial Design

Storytelling is an integral part of humanity: our individual and communal lives are built on stories. When it comes to a brand, a well-told, authentic story reflected in a physical space is incredibly impactful. But, what does that mean and where do you start in the design process?

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Interior Design

Great Reasons to Add a Built-In Bench to Your Project

When we say, “built-ins“ — do you think cabinets and bookshelves? A lot of people do, but one of our favorite types of built-ins is a built-in bench — here’s why, in the words of a few of Board & Vellum’s interior designers.

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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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Firm Culture

Introducing, Danie!

Meet Danie, the latest addition to B&V’s interiors team. Danie hails from the Midwest, most recently from Chicago. In “fun facts you don’t hear often” — she grew up with a Christmas tree farm as a backyard! Now surrounded by the giant trees of the Pacific Northwest, when she’s not designing interiors, she loves the outdoors.

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Arts & Culture

Architects in the Music World

The general public may know more about musicians than about architects; after all, it’s a lot easier to share a song far and wide than a building. But, both are both creative fields, so it may come as no surprise how much crossover there is between them.

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Ask an Architect

How To Know If Your Contractor is Doing a Good Job

As much as we may want it to be, nothing is perfect. Whether remodeling or building new, and regardless of how well-recommended your contractor is, unknown challenges will arise with your project. But, this is a navigable process, especially if you keep these tips in mind.

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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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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Golden Summer, Rain or Shine

What do Golden Rain Tree, Cone Flower, and Thyme have in common? They can all bring lovely golden colors to your landscape. Learn more about the virtues of these three plants and why you may find them to be the perfect addition in your garden.

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Going Green

Questions To Ask About Sustainability

Board & Vellum’s first employee is starting off on a new adventure. As a farewell blog post, he asked people around the office about something really important to him: what questions they ask themselves — and think others should ask — about sustainability in terms of homes, landscapes, and workplaces.

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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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Multifamily Residential

Why Amenity Spaces in Multifamily Buildings Are Worth It

If an apartment building’s amenity spaces are an afterthought during the design process, they’re going to feel like afterthoughts in someone’s life, too. Uninspired settings are not what today’s city dwellers are looking for. In a competitive market, without well-designed common spaces, your whole building may end up an afterthought to a potential renter.

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Interior Design, Retail

How to Design a Sense of “Home” into your Retail Space

Evoking a sense of “home” in a retail space can be a key factor in getting your customers to not only linger long enough to make a purchase, but to keep them coming back. But creating this type of experience takes more nuance than simply adding a couch — here’s what to consider when planning your space.

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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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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Adding a Little Drama to Your Shade Garden

Three of our favorite plants for giving your shade garden some extra pop are Stewartia, Bear’s Breeches, and Cranesbill. Here’s a little on why we love them, how to help them thrive in your garden, and some ideas for pairing them with other plants.

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Commercial Office, Interior Design, Retail

How Biophillic Design Can Help Your Commercial Space

As humans, we love nature, and studies show that access to nature or natural elements is actually beneficial to our health. As a design theory, this is called biophilic design. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth it to incorporate nature into the design of your commercial spaces.

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Interior Design, Multifamily Residential, Retail

Creative Cost-Saving Tips for Your Commercial Space

Often, design budgets for commercial tenant improvements can be tight. But giving your space that little something extra to excite your clientele is super helpful for bringing in business, and getting your customers to linger. Here are a few creative tips for stretching that dollar further in your commercial space.

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Retail

How Your Neighborhood Can Inform the Design of Your Commercial Space

Neighborhood and community context is important to the success of a retail — or other commercial — space. Here’s how being site-specific can be beneficial to your commercial project and help you make the impact you need to win and retain customers.

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Custom Residential

What to Think About When Designing a Cabin

When designing a cabin, what should you think about? What happens behind-the-scenes during the design process that results in a cabin that simply “feels right”? Read on for a bit of a peek at what guides us when collaborating with clients on a cabin project.

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Multifamily Residential

Are Condos in Seattle Coming Back?

It’s no secret that Seattle has an affordable housing problem — and the lack of condos on the market is one (of many) contributing factors. So, why are there so few condo buildings in Seattle? Read on for some backstory about how we got here, and, hopefully, a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

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Interior Design

Our (Current) Favorite Kitchen Details

This time around on our “B&V Designer Spotlight” series, we asked our interior design team to share their (current) favorite details for kitchens. So, from lighting to cabinets, with a bit about ideas for materials and finishes, read on to learn what’s exciting the team these days.

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Custom Residential

Bold & Colorful Exterior Paint for Your Craftsman House

Thinking about painting your house? Considering going with something other than a neutral shade? There are a ton of great colors out there for you to choose from, but it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about different families of colors you might choose.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Spring Comes to Pacific Northwest Forests

Spring in Pacific Northwest forests brings new growth, lush in the damp, misty woods. Among the seemingly endless shades green, there are also a few lovely, subtle blossoms to enjoy. Learn about three of our favorites, found during a walk in the woods: Pacific dogwood, trumpet honeysuckle, and false lily of the valley.

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Multifamily Residential

Why Lobbies in Multifamily Buildings Are Worth It

Do you remember the so-so lobbies you’ve passed through? Probably not. But do you have pleasant memories of the ones where you really spent some time? Of course! Great lobbies make a big impression. When they are well-designed, they impact our lives in ways that stick with us — the backdrop for important moments in our lives.

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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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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design

Do I Need to Permit My Remodel?

More than likely, if you’re remodeling a home in the Seattle area and wondering if you need a permit, the answer is, “Yes.” The real question is, “What type of permit do you need?” Of course, we can help you figure that out, but here’s a quick preview to get you started.

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Interior Design

Why Should You Have a Foyer in Your Home?

It seems like foyers are disappearing from the floor plans of newer homes. We know people think they want to use that square footage elsewhere, but we feel strongly that you should have a foyer in your house, even a tiny one. Here’s a little about why, from each of our designers on our interiors team.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Enclosing Your Patio: Is It Feasible?

Is your patio feeling a little neglected? Have you day-dreamed about enclosing your patio? Sometimes, it’s the perfect solution and relatively simple to pull off; but, other times, depending on your context, it can be quite a bit more complicated. Here‘s what you need to keep in mind so you can make the right call.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: April Showers Bring May Flowers

After the spring rains, who doesn’t love some May flowers? There are plenty of them out there heralding the growing season, and here we’ll highlight some of our favorites: Magnolia, Sweet Olive, and Fairy Wings. Learn not only to recognize them, but what they like, and if they’d be a good fit for your yard.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Retail

When Should I Hire an Architect for My Tenant Improvement?

Commercial clients sometimes think they need a signed lease before hiring an architect, but it’s much better to bring an architect on before you sign that lease, locking you into a space that might not meet your business's needs as well as you hope it will. Read on for more about how we can help.

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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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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!

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, 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.
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!

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

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.