The B&V Blog

Our blog is intended to act as a resource for anyone wondering how to approach their project, or to get a design question answered. From our perspective, architecture and design shouldn’t be an exclusive club full of people using esoteric jargon and wearing only black. The blog is written for you, not for us. 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.

Is My House Ugly? If You Love It, Maybe Not!

When you design houses for a living, sometimes, you end up designing things you think are ugly, but you do it anyway because your clients think it's perfect. It's your house, not ours, and at Board & Vellum, we are here to design a home you love, even if we'd do it differently on our own.

What Type of Dining Room Table Do You Need?

When you’re in the market for a dining room table, where do you start? Would a round one work? Or a built-in banquette? Maybe a kitchen island? Or, an extendable leaf? Use these tips to figure out what type of dining room table is right for how you live in your home.

Introducing, Marissa!

Introducing, Marissa Lada! – Meet a B&V'er – Board & Vellum
Meet the latest addition to the B&V team, Marissa Lada! Marissa hails from outside Chicago, and loves her new home in Seattle. She joins our interiors team, and, as a writer of her own blog, looks forward to being a regular contributor to the B&V Blog, too.

B&V Radio: A New Podcast from Board & Vellum

Heads up, everyone, Board & Vellum now has a podcast: B&V Radio. Tune in on iTunes or SoundCloud, and listen as hosts Charles and Rachel discuss with guests what it’s like living in Seattle during the city’s exciting, rapid growth.

Why Do You Still Need an Architect After You Have Your Building Permit?

Clients often ask us why they still need an architect once they have a contractor and a building permit. In fact, our continued involvement in your project during construction is so critical that we waive our liability if we aren't a part of it. So, why is that? Let's get into the details! (Pun intended.)

How to Create an Outdoor Space you Love

Sometimes, it takes the quiet moments on a peaceful vacation to remind you of some of the great things back at home. In this case, a trip to Costa Rica reminds Jeff about all the things that come together to create an outdoor room that you love, even in our rainy Seattle weather.

What Height of Stool Do You Need?

What height of stool do you need?
What’s the difference between table height, counter height, and bar height stools? What does that mean in inches? You’ll be forever kicking yourself if you buy the wrong height stools, so make sure you follow these rules to get it right so you can still comfortably.

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

Questions to ask a landscape architect. – Board & Vellum
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.

Is Moonlighting Worth It? Probably Not, But We All Try.

We've all been there – when moonlighting on an architecture project seems like a good idea. But most of us who've tried it over the years know: it's just not worth it to wear yourself out working at night on the type of project that just goes more smoothly during business hours.

Introducing, Leslie!

Introducing, Leslie Batten!
Our Landscape Architecture studio is growing! This time on "Meet at B&V'er," say hi to Leslie Batten, Board & Vellum's latest landscape architect. Leslie spends time away from work enjoying the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest: hiking in the mountains, and biking through wine country.

We’re One of Washington’s Top Places to Work! Join Us?

Board & Vellum at Seattle Business Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work for in Washington 2017
We are so excited to be honored by Seattle Business magazine as one of Washington's top ten small businesses to work for, for the second year in a row. We all work hard to create and nurture the B&V culture. If that sounds good to you, too, check out our careers page: we're hiring!

Why the Ceiling of Retail Spaces Is Important

Designing the ceiling of retail spaces: people will look up, so make sure there is something worth seeing.
When you’re planning the displays and layout of your retail space, it’s easy to neglect the ceiling. But, in a market dominated by online shopping, the experience of a physical shop is crucial. If a visitor is interrupted by noticing a neglected area, that can be enough to transport them out of the purchasing mindset.

B&V Retreat 2017: Recap and a Competition-Winning Recipe

Board & Vellum Company Retreat 2017 – Company Group Photo
For the 2017 B&V Company Strategic Planning Retreat, we packed up and hauled off to camp at Rasar State Park. Even through sickness and rain, we not only set out our 5 and 10-year goals, but we wrapped up the day with an Iron Chef competition. And bonus, we’re sharing one of the winning recipes with you!

Mentoring with Anecdotes vs. Creating a Culture of Trust

Mentoring with Anecdotes vs. Creating a Culture of Trust – Having fun at the company retreat.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received? Jeff Pelletier looks back to his first design job, and finds that great mentorship doesn’t always come in the form of sharing pre-packaged nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes, it’s about trusting and empowering young employees, and Jeff’s been paying it forward ever since.

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

Questions to Ask an Architect in an Interview – Talking with Potential Clients About Architecture
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!

Introducing, Zack!

Canoeing with the Kids – Introducing Zack Thomas – Board & Vellum
It's time to "Meet a B&V'er" again! Say hi to Zack, who (with teammate Derek) launched Board & Vellum's landscape architecture studio. Zack, a licensed Landscape Architect, loves traveling the world with his sketchbook. Whether urban, rural, or natural, he thrives on exploring new places and meeting the people who shape and inhabit them.

Imagining the Future of Architecture

Future of Architecture – Looking at architecture in a crystal ball.
What does the future of architecture look like? Will we toss out everything and be living and working in an entirely different system? Or, will the field evolve more gradually? Board & Vellum principal, Jeff Pelletier, looks 20 years ahead to explore how – and where – the profession may evolve in the years to come.

All Together Now: Integrated Design at Board & Vellum

Integrated Design at Board & Vellum
The benefit of an integrated practice like Board & Vellum, which offers architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture, is that all the projects we work on get better – even if they don’t involve all the disciplines. Here, B&V principal Jeff Pelletier explains why.

Evolution of the Third Place

Photo of a '50s diner. – Third Place Evolution – Board & Vellum
Third Places have evolved over centuries, from the tea houses of the Jin Dynasty, to Central Perk of '90s fame, to our current, caffeinated Wi-Fi hotspots. But it's not caffeinated beverages (or Wi-Fi) that creates a successful space. So, what is it? Explore the common evolutionary thread in this latest installation about Third Places.

Designing a House into a Home

Designing a House Into a Home – Sketching over schematic floor plans at Board & Vellum.
Emotion and personalization turn a house into a home, and when you're talking about designing your living space, this is incredibly important. Read about how our design process at Board & Vellum helps us make the leap from a great design (that is still just a house) to a home that our clients will love.