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
Seattle Design Community
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Retail
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!Read more.
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.”Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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?Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
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.Read more.
Remodeling vs building new: is one harder than the other? It’s very difficult to compare the two, as it’s not apples to apples. While they do share some of the same approaches, they are different challenges that require careful thought. Here are a few of the things to keep in mind when remodeling your home.Read more.
Are you wondering: “What are those trees blooming in late spring, with large flowers in shades of pink or white?” They might be dogwoods, a powerhouse of landscape design that has a number of great cultivars and varieties. Here are a few of our favorite dogwood varieties, along with some details about their care and preferences.Read more.
Flat hierarchy in a design firm is rare. We are a medium-sized design firm with one principal. Basically, we’re a design firm unicorn. So, how does that even work, and what impact does our internal organization have on our clients? Our experience has been that it is overwhelmingly positive. Here's why.Read more.
Why design a statement bathroom? For one, it’s one of the most frequented spaces in the home. Have one you’re proud of showing off, and you won't mind when friends and family visit it. What does it take to make a bathroom worth showing off? Here are some simple tips for creating a statement bathroom.Read more.
Ask an Architect, Commercial Office, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multi-Family Residential, Retail
How do you decide between hourly vs. fixed-fee billing? People really don’t like to talk about money, but you need to talk about it enough to make the right choice about how you would like your project billed. Here is how these two billing methods work, and why you might prefer one over the other.Read more.
The Capitol Hill Art Walk is coming up again, and here in Board & Vellum’s By Others gallery, we are hosting a show by artist Marysol A. Damo. Read our Q&A with her to learn a little about her work ahead of the May 10th opening reception.Read more.
A lot of times, unlikely inspiration solves your problems. To non-designers, it may seem a little crazy, but just as any odd thing can remind you of something else entirely, for designers, that experience often triggers their brains about a project they are working on, taking them on a mental journey towards a design solution.Read more.
While there is definitely some overlap with other design and technical professions, there are certain tools of the trade for landscape architecture that are really key to getting the job done well. This post explores those digital and analog tools landscape architects and designers keep close at hand in their professional toolkit.Read more.
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.Read more.
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 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!
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.