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
 
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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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

What’s Harder: Designing a New House or Remodeling an Existing Home?

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.

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Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: In Seattle, Dogwood Trees!

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.

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Firm Culture

Introducing, Kimber!

It’s time to meet another new B&V’er! Say hello to Kimber, a licensed architect who joined us in February 2018. Kimber has called Seattle home for two decades and loves both the city and the beautiful Pacific Northwest geography that surrounds us.

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Firm Culture

Where Are All the Principals?

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.

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Interior Design

Simple Tips For Creating a Statement Bathroom

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.

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

Hourly vs. Fixed-Fee Billing: What is the Difference?

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.

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Arts & Culture, Events

Work by Marysol A. Damo in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum

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.

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Other Tangents

Unlikely Inspiration: The Strange Journeys of the Creative Process

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.

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Landscape Architecture

What Are the Tools of The Trade for Landscape Architecture?

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.

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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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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 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.

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!