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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

What Really Adds Cost To Your Home Remodel?

Have you ever heard that moving a toilet is a budget-busting home improvement? Would it surprise you to learn that we think this is debatable? There’s no doubt that home remodels cost money, but the big-ticket changes might not be what you expect. So what’s really going to impact your project budget?

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Custom Residential

Five Design Priorities for Your Home

Any design project is going to be filled with more decisions than you can anticipate. There’s a balance between understanding how to compromise on things that aren’t as important and prioritize the things that really matter. Here’s what we recommend to help our clients make good choices for their projects without giving up what they love.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

Storytelling in Design

What inspires designers to create beautiful projects? Just like making a fantastic dish to eat, it’s about more than the individual ingredients — it’s about how they all work together! In design, it’s so much more than meeting the basic programmatic needs of our clients. It’s about telling a story.

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Custom Residential

Five Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Larger

If you’re like us, you probably wish your kitchen had just a little bit more space – it’s one of those places where things just seem to pile up with nowhere to go. It may not be an option to actually increase the size of your kitchen, but here are five smaller projects you can invest in to make your kitchen live larger.

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Ask an Architect

Dos and Don’ts of the Pricing Process

We see all the time how a good and thorough Schematic Pricing set helps us avoid the pitfalls of waiting too long to get an official pricing estimate. Still, we understand how the process can be overwhelming and confusing for clients. We’ve got your back with a list of our dos and don’ts for sailing through pricing like a pro.

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Ask an Architect

Why and How We Get Pricing Early

If you’ve started a design project in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced an unfortunate shock when the pricing estimate rolls in. We hate that feeling, just as much as you. Instead of leaving it to chance, we take a different approach to helping our clients navigate the confusing and variable world of construction costs.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

2021 Trendy and Timeless Design

Each year, materials and design styles come in and out of vogue. Sometimes, it feels like a game of chance, and other times we can see the changes coming from a mile away. As 2021 dawns, we’re reflecting on what design elements are here for the moment and what’s here to stay.

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Ask an Architect

Hiring an Architect vs. a Design-Build Firm

It’s a question that comes up fairly often: “Should I hire an architect and a separate general contractor, or hire a design-build firm as a one-stop-shop to both design and build my space?” There are pros and cons to each; but, before we jump in, let’s pause for a moment and take this conversation more slowly.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Landscape Architecture

Planning All-Season Outdoor Spaces

Who says yards are just for summer? Here at Board & Vellum, we believe your outdoor spaces should be beautiful, functional, and awesome to hang out in no matter the season or weather. With a few special considerations, you can have an outdoor living space that's comfortable all year long — rain or shine.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Landscape Architecture

Seven Tips for Enjoying Your Outdoor Spaces All Winter Long

We think embracing the outdoors is key to fully enjoying the winter season. If you live in Seattle, you might be scratching your head. Enjoying the outdoors in all this rain? In short, yes! There’s so much to enjoy this time of year, so take a leaf out of Scandinavia’s book and prepare to get cozy.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

Tips for Ensuring Your Home Has Good Air Quality

With wildfire season continuing into the late fall and a global pandemic still keeping millions of people indoors, there's a lot going on in the world. Both these natural disasters have brought to the forefront the importance of ventilation for your health: well-designed ventilation in buildings is important to address present and future pandemics, wildfires, and other airborne pollutants.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

How a Heat Recovery Ventilator Can Make Your Home Healthier

Indoor air quality has never been a more pressing or popular target than it is today. With smoke from wildfires all over the West and the continuing global pandemic of COVID-19, many of us are wondering whether our indoor air is safe. The good news is: it can be, with the right systems in place.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Options for Updating Your HVAC System for Better Indoor Air Quality

There have been a lot of discussions and varied information on how the built environment affects the spread of COVID-19. Now, we are also seeing more intense wildfires and smoke than we’ve seen in the past decade. With both these environmental issues keeping people indoors, healthy ventilation strategies are more important than ever.

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Firm Culture

How a Philosophy of High Performance is Changing the Way We Work

Designing a home or building is one thing. Designing the work experience of your employees is quite another. But the design mentality we bring to our projects also allows us to adapt and innovate how we operate as a team. Though our firm has evolved over the years, our values have not, guiding us to adopt the philosophy of a high-performance team.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Toilets

Toilet options are a frequently asked question around here. Where do you start with so many options on the market? Luckily, our office manager, Katie, was able to pick our interior designers’ brains about everything toilets so you can go into your bathroom remodel with the info you need to pick the option right for you.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Five Takeaways From Remodeling Our Home As Our Own Contractor

With construction costs rising (and construction budgets feeling the pinch) it’s becoming more and more popular to self-perform at least some of the work on a remodel that might normally be left for a general contractor. Luckily, one of our architects, Kaysie, did just that not too long ago, and she’s sharing her five takeaways from the experience.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Three Ways to Create a Relaxing Bedroom

Bedrooms are a popular place to make changes when updating your home. From a primary suite to kids’ rooms to a guest bedroom, everyone deserves a restful and calming place to unwind. Here, we walk you through three simple ways to create a relaxing bedroom you'll want to hang out in — awake or asleep.

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Building Green, Custom Residential

Going the Extra Mile for an Unusual Addition

Living in a log cabin just might be one of the more sustainable things you can do. If you’re a city-dweller, you might never get the chance to do so unless you’re like one of our scrappy clients who saved a log cabin by attaching it to their home as an addition.

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Custom Residential

Questions to Ask Yourself About Building a Second-Story Addition

Adding a second story to your home can be a great solution when you want to stay in your house but need more space. Once you’ve decided to build up, though, the decision-making isn’t done. What questions should you be asking yourself before you commit to a second-story addition?

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Ask an Architect

What It’s Like Working with an Architect

When you see an architect portrayed on television or in the movies, they’re either totally unrelatable, wildly eccentric creative-types, or in all black, mingling at a cocktail party as if they would rather be anywhere else. Inevitably, these characters have egos so big they barely fit in the frame. But what’s it like working with real-life architects?

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Historic & Traditional, Interior Design

Matching a Historic Feel with Modern Materials

How authentic does something really need to be? When you remodel a historic home, or just love a lived-in look, it can be difficult to determine when (and how) to make a new object or material look original. Here, we’ve laid out a few rules of thumb to follow if you’re ever in this predicament yourself.

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Other Tangents

What Is A Ranch?

Ranches conjure up all sorts of imagery in our imaginations. But when it comes down to designing one, what are we really talking about? It’s more than just the land, and it’s more than just the built structures — it is the symbiotic relationship between the two, and cultivating that requires careful exploration and design.

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Ask an Architect

What Different Line Types in Architecture & Design Drawings Mean

Thick lines, thin lines, lines with short or long dashes (or both!) — if you don’t speak the language of all these line types, an architecture or design drawing can be pretty mystifying. This primer on design drawing linework will give you a starter toolkit so you can tell what you’re looking at.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Remodeling Your Brick House

What should you consider when remodeling a brick house? Sure, brick is just another conventional building material, but remodeling a brick home presents some unique design challenges. Here’s what to look out for and think about when you’re considering a remodeling a house made of brick.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Home You Want to Remodel

What if the new home you’re considering most definitely isn’t your dream home? There’s a lot an architect can do to help you achieve your dreams but not every dream is achievable in every home. Before jumping into a huge investment, check out our top ten things to know before purchasing a home you want to remodel.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential

Should You Build Up, Down, or Out When Adding Space to Your Home?

Knowing where to build an addition to your home can be an agonizing decision. And not understanding the impact your decision might have on the construction process (and your wallet) can make it doubly stressful. An architect can help you understand the best solution for your situation and help you move forward.

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Ask an Architect, Commercial

Immediate Solutions for Socially Distant Retail

It has been a tough road for small businesses over the last few months dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. For those small businesses fighting to stay in business, the opportunity to pivot and re-open in some form is upon us. Facing this daunting challenge, where do you even start? This post is for you.

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Commercial

The Rebirth of the American Workplace

Recommendations and trends in commercial office design shift in response to cultural norms, technology, and working styles. Following the 2020 pandemic, how might the design of commercial offices adapt this time? On the spectrum from open office concept, through vast fields of cubicles, to private offices, where will we land?

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Commercial, Interior Design, Third Places

The Personalized Hospitality Experience

Before Covid-19 shifted our world, personalized hospitality experiences, like private dining rooms and by-appointment-only shopping, were considered luxuries reserved only for an elite few. But, with social distancing recommendations in place — driven first by necessity and later by comfort — it’s possible some of these once-elite experiences become more common. Here’s a look at how some of this could evolve.

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Commercial, Interior Design, Third Places

Commercial Design in the Age of Social Distancing

As commercial spaces slowly re-open, businesses and clientele have to take extra precautions because these spaces were designed to operate in a pre-pandemic world. This post is part of a series on how design for commercial spaces may evolve due to the Covid-19 pandemic, either by requirement or by cultural shift.

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Arts & Culture

An Art Walk Sneak Peek: Works by Frank Ching

During the current pandemic crisis, we aren’t currently able to host in-person events in our By Others gallery at the Board & Vellum office on Capitol Hill in Seattle. But, that doesn’t at all mean we aren’t super excited about this one! To tide you over, please enjoy this preview of works by Frank Ching.

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Ask an Architect

Surprises That Come Up During Construction

As much as you may want a surprise-free construction experience, there’s no way around it: there will be surprises. In fact, the surprises that come up during construction can be on the crazy or amazing side, so we thought it would be fun to highlight some real examples our team has experienced.

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Custom Residential

Ways to Open Up an Old House

Old homes are often compartmentalized: broken up into separate rooms, rather than the “open plans” of modern homes. So what can you do if you’d like more connected spaces? Here are some ways you can create a more open feel in an older home, without sacrificing a traditional look.

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Ask an Architect, Custom Residential, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Multifamily & Mixed-Use

Will The Coronavirus Impact Construction Prices?

The impact of the coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic is incredibly vast. As we try to plan for how this will impact our businesses, how the cost of construction could change is a common — and key — question. Here are some of the factors that could play a role in pushing the cost of construction either up or down.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Helpful Features in a Home for Hunkering Down

Last week, I wrote about the little things in my house driving me nuts now that I spend all my time at home while we all work on flattening the curve of this pandemic. It’s natural to analyze and find fault in things, but there are also so many things that I am currently grateful for in my house, like these.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Small Remodel Regrets in a Home Renovation

When you are planning to remodel your kitchen, do you want a single or double oven? A one-basin sink or a double-basin? Now, think again. And, remodel regrets aren't limited to the kitchen, here are some remodel regrets from an architect’s own home renovation.

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Other Tangents

Top 5 Tips for Working From Home

So, you’re working from home. Maybe you’ve been part of a remote team for a while, or maybe this is your first foray into the world of telecommuting. Either way, Board & Vellum’s got your back with our Top 5 tips for working from home.

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Custom Residential, Interior Design

How To Set Up Your Space to Work from Home

Never worked from home? Setting yourself up for success can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to be productive from a space you’re used to relaxing in. Don’t fret. We’re here to help with some tools for how to turn your cozy pad into an effective office — hold the actual office.

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Interior Design

Three Ways to Add Some “Wow” to Your Walls

Are you bored with your plain white walls? Or maybe they’re not even plain white, maybe you have a painted accent wall that’s simply not enough of an accent anymore. Whatever it is, here are three options to add some new excitement to your spaces, with wallpaper, tile, and wood wall finish options.

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Commercial, Third Places

5 Things You Need to Know About Opening Your First Commercial Space

Especially if it’s your first, opening a commercial space is a big deal and takes no shortage of knowledge or planning to pull off without too much trouble, or too much time lost. Here are five things to keep in mind when taking your new commercial space from concept to doors-open.

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Arts & Culture, Events

Works by Morgan Welch & Donal Murphy in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum

A new show is launching at the By Others gallery! For January’s Capitol Hill Art Walk, we are hosting works by two artists: Morgan Welch (also a B&V’er) and Donal Murphy. Read their artist statements, here, ahead of the January 9th opening reception.

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Interior Design

Creating a Color-Blocked Kitchen

Color-blocking isn’t just for clothes — you can color-block your kitchen cabinets, too. But, it’s not about following a trend, it’s actually something we see in a variety of incarnations to suit different design styles, spaces, and moods.

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Or, if chronology isn’t your thing…

Here are a couple of posts to get you started. 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, 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!

Board & Vellum wins 2020 Best of Houzz awards in the Design & Service categories.

Recognized for “Design” & “Service” for the 7th 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.