Introducing, Rachel Simrell Scott!
Meet the newest addition to the Board & Vellum team, Rachel Simrell Scott. Originally hailing from Seattle, and most recently returning from a stint in Oregon, Rachel brings a love of the Pacific Northwest and a flair for the digital to the team here at Board & Vellum.
September 24, 2015
Hey There. How are all of you doing today? (Or Tonight?) Mmm-hmm? Good. Can I get you anything? A coffee? Tea? Glass of wine? Absolutely. No problem. Let’s hang out and get to know one another. See, that’s just the thing: I am the resident newbie here at Board & Vellum, and this is my official “Get To Know You” blog post. So, welcome. Come on in. Relax.
Alright, who am I? Well, pause for a sec. Here’s the thing. I’m more than happy to rock your socks off, but let’s get one thing straight first: this is a sweet team we’re brewing here at B&V – a savory mix of skill, experience, savvy, and – not least – fun. (Add salt to taste.) Luckily, this gal loves to play chef. So, what’s with this new ingredient we’re throwing into the B&V mix? First off: we don’t just bring on new folks here willy-nilly. We are a small, integrated crew of design teams, curated not only by the indefatigable Jeff Pelletier, but also by the teams themselves. So, by the time we invite someone to join, we already know they will be another excellent addition to the B&V signature recipe. So fear not, Dear Readers, we’ve all been vetted, or figuratively taste-tested, if you can tolerate my cooking metaphor just a moment longer. Alright, I’m done with it. Have a sip of that coffee-slash-wine and let’s get this party started.
I suppose we should cover the basic credentials first. I come to B&V with a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History & Visual Culture Studies from Whitman College. While at Whitman, I had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, studying Italian film, contemporary art, and taking studio classes in black & white photography. And, it was there, somewhere among the hours spent in the darkroom, and the many more spent exploring the nooks and crannies of a classic city, that I decided to pursue architecture. Of course, formal education aside, the real architectural education never really ends, it’s more of a lifestyle that just keeps evolving – the more you put into it, the better designer you become. Study hard. Never stop.
The Digital & The Physical
Not being one to make rash decisions, before I applied to architecture school, I wanted to test the dream a little. So, the summer after I graduated from Whitman, I tried out an architecture studio course at the University of Washington. From there, I cold-called an architect in Walla Walla, and scored a role as his intern. For the next couple of years, working one-on-one with him, I learned the trade on projects ranging from residential remodels, to an art gallery, and a new outpost for a winery.
More recently, after (official) architectural school, I formed Emerald Seven with my partner in life and work, Blake Scott. Encompassing both digital and physical projects, we love to cross-pollinate our design work, shifting between thinking about spaces we experience through pixels on screens, and spaces we experience through our literal presence in them. Across disciplines, we are total nuts for awesome, considered, design. From “Big Picture” down to the tiny edges and corners, real design and attention to detail matter; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re the type that gets annoyed with sloppy design, come on over, you’re speaking our language.
Back to the narrative, before joining Board & Vellum, my most comprehensive solo architectural project to date was a complete residential remodel and addition that transformed a bare-bones, ’50s era house into home full of light and natural materials. When the owners approached us, they feared remodeling wouldn’t be able to solve the problems they had with the house. But through sketches and models, we showed them there was, in fact, a solution through considered design, and they green-lit the project with excitement. With the right budget and considered design, there is so much to be gained from even the trickiest of spaces. So, don’t shy away – a little architecture can work wonders.
On the digital side, besides Emerald Seven’s own website, one of our recent web projects is a color-adaptive portfolio for a watercolor artist that lets the viewer play with the art in a manner uncommon in art portfolios, much more like they might experience a piece of art in their own home, moving it from a wall painted white to one of another color. More and more, the digital and physical worlds are melding, and I’m excited to be Board & Vellum’s new resident tech geek.
A Seattle Gal for a Seattle Firm
Though I was two years too early to be born a Seattleite, I was absolutely bred one. My (Seattle-born) younger brother disagrees, of course, but I’m this close to being a Seattle Native, and, if it weren’t for him, I’d probably just get away with saying that I am one. Either way, I have a ton of Seattle pride. After my years attending Evergreen then Bush (schools, not plants), I tried out the life in Walla Walla, then Portland, even Eugene for a few, but I just keep coming back to my hometown here in Seattle; I love this place.
Both wild and urban, the Pacific Northwest has shaped my life both philosophically and practically. When I think about the spaces we inhabit, whether to design a new space, or to refine an old one, my thoughts are always mediated by my experiences over years spent in our local environment. I am intimately familiar with our particular brand of damp. I know all about it getting dark at 4:00 PM in December. I know what you’re talking about when you reminisce about the Old REI, even that particular smell it had. I’ve spent some good times in the Kingdome, and, yes, I remember when parking (or driving) anywhere didn’t have to be such a big deal. I don’t remember a time before curb-side recycling, and I get frustrated when I travel to other cities and can’t find a decent latte, or awesome produce. My husband and I joke about what we call “The Pacific Northwest Bubble” – it’s so awesome here that you forget how rare it really is, until you leave the bubble. Seattle has spoiled me, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
So, perhaps you’re new to Seattle, as I am new to Board & Vellum. Do you love it, yet? How about your home? Let’s talk about Seattle living – we know a little something about it, and the team at Board & Vellum is here to help. Let’s design for Seattle. We always need a way to let in the winter light, and sometimes, we need storage space for kayaks. We need somewhere to leave the damp parkas, and we need a way to keep a house without AC cool during that one hot stretch in summer. How do you want to live? What are the eccentric details of your life? What brings you joy? What warms your heart? What blows your hair back? I may be the newest B&V’er, but I’m all about the Pacific Northwest life. Let’s chat. Let’s build your life. Drop us a line. And, just one more thing: Cheers. Thanks for sticking around. Here’s to the next new thing.