Why Daylighting Matters

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.”

Walt Whitman

Home design is much more than creating a beautiful space. It’s the art of crafting a space that works for you, and it challenges us to consider how we can merge healthy living and architecture.

Natural light is one of the most abundant and accessible features you can add to any home. It transcends passing fads. It compliments any design style. It highlights beauty. It adds to the health and quality of life for everyone who uses that space. And as we progress into the 21st century, more and more homeowners are prioritizing their desire for a light-filled home.

Natural light merges the best of healthy living and architecture

In architecture and interior design, we place specific emphasis on a need for daylighting, that is, using natural light to illuminate interior spaces. While there are countless design tactics to welcome natural light into a space, we’ll first explore how natural light is central to a healthy home.


Daylighting has a tremendous impact on health and lifestyle. One study revealed that individuals who spend most of their waking hours exposed to daylight are significantly more alert at the beginning of the evening and those who spend their days under artificial light experience greater levels of sleepiness.

Other research suggests a link between prolonged exposure to artificial light and obesity. Natural light reduces the inclination to overeat and encourages increased movement and engagement with the outside world.  

Fresh Air

Natural light merges the best of healthy living and architecture

Daylighting contributes to fresher, cleaner air throughout the home. A lack of natural light is one of the most common causes of stale smells within a home. However, sunlight naturally kills bacteria and mold. Windows, window walls, and French doors offer great architectural solutions to maximize sunlight and, in the summer, circulate fresh air throughout the home.


Daylighting contributes to a greener, more sustainable home design. As technology advances and high-quality glass materials continue to evolve, daylighting becomes a practical solution for home energy usage. Inviting natural light to flood the home reduces reliance your home’s daytime energy usage.

As you plan for your dream home, consider how your home design can optimize your health and lifestyle choices. It’s part of looking at the big picture of home design and merging healthy living and architecture.  

5 Home Trends for 2019

2019 is here, and as with each new calendar year, the design world is rife with predictions on the top trends for the coming year. Here are a few to watch for.

Window Walls

2019 home trends to watch: kitchen window walls

Natural light is always an asset. It brings a space to life with natural warmth and intrigue. Watch for an increase in kitchen window walls in this year’s home remodels and new builds. These banks of windows offer excellent opportunities to frame the room with stunning views of your Pacific Northwest surroundings.


While subway tile’s popularity is by no means diminishing, it is taking on creative twists. Larger blocks set in a herringbone, chevron, or stacked pattern create a fresh take on a classic kitchen backsplash.

For a bolder look, full tile backsplash walls with colorful patterns create a visual focal point in an open-floor plan.

Mediterranean Style

2019 home trends to watch: Mediterranean style interior designs
2019 home trends to watch: Mediterranean style interior designs

Houzz predicts a growing interest in Spanish and Mediterranean style interiors. The light-filled, comfortable style offers a timeless aesthetic for a home’s living space. Mitchell Parker describes the style as merging of “creamy white plaster walls, linen upholstery, a collected look, wrought iron light fixtures, large fireplaces and natural wood architectural elements like ceiling beams.”

Quartz Counters

Quartz counters are surging in popularity. With durability, diverse design selections, easy cleaning, and low maintenance, they’re a practical alternative to natural stone countertops.

Focal Tubs

2019 home trends to watch: destination tubs

As larger master bathrooms remain a priority in home remodels and new builds, bathtubs are receiving extra emphasis. Free standing tubs are getting their own space in the bathroom, creating a luxury spa experience for everyday use. These destination tubs are set against stunning views, beneath light-filled skylights, or nestled up to an electric fireplace insert.

At Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture, we don’t focus on design trends alone. While they do inform and impact home choices, we work with our clients to create great designs that push beyond fads and into timeless beauty. It’s part of pursuing the art of architecture at every turn.

Let’s see what 2019 brings!

2018 in Review

It’s getting real. 2018 is coming to an end, and we’re taking a look back on what’s happened.

Ask An Architect

Eric Drivdahl answers your questions at Ask an Architect.

We kicked off the year with our friends at AIA Seattle. Along with fellow architect Matt Hutchins at CAST Architecture, we spent an afternoon discussing what it takes to build a house and taking questions from the audience. It was a delightful experience, and all part of what we love: building relationships and working with clients.

Ratio House

Residential architects use texture in home design
Asian inspired residential architecture in Redmond.

Our Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl team competed in the Luxe RED Awards with Ratio House–one of our favorite recent remodels. Curtis Gelotte, of of our residential architects, applied his and his client’s shared passion for Fibonacci numbers to every room in this home, making this competition a fun opportunity to share the unique application of the art of architecture with a broader community.

Mentoring Young Architects

In February, Eric Drivdahl spent a day at his alma mater, Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Eric explored the university’s new state-of-the art design facilities and sat down with future architects. He walked away encouraged and emboldened by the creativity of these young architects, and continued to cultivate mentoring relationships with several budding professionals.

“Even as we design and build our clients’ dream homes, we relish every opportunity to pour our knowledge into architectural students who we see as the future of architecture.”

Eric Drivdahl

Gelato, Hummus, and Drinks

Celebrating another year of residential architecture in Redmond
Celebrating another year of residential architecture in Redmond, Bellevue, Seattle, and beyond.

In April, we celebrated another year of business, design, and partnership with colleagues and clients at our Gelato, Hummus, and Drinks anniversary party. Yet again, you reminded us of why we continue to pursue the art of architecture. Thank you!

Wood, Stone, and Water

Residential architecture in Redmond area.

Last spring, we had the rare opportunity to revisit one of our past projects as Wood, Stone, and Water went on the market…and we invited you to explore it with us! Located in the midst of a Bellevue neighborhood, the home is an exercise in reflecting the beauty of the natural world into the comforts of home.

Millenials v. Baby Boomers

Early in June, we looked at new research on the unique desires of millenials and baby boomers when it comes to their “dream home.” The articles reminded us that, as residential architects, each project is as distinct and new as the client behind it. That individuality adds intrigue to each day of work!

Everyday Inspiration

home design inspiration
Residential architects explore the inspirations behind their work.
Photo credit: Mihai Codoban

Late last summer, Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl team members Iulia Codoban, Jin Wan, and Troy Howe shared some of their inspirations in the pursuit of architecture. We explored how nature, photography, and adventure bring new creativity to our work.

Whos Down in Whoville

Residential architects build a Whoville inspired gingerbread scene

Last fall, our team set to work scheming, sketching, and building a sweet rendering of Whoville for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundatin’s annual Gingerbread Village. The delicious scene is still on display (until January 1, 2019) at the Sheraton. Go take a look!

From Our Family to Yours

As always, we wrapped up the year with the near-sacred signing of holiday cards. As our whole team sat around the conference table signing cards for our clients and colleagues, we reflected on the bonds, memories, and places to call home that we’ve built in the past year…and in all the years before this. It’s these relationships that make our work meaningful. And we can’t thank you enough.

We wish you a truly wonderful New Year as we launch into 2019!

Geometry in Home Design

Form, beauty, and architecture define our work. They inform how we approach every home design project, and they push us to pursue excellence in craft. And with those three design priorities comes a major principle: work your angles.

As geometric trends continue to dominate the design world in fashion and home decor styles–from chandelier earrings to chandelier lighting–we see a corresponding appreciation for geometric home design. Dramatic angles, cubic spaces, and a love of structure as form have attained new respect in recent years…but it’s no surprise. We’ve always known that deep down…we all love math.

Geometry in the Home

This trend in style and decor gets down the heart of something architects have known for years: angles and geometric patterns are a part of life, and we can use them to simultaneously better form and beauty.

While you may not have loved math class, these patterns and forms are something you likely appreciate daily in your home. Our Issaquah home design House in a Mountain Meadow is a prime example:

An Issaquah home design captures the art of geometeric home design
Angles work together for strong form, function, and geometric beauty in this Issaquah home design.

In this hallway, rafters push beyond basic support to add an element of style to the space, bringing the eye upwards to enjoy the blend of triangles, trapezoids, and more with a ceiling that’s anything but dull. Various shapes and angles from the walls, skylights, rafters, and furniture blend together for a modern and geometrically intriguing space that’s warm and welcoming.

While this resurgence in the love of geometric form and balance may someday go out of style in fashion, geometric home design is a timeless look that maintains a sense of interest and intrigue, form and function.

What’s your dream home style look like? We’d like to know!

All-Weather Lake Cabin

Like so much of the Pacific Northwest, Lake Wenatchee is stunning. Glacier melted water, evergreen trees, and the wild peace of nature make it a beloved getaway…and a delightful opportunity for a lake cabin.

This Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Lake Wenatchee cabin takes cabin life to a new high. Cutting edge materials, vibrant colors, and mixed textures create intrigue and shelter throughout.

Tough Shell

Lake cabin in Wenatchee

Our team embraced the reality of Lake Wenatchee’s varied weather and opted for a unique exterior siding: corrugated steel. The corten steel used in this lake cabin is designed to rust with time, creating a rugged, time worn beauty on the home. The rustic patina will then  provide a resistive barrier to the elements. A perfect example of form meeting function.

Lively Interior

Lake Wenatchee cabin

Inside, the home mixes textures, colors, and materials to create a lively, comfortable vacation escape. Dark concrete paves the floor with a glossy, smooth finish and catches reflections of the surrounding room.

Lake Wenatchee cabin kitchen

Open trusses, wood slat walls, and a Chief Cliff stone fireplace ground the home in earthy, natural tones, echoing the natural beauty outside the cabin. The kitchen’s red cabinetry and multi-colored backsplash, by contrast, add a dash of vacation fun.

From outside, in, this Lake Wenatchee cabin embraces durability, comfort, and personality…and it’s perfectly primed for summer, weekend, and holiday memories.

Prairie in the Pacific Northwest

Prairie style architecture bears a truly American heritage. Born from the designs of Chicago’s Frank Lloyd Wright and standing in stark contrast to their stately, gothic revival contemporaries, prairie homes imbue a sense of just that–home.

Low ceilings, distinct living spaces, and ample windows create a uniquely human scale. Through the years, we’ve crafted multiple homes inspired by prairie design. Open Prairie presents a contemporary take on the classic style.

Prairie on the Outside

A contemporary twist on a Kirkland prairie home

This Kirkland prairie home features a classic hipped roof with sheltering overhangs. Natural wood siding with stone accents draw on the house’s Pacific Northwest setting, giving a nod to the prairie style’s emphasis on connection with nature while infusing a contemporary air into the exterior.

Prairie on the Inside

A contemporary twist on a Kirkland prairie home

Inside, the home takes on a spacious, contemporary open floor plan, mingling kitchen, dining, and family spaces. Recessed ceilings make each space in that communal area distinct, and skylights and windows flood the house with light.

A contemporary twist on a Kirkland prairie home

Oak cabinets, floors, and moulding imbue warmth and softness. A large stone fireplace centers the sitting area. Geometric lamps and throws accent the space.

Hearkening to the past yet built for modern living, this Kirkland prairie home speaks to Frank Lloyd Wright’s enduring impact on home design. Comfortable spaces, spacious communal areas, and human-sized proportions remain a staple of contemporary home design.

Character in the Details

Every client brings their own unique style, a unique story that informs their dream home. This means that we get to explore the art of architecture afresh with each new home design project…and we love that.

At a 2010 Port Townsend custom home, we explored the best of craftsman style with accents of English charm, Asian flair, and all-around whimsy throughout.

First Impressions

Port Townsend custom home

The hallmark of the craftsman style is just that: hand crafted artistry. It’s about caring for the details and savoring the labor that goes into them. English Craftsman presents this concept from the first approach. A verdant garden surrounds the home, framing it in natural beauty. Large gables dominate the facade and a charming, rounded window centers the design and invites natural light into the main living spaces.

Craftsman style home design project

A corresponding window setting dominates the far end of the primary living area, bookending the space with perfect symmetry and highlighting the open design.

Finer Points

While this Port Townsend custom home presents a beautiful overall design, we’re partial to the details that give this home deep character.

Port Townsend custom home

Curious sculptures enliven the exterior. A pterodactyl perches on one of the eaves and a rotund insect rests on a gable peak.

Craftsman style home design project

A mobile-inspired chandelier graces the approach to the front door, bringing light and movement to the entry space.

Port Townsend custom home

Inside, custom light fixtures dangle across the dining room table and offer their own story to all who gather around.

Craftsman style home design project

The craftsman movement’s Asian influences receive several nods throughout this home design project, including this Chinese lattice work above the fireplace.

Each craftsman home tells a story. They offer comfort, refuge, warmth, and character in every inch.

What story does your home tell?

Vintage Art: Crafting a Home Wine Cellar

For the true sommelier, there’s no room more sacred than the wine cellar–a bastion of rich flavor, culture, and craftsmanship within the comfort of home. A home wine cellar is a luxurious touch, to be certain, but it’s an expression your unique personality and interest.

Every step of the vinification process is craft. From fostering the vineyard, to fermenting the harvest, to bottling the finished wine, winemaking is an art, and that art deserves a home that reflects its beauty. Here’s how a few of our Western Washington home designs display their vintage craft.

Woodway Manor

home wine cellar

At Woodway Manor, we created a cohesive addition to a historic home. In the process, we incorporated a deep wine cellar for our client’s collection. It’s a classic take on wine storage, with organized slots on the upper portion of the walls and x-style storage near the floor. A row of well-lit display slots provide space for the most prized bottles in the homeowners’ collection.

Lakeside Lookout

Western Washington home designs

Arches echo through Lakeside Lookout’s home wine cellar. Its display nooks, doorways, and the wine bottles themselves embrace elegant curves and offer an artistic congruity to the space. Wood shelving with brick flooring and ceiling materials mingle cool and warm elements.

Northeast by Northwest

Western Washington home designs

Northeast by Northwest’s earthy wine closet displays its collection on simple latticed shelving. Stone walls and a traditional curved wood door lend an air of aged sophistication to the space.

Tuscan Transformation

home wine cellar

Tuscan Transformation’s charming home wine cellar adds character to its display with terracotta cube shelves. An Old World inspired light fixture enhances the room’s historic flare.

Mercer Island

home wine cellar

This luxury home on Mercer Island boasts an expansive wine cellar. Flat display shelves, x-style storage, and walls of wine cases fill the sprawling room. Soft, warm lighting accents the space and invites visitors to peruse the endless collection.

5 Fireplace Designs for Fall

Great home architecture emerges when form and function meet. It’s not wasteful or flippant. Rather, it possesses charm and grace in the midst of everyday utility. Fireplace design showcases this principle.

Created to be a source of light and warmth in the dark, cold hours of the year, the fireplace is an opportunity to create a compelling focal point in any space, be it living room, bedroom, or back patio. Here are five of our favorites.


fireplace design in Bellevue

Tucked away in the Washington mountains, Cedar Haven is a refuge in the forest. The cedar trees cleared before building were repurposed into the home itself, helping to frame the sweeping living room windows. In keeping with the homeowner’s request that the fireplace be “large enough to roast an ox in,” the fireplace stands in proportion to the room, using rustic stone to ground the space.


home architecture and fireplace design

Inspired by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s original fireplace designs, Prairie House in the Virginia Woods captures the prairie style home with a modern brick fireplace design.


home architecture and fireplace design

Woodway Manor, a historic remodel project, draws on more traditional fireplace design styles. Ornate stonework frames the fireplace and imparts an old world elegance to the Pacific Northwest home.


home architecture and fireplace design

Lakefront Splendor puts a contemporary twist on the age-old feature of home architecture. A ribbon fireplace stretches across the living room wall, framed by stunningly textured stone.


home architecture and fireplace design

A Touch of Normandy captures the essence of French-country style in the guest house living room. A herringbone brick fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves creates a delicate focal point for the living space.

Woodland Luxury in Bedroom Design

The master bedroom is a place of rest and retreat, a private enclave from which to begin and end your day. It’s a space uniquely suited to your needs and well-being and reflective of your style. Great bedroom design is an opportunity to craft a space completely tailored to you, and Bellevue’s Wood, Stone, and Water home masters this endeavor.

Nested Rooms

Architect Curtis Gelotte designed the home as a set of nesting rooms. The entryway and main living spaces dominate the residence, providing an open, light-filled space in which to cook, eat, and gather. Posts and beams mimic trees in a forest and soaring windows create the illusion that home is one with the natural landscaping outside.

master bedroom design

The master bedroom carries these same elements, but on a cozier scale. While enclosed and private, it provides a view to the rest of the home’s tree-like tresses, creating the air of a luxury treehouse protected from the world. A stone fireplace and sitting area look down on the city below.

master bedroom design

The bed itself is the final room in the nested set. It rests beneath its own trellis structure, creating a sense of natural refuge and warmth. The structure scales down the size of the suite and balances the spaciousness of the room with a sense of snug comfort.

Set apart in its own corner of the house, Wood, Stone, and Water’s master bedroom design captures a sense of woodland luxury. Its warmth, scale, and attention to detail make it a perfect haven for its occupants. It’s a design that evolved out of conversation with our clients and crafted to reflect them.

What does your ideal master suite look like? We’d love to hear your vision!