Seattle: An Architect’s Perspective

Custom home by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture
Our architects provide custom home design services for the Seattle region.

Welcome to Seattle

Seattle, also known as “The Emerald City,” is the center of a sprawling metropolis situated between the waters of the Puget Sound and the snowcapped mountains of the Cascade Range. Offering something for everyone, Seattle has a dynamic range of offerings and attractions. What began 150 years ago as a logging and coal mining camp has grown into a prominent West Coast city beloved by many. Seattle’s reputation is well earned, and we are honored to serve as Seattle architects.

Seattle Highlights

  • Top tier school system: The Seattle School District consistently ranks as one of the best of any major city in the country. More than 47,000 students attend the district’s 113 schools which span a significant geographical and cultural area.
  • A bustling hub: Seattle’s population was estimated to be 724,000 in 2019, making Seattle not only the largest city in the state of Washington, but in the entire Pacific Northwest. With major global companies like Boeing, Nordstrom, Amazon, and Microsoft calling Seattle home, the city is a major international hub for commerce and employment. The entire metropolitan area, stretching from Everett in the north end to Tacoma and Olympia to the south, is home to roughly four million inhabitants.
  • Voted “Best Place to Live”:  Seattle is nationally ranked as one of the best places to live in the country. It’s no wonder that the metropolitan area has added over 250,000 permanent residents since 2005.
  • Ample recreation: Seattle is home to a seemingly limitless number of waterfront scenes, beaches, walking paths, and public parks. One of the best features of the city is its dedication to public bike paths and maintaining beautiful, accessible public spaces for all to enjoy.

Life in Downtown Seattle

Interior of custom Seattle home designed by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl
As architects, we draw inspiration from the natural beauty that dominates the Seattle community.

Marked by the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, the Colombia Tower, Seattle’s already massive downtown has added many impressive new high rises in the last five years. Seattle residents have convenient access to a lively commerce district and one of the country’s most adored restaurant and bar cultures. Seattleites are never more than a few steps away from truly spectacular cuisine and nightlife.

Another important element of the city, and core piece of its cultural heritage, is the diverse displays of art and music. Venues such as the Seattle Art Museum host beautiful pieces while others, like Benaroya Hall, set the stage for the Seattle Symphony. From almost anywhere in the city you can catch a glimpse of the famous waterfront, where millions of tourists come each year to visit the Seattle Aquarium, dine on fresh seafood, shop for local produce at the legendary Pike Place Market, and tap into urban northwest beauty.

Surrounding Area

Seattle is nestled between the scenic shores of Lake Washington and the Puget Sound. Just across the lake are other adored communities, such as Bellevue and Redmond. One of the world’s busiest ferry systems transports passengers across the Puget Sound and gives locals access to the Olympic peninsula.  Breathtaking views of Mount Rainier are the norm and outdoor destination seeking is a common part of the Seattle resident experience.


Interior design by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl architects
Bold colors and natural light fill this custom Seattle home.

Many Seattle architects recommend building your custom home in Seattle. The surrounding neighborhoods are all exceptional places to live, each with their own unique flair and offerings. Ballard claims the northwest quadrant of the city and is such a large community that it has attempted to establish its own city charter on numerous occasions.

Capitol Hill is the cultural and geographical center of the city. Here bars, restaurants, colleges, clubs, and local shops keep the city’s youngest demographic engaged and entertained.

Volunteer Park sits at the edge of one of the oldest and most desirable neighborhoods in the city and boasts panoramic views from Downtown to Lake Union.

Magnolia, another wonderful neighborhood, rests on the bluff in between Downtown and Ballard and maintains the highest property values and most historically rooted community in the area. Each neighborhood presents opportunities to work with a Seattle custom home designer to create your perfect home.

Seattle Architects Provide Home Design Suited to Your Tastes

Seattle architecture is just as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. The first Seattle architects relied heavily on streamlined, mid-century modern aesthetics and found inspiration by referencing popular builder spec houses of the time

As Seattle grew and developed into a hub for technology and innovation, home designers felt the freedom to evolve with the shifting demand. Now the downtown area is marked by shimmering towers and residential architects in the surrounding neighborhoods lean into contemporary modern design aesthetics, tasteful and chic.

Custom home designers are always in high demand from residents seeking to establish their presence in these desirable neighborhoods. Seattle’s luxury architects have made their mark with spectacular homes ranging in style from neo-futurist waterfront mansions to Spanish villas to nature-inspired log-cabin style homes.

Featured Project: Ratio House

Custom living room by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl architects
Sharp lines and eye-catching art blend seamlessly in this custom Seattle home.

At Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture, one of our favorite Seattle custom projects is Ratio House. The Ratio House remodel demonstrates a tired and dated home can be reinvigorated to become something remarkable. The remodel completely reimagined the existing kitchen, laundry, and mudroom spaces, adding functionality and well-crafted detail to these spaces.

Architecture by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl
High ceilings and contrasting textures set this Seattle home apart.

Additional space and improved access to stunning views is provided by raising the old, low-slung roof lines to make way for a brand-new master suite and expanded entry. The new master suite is connected to a new covered outdoor entertaining area with a private deck. A custom water feature provides a calming Zen experience as guests arrive at the expanded entry and front door. The extensive use of natural stone in many textures, steel, and richly stained woods creates a warm inviting and simultaneously dynamic interior, highlighted by the owners’ collection of art.

Washroom architecture by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl
We design living spaces to suit the unique personality of the homeowner.

Seattle Architects for Your Home

As local Seattle architects, we constantly pursue the art of architecture as the calling for our work. The constantly evolving community of Seattle provides us with an endless opportunity to answer this calling in original and dynamic ways.

We delight in the process of merging the preferences and imaginations of our clients with the distinct character of the Seattle location that they select to build their dream home. Every project presents a new opportunity to consider more deeply how we merge form with function, and to paint a portrait in architecture of our clients’ unique lifestyles.  Serving that purpose is our life’s work and greatest honor.

To learn more about designing your custom home, contact us.