Studio Blog

textures add warmth and personality to minimalist home design

The Simple Charm of Minimalist House Design

May 16, 2022 | , , ,

Minimalist home design is an often-misunderstood design philosophy. It’s common to lump it in with modern design, and while the two do share similarities, they are distinct styles. There is also a popular misconception that minimalist design must be cold, uninviting, and unforgivingly practical. While simplicity and functionality are elements of a minimalist aesthetic, when well designed, these minimalist spaces can also be warm, calming and inviting.

Minimalist design first appeared in the mid 20th century, and in the 2020’s it is making a vibrant comeback. This may be due to the fact that with increasingly hectic lives, people yearn for simplicity in their home life. This leads to design that encourages ease and serenity. There are a few elements to minimalist design, and knowing a little about them will help us to understand this design philosophy better.

simplified color palette of minimalist home exterior

Minimalist Color Palettes

In modern minimalist home design, soft and neutral color palettes are typically used. This stands in stark contrast to the brightly colored accent walls and other colorful elements that were a mainstay of residential interior design in the 2000s. However, this doesn’t mean that the palette has to be cold.

The goal of minimalist design is to ease the mental burden on our attention by simplifying sensory stimulation. A good example of a simplified color palette is our Hillside House project on Bainbridge Island. This interior uses clean white with structural gray concrete walls to create visual simplicity, and warming wood accents. The large windows bring in a lot of natural light, which further warms the white, creating a calming and inviting space.

interior of minimalist home with calming use of simple line and bold shape

Minimalist Lines and Shapes

To help feature the simplicity and functionality of a minimalist interior design, shapes and lines are clean, bold and simple. This includes walls, surfaces and furniture. Shapes are often strongly geometric, providing structure to a space that might otherwise lack visual interest. While minimalist homes do without flamboyant, ornate details and patterns, the elegant composition of lines and forms creates visual appeal while maintaining the calming effect of minimalism.

Our Sonoma Valley Estate Guest House and Green Lake Residence make use of this aesthetic. Clean, bold lines are present in repeated rectangular windows and furniture. Window treatments are elegant and seem to disappear into the top of the windows. The furniture is elevated on rectilinear legs, creating more crisp lines and angles which complement the rectangular features. The cantilevered roof creates a spacious feel and draws lines through from the interior to the exterior of the home with the wood slat finish.The high ceilings and windows also allow the interior to feel open and calming.. The angular roof line adds variety and interest, both inside and out, without creating unnecessary visual clutter.

textures add warmth and personality to minimalist home design

Minimalist Textures

While minimalist homes may lack bold colors and patterns, they play with textures in a way that creates warmth and personality. This use of texture can come from both architectural features and design elements. Textured elements can be large or small, but using them sparingly helps maintain the harmonious and peaceful feel of minimalist design.

The Tumble Creek Cabin project uses a variety of textures both inside and out. Much of the textural appeal comes from structural elements which provide visual interest without feeling cluttered. This comes from the use of a variety of materials. Beautiful stonework on the exterior, expanses of wood both inside and out, and the exposed steel and wood beams supporting the ceiling all provide contrasting textures. The board-formed concrete chimney offers a subtle texture to soften this massive, grounding feature. The simple leather and wood furniture adds more character to the home without unnecessary clutter.

interior decor in a minimalist kitchen adds structure and tranquility

Minimalist House Decor

While the interior decor of minimalist home designs is spare, it can be done masterfully without disrupting lines and shapes. These decor elements support the open-plan design common to modern minimalist houses. They also retain and promote the bold lines of minimalist design, conferring structure and tranquility to the interior. While decor items may blend in with minimalist architectural elements, they may also contrast or accent them. Abstract wall art, soft textiles in neutral tones, and objects with curves and clean lines, can soften the look of minimalist architecture, creating an inviting space. Into this palette are interjected important momentos of the resident to be highlighted against the minimalist home to create an interior as unique as the people who live there.

Inside our Hansen Road House, you’ll find mostly bare walls with visual interest provided instead by the variety of materials used. Rugs in neutral colors with soft and textured piles soften and warm the rooms. Accent pieces with round shapes and curving lines contrast with the bold rectangular shapes that dominate the interior. Furniture stands on legs and pedestals, revealing beautiful floor space and promoting an airy, open feel.

While minimalist architecture and design can feel cold, hard and generic, when done by skilled architects and designers it creates a clean, graceful and refreshing environment for living. . . From major architectural elements, like open plan design and high, vaulted ceilings, to aesthetic details like materials, furnishings, and accents, a minimalist home can be uniquely yours and beautifully inviting. At Coates Design, we take pride in our work, and we’re confident that we can help you build your dream home while fulfilling our vision to benefit the environment, the economy, and the community. If you’re looking for beautiful design and high-quality construction, contact us for more information.

modern kitchen design with long rectangular island and open format leading to living room with large windows

Modern Kitchens: Of Form and Function

March 2, 2022 | , , ,

When we think of the modern kitchen, we picture the aesthetics: clean lines, bold angles, contemporary lighting, sleek finishes. While those elements contribute to the look of modern kitchen designs, there’s more to a modern-style kitchen than just its appearance. When we approach designing a modern kitchen, we focus not only on its form, but also on its function. Given how much and how often a kitchen is used, it must perform well and do so in a way that is tailored to the needs of the people who will spend time in it. A modern kitchen design that is the heart and hub of a home will differ greatly from that of a home with a small galley kitchen where takeout or quick meals are often on the menu. And these days, truly modern kitchens are also designed with an eye toward sustainability, which makes them both efficient and eco-friendly.

Modern kitchen in design-built house with simple geometric block shapes and open format entrance to modern living room

Modern Kitchen Layout

Some kitchens are blank slates, some are in a skeletal state and others already have basic elements in place.. No matter what state a kitchen is in, the layout is always central to a modern kitchen. Whereas kitchen design used to be predicated largely on pre-existing elements—plumbing here, electric there—we are now able to be more flexible (within reason). A truly modern kitchen layout is purpose-built, with zones determined according to use. When we think in terms of workstations and workflow, the surrounding features then fall into place. 

modern kitchen with three-sided fireplace, high contrast colors, and geometric block design

Don’t be afraid to get granular when thinking about your kitchen use: Consider not just how you cook, but also how you clean, put away groceries, what kind of items you store and any kitchen-related priorities you have. If you’re a baker, your modern kitchen ideas might include a baking station with a dedicated outlet for your mixer and a marble countertop to roll out your cookies and knead your dough. If your kitchen is the gathering place for your household, perhaps a large island with ample seating is what will serve you best. Maybe you’ve got a kitchen with a view and do a lot of your dining outdoors, in which case a design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor is a good fit. It’s possible you’d like to lean into tech and want a kitchen that incorporates cutting-edge smart home design elements. There’s no one way to map out a modern kitchen—indeed the best modern kitchen design is the one that works for you.

Sustainability and Modern Kitchen Designs

There’s nothing more modern than a kitchen that incorporates sustainability into the design of your new or renovated home. Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen uses the most significant amount of energy—while also generating an equivalent amount of waste. Just because that’s the nature of the kitchen does not mean it has to be that way. With a little intentionality and some expert help, your kitchen can be as eco-friendly as you are. 

A truly contemporary kitchen features appliances that are not only sleek and sport the latest features, but they are also Energy Star certified. This saves you money and helps to save the planet at the same time. Countertops and flooring often come with an unseen cost to the environment due to mining and quarrying, however, options made from sustainable or recycled materials exist and are becoming more accessible as the demand for them grows. 

stove and counter in modern kitchen design with square motif

One of the most effective ways to design a modern kitchen that is both eco-friendly and acts as a showpiece for your home is simply to invest in durable materials that have long lives. Floors that are made from solid hardwood will last generations, becoming more beautiful with time and use. Stone flooring made from rocks quarried nearby incorporates a hyperlocal element into your modern kitchen design and can even absorb heat from the sun, bringing natural warmth to your kitchen during the winter months. Wood cabinetry made from sustainably managed, reclaimed or salvaged hardwoods is another way to marry beauty with an environmentally friendly design ethos.

Lastly, lighting is a simple and straightforward way to practice sustainable modern kitchen design. Whereas LED lighting used to be limited in size and style, and the light it cast was too cool for a room defined by its warmth and communal nature, that is no longer the case.. These days, the variety of LED lighting is vast.  Therefore, from your most gorgeous fixtures to recessed lighting, task lighting and everything in between, your lighting scheme can be appealing, eco-friendly, and long-lasting. Proper lighting is a crucial part of any modern kitchen design, and for every area that needs light treatment, there’s a sustainable option for it.

From layout to function to sustainability, creating a modern-style kitchen is an exercise in intentional design. At Coates Design, our customized, client-focused process can help bring your modern kitchen ideas to life!


February 15, 2022 |

Coates Design Architects is seeking a project architect, designer / architectural associate, and interior designer to join a collaborative, award-winning firm located on Bainbridge Island. We are looking for enthusiastic self-starters, with an eye for modern design and a willingness to learn. Our current projects include healthcare facilities, education projects, government facilities and custom residential homes.


Coates Design Architects is seeking a project architect with 5-7 years of experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master or Bachelor of Architecture professional degree from an NAAB accredited university; licensed architect preferred.
  • 5-7 years of experience in an architecture firm.
  • Proficiency in Revit, SketchUp, and AutoCAD and able to prepare complete plan sets on complex projects.
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, InDesign, etc).
  • Familiarity with Enscape, Lumion and other rendering and VR platforms.
  • Experience with MS Office and related programs.
  • 5 or more years of experience producing construction documents and building permit submittals

Desired Qualifications:

  • Licensed Architect in the state of Washington.
  • LEED BD+C Accredited Professional.
  • Design experience in high-end custom residential and commercial construction.
  • Experience with high-performance building envelopes.



Coates Design Architects is seeking a designer / architectural associate with 1-5 years of experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in architecture or architectural design; Master or Bachelor of Architecture professional degree from an NAAB accredited university preferred.
  • 1-5 years of experience in an architecture firm.
  • Proficiency in Revit, SketchUp, and AutoCAD; more than 1 year of training/experience preferred.
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, InDesign, etc).
  • Familiarity with Enscape, Lumion and other rendering and VR platforms.
  • Experience with MS Office and related programs.
  • 1 or more years of experience producing construction documents and building permit submittals

Desired Qualifications:

  • Enrolled in the NCARB IDP program and actively working towards/taking ARE exams towards licensure.
  • LEED BD+C Accredited Professional
  • Design experience in high-end custom residential and commercial construction



Coates Design Architects is seeking an interior design associate with 1-5 years of experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a CIDA-accredited interior design program, or architectural professional degree from an NAAB accredited university preferred.
  • 1-5 years of experience in a design or architecture firm.
  • Proficiency in SketchUp, Revit, and AutoCAD; more than 2 years of training/experience preferred.
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, InDesign, etc).
  • Familiarity with Enscape, Lumion and other rendering and VR platforms.
  • Experience with MS Office and related programs.
  • The ability to independently produce interior design deliverables including: interior elevations, furniture and finish floor plans, design intent renderings and related schedules.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Qualified or in-progress to take the NCIDQ Examination for Professional Certification.
  • LEED BD+C Accredited Professional.
  • Design experience in high-end custom residential and commercial construction.

TO APPLY: Email resume and portfolio to

2021 Home Design Trends by Ryan Castillo at Redfin

January 19, 2022 | , , ,

With the whirlwind year that was 2021, many changes have been made in the ways we live our lives. And one place that we’ve seen those changes happen is within the home. From turning spare bedrooms into multipurpose rooms to bringing in natural elements like plants into our spaces, 2021 has brought many unique design trends that are sure to stick – and some that may go away within the next couple of years.

As we look back on 2021, we reached out to experts from Kensington, MD to Kelowna, BC, to give us 21 design trends and help us reflect on the best and worst design trends from last year. So sit back and enjoy 2021 home design trends wrapped.

A modern house, Design Trends, Architecture, Black and White Home

1. Defined living spaces were key

Covid has made our clients take a deeper look into how they live and use spaces in 2021, leading to investments in areas normally overlooked like laundry rooms, offices, and playrooms. Open floor plans are being replaced by defined living spaces that have a purpose, especially introverts who need their space. – Sarah Randolph, Principal Designer, Randolph Interior Design

2. Lighting sources became more intentional

When planning lighting for entertaining in your home, remember that the most flattering light comes from around, not above you. It’s important to place lamps around the room, rather than depend on can lights in the ceiling, as they can throw harsh shadows. And be sure to use low-wattage bulbs in your lamps for a soft ambiance. – Jan Kyle Design

We all know lighting is a necessity in any room of our house, but rather than choosing fixtures based on their function alone, use it as an opportunity to show who you are or to allow lighting to speak your story. Fixtures can be elegant, delicate, sleek, or mind-boggling sources of light with character and visual interest. Let your personality and your style shine with well-curated lighting. – Christopher Michiels Interiors 

3. Engineered wood floors have come a long way

In 2021 it has been easy to fall into the trap of “wood look” flooring with unnatural shades and finishes (tile planks and LVP mostly). We always encourage clients to take another look and consider engineered wood flooring. It’s the same price in many cases, looks timeless, and has come a long way in terms of durability. – Het Hout Interiors

4. Bold colors and unique patterns took center stage

Neutrals always have a place in our hearts and are a total classic. However, we are also seeing more and more requests for bold colors or patterns. People want uniquely curated homes. – Laura Fox

5. Patchwork has emerged

A trend that we saw was patchwork. From the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute’s exhibit, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, to Insta star Amanda Cutter Brook’s shop in The Cotswolds, to the David Lauren presenting a collection of clothing inspired by the artisans of the Gee’s Bend Collective in Alabama – homespun patchwork is an old-timey style equivalent of “comfort food” in trying times. – Cielo Home

Design Trends, Interior Design, Dining room with warm wood, gray, blue and elegant

6. Multi-use spaces defined 2021

Remote working is due to continue, therefore the need for more permanent work from home spaces. Ideal for those without a lot of space, the trend is all about blurring the boundaries between areas. This can be achieved by using separating doors, or by using multi-purpose furniture and accessories. – Alice Molloy Interiors

Making the most out of every space is key these days. Turn that extra room into a multi-use space with transformational furniture and hidden pocket doors and creative storage space – office, guest bedroom, yoga studio, and media room all in one. – Coates Design

7. 2021 was all about biophilia

One word – green! I noticed that clients were asking for and incorporating lots more house plants into their spaces. Plants help alleviate stress and anxiety and purify the air. Who wouldn’t benefit from less stress? Especially with the year we just had. The color green is also trending in color forecasting. Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have selected a shade of sage green as their color of the year for 2022. – Primrose Interior Design

8. Care for the environment played a role in home design

A major design trend we saw in 2021 focused on reducing waste and saving the planet. Spending more time in our homes than ever before had people reworking and redesigning their environments. Supply chain issues due to the pandemic made it difficult to purchase new items. As a result, many people chose to reuse, recycle and repurpose their existing furniture, or purchase pre-owned furniture locally to redecorate. Recycling, repurposing, and restoring older pieces and giving them a new updated look and life is sustainable, eco-friendly, and a wonderful trend that will most likely continue. – Melissa Mack, Om In The Home

9. Moody tones set the scene in home offices

Using moody tones in home offices was something we saw a lot of in 2021. Everyone wanted a space that felt different from their “home”, so there could be a mindset and energy shift when they walked into the space to be their best professional self. It was fun to partner with clients on this journey because it allowed them to feel empowered during this time of uncertainty. – Sara Lynn Brennan, CEO/Principal Designer at Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors 

10. Custom rooms have become more common

‘Home Sweet Home’ has taken on a whole new meaning in 2021 with the world grinding to a halt and shifting our priorities inward. We have become focused on the importance of creating a lifestyle sanctuary at home where everything we need is at our finger tips without ever having to leave the safety our house. Sumptuous spas, personalized bowling alleys, movie theatres and tricked out kitchens and bars belong to the Lori Morris curated design experience as we continue to create the perfect, individual refuge for each of our clients, brimming with beautifully appointed spaces, luxurious comforts and personalized amenities. – Lori Morris 

design trends, interior design, living room in white and warm tones

11. Nature and natural elements inspired

Our 2021 interiors were inspired by nature and familiarity in all of its forms: from warm tones and tactile surfaces, to soft shapes, plants, and even familiar cooking and retro cocktails. Combining familiar pieces that have special meaning, with innovative new ones to arouse inspiration brings authenticity to a space, with a timely twist. Using natural materials such as quartzite and eco brass, give a depth of dimension to an interior palette. Surfaces that develop their own patina create a narrative that is unique to each space. – Concept DCF

12. LED lights continue to be popular

With the rising popularity of industrial/vintage style over the past few years, the Edison light bulb with its visible filaments and warm amber glow, took up residence in everything from caged pendants to exposed bulb table lamps. While we will continue to see the traditional amber bulb, LEDs, with their range of white light colors, will be the more popular filament visible bulb choice and will be seen in fixtures beyond that of industrial/vintage styles. – Niki VanEch, VanEch Studio

13. Accent pieces and glassware added unique details

Transparent details have been capturing the attention of anyone who enters a room this past year. Accents such as glass pendant lighting to acrylic furniture pieces add beautiful light reflecting flare to any space. Continuing to grow in popularity – They’re here to stay. – Holly Volpe of HV Design Group

14. There was a focus on organic forms and curves

The popular trend for this past year has been going with organic, round forms where the curves are stellar for every season. This design style can be found in tables, sofas, pillows, and in art/accessories-making this trend organic and bold. – Wilfredo Emanuel Designs 

15. Layering materials brought sophistication

Layering materials, whether with wallpaper, lighting or art will add comfort and sophistication. Combining contemporary ideas with classic designs will add depth and interest to your home. – Cigal Kaplan Interiors

design trends, interior design, living room in warm woods, white and warm tones

16. Millwork added architectural detail

A popular design trend we have been loving is millwork. As designers, we always think of ways to enhance the interior architecture of a space. Millwork has been around for decades to really bring character into the home. Whether that be a floor-to-ceiling slat wood panel or a statement ceiling in a dining room, these wood details add a layer of richness to the interior that sets their space apart from the homes around them. – Kim Layne Interiors

17. Marble continues to be in, but too much can ruin a room

Marble is an exquisite surface when handled with restraint. I hope the maximalist and tacky trend to sheath entire rooms in it goes away soon. Less is more. – Shapiro Joyal Studio

18. There was a greater emphasis on coziness

As the Dutch say, “gezelligtijd kent geen tijd,” which roughly translates into, “you can never get enough coziness.” 2021 was all about creating the snuggle – warm, tranquil, and cocooning were big buzzwords, and designers delivered with soft, rich fabrics, plush upholstery, warm woods, and colors that ranged from calming neutrals to cheery citrus to contemplatively dark jewels. – White Webb

19. Opulent spaces have emerged

With the craziness of 2021, individuals are still working from home and we have found people are craving more of a transitional and traditional interior. High-end contemporary design will always be significant; however, clients are beginning to crave homier, more opulent space(s) instead of a stark environment. – Paxton Place Design 

20. Sentimental pieces added a unique touch

Think about incorporating at least one piece of furniture or accessory that has some history or family sentiment. If not, find one and identify with it. – Rise Krag

21. Pops of color will never go out of style

Let’s talk about design trends that can go away for 2021 as we drift into 2022 – Beige, I’d rather never see it again. While it can be a practical color, I’d stick with a greige color before going straight beige. On that note, I’m never sick of gray as a neutral, there are so many great ones out there like Agreeable Gray. Pops of color as well should never go out of style. In my work as a Feng shui Designer, we are always using color. – Rumble Interiors

2021 Home Design Trends Wrapped

Join Our Team!

Join Our Team! Now Hiring Project Architects, Designers, and Interior Designers

August 11, 2021 |

Coates Design is seeking to hire Project Architects and Designers. To apply, please email with a cover letter, resume, and portfolio. Read more ›

3D rendering of reHOME Morales Farm project

reHOME: History of the Morales Farm – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 14, 2021 | ,

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Coates Design would like to highlight some of the history of the Morales Farm, where we are currently designing three houses for farm interns as part of reHOME’s first project. It is our goal to build these houses out of 100% recycled and reclaimed materials for a third of today’s construction prices. Read more ›

Books laying on homemade bridge

Coates Design 2020 Bridge Competition

November 18, 2020 | ,

Coates Design: Architecture + Interiors, and… bridges? Read more ›

Remodeled fire station in Burbank with modern brick exterior

Yelm Fire Station Watercolors

August 5, 2020 |

Coates Design was hired by the Southeast Thurston Fire Authority to design a remodel for several facilities. Read more ›

Architecture - a timeless art

Architecture: A Timeless Art

June 22, 2020 | ,

An invention is typically coincident with its given name… Read more ›

Coates Design Zoom meeting

Staying Connected Through Zoom

June 15, 2020 | ,

Coates Design is fortunate enough to function at full capacity during quarantine, but that doesn’t mean it has come without some bumps in the road. Read more ›

Construction in progress on Utah home

In Construction: Update on the Utah Residence

May 12, 2020 | , ,

Take a sneak peek at our Utah Residence project under construction… Read more ›

The Chicago Bean

The “Instagram-ization” of Architecture

April 16, 2020 |

“Look at me!” says the tourist, posing in a famous niche of an architectural marvel. “Look at this!” has become secondary.  Read more ›

Exterior architecture- pacific pipeline protest sculpture by seattle area architect

PORTALS: A Physical Protest of the Pacific Connector Pipeline by FLOAT architecture research and design

April 2, 2020 |

Coates Design’s very own Zach Bradby took part in the fabrication and installation of the PORTALS project by FLOAT architecture research and design.  Read more ›

Roman church

Learning About Architecture In Italy: My Study Abroad Experience In Rome

March 16, 2020 | , ,

“I draw so I can see”, the famous Italian architect Carlo Scarpa once wrote in his journal. Read more ›

Happy birthday, Party Time with Coates Design Architecture + interiors

Coates Design Presidents Party Recap

March 3, 2020 | ,

Coates Design’s first event of the year was a hit! Read more ›

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