Craftsman Bookstore & Cafe

Architect Jeff Pelletier re-imagined a dilapidated single-story Craftsman home as a large combined bookstore/cafe with a strong focus on sustainability and creative design.

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Photo By: John Wilbanks Photography

Craftsman-Turned-Cafe With Authentic Character

Ada's Technical Books & Cafe occuppies a remodeled home in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. The impetus for the project was to create the "book retailer of the future." Achieving this vision required an adaptive reuse design, an addition and a pioneering approach to the neighborhood bookstore. The challenge would be to convert a dilapidated single-story Craftsman into a refurbished mixed-use project. The owners were dedicated to creating a balance of history and modern sustainability, so architect Jeff Pelletier imagined the building like an aged book cover with crisp, clean pages on the inside. In order to connect the space with the street-scape, Pelletier added a raised front porch for cafe seating.

Barista Bar Features Salvaged Wood

All existing framing lumber was salvaged and used to accent the bookshelves, product display shelves, cafe bar, point of sale, bakery case and overhead storage. The warm wood pops against the cafe's crisp white walls.

Cafe Entry With Reclaimed Wood Barista Bar

The first decision was to choose to remodel the existing structure rather than tear it down. It was important to preserve the character and focus on the sustainable opportunities and inherent embodied energy. As much lumber as possible was salvaged and used throughout the space, such as here at the barista bar.

Cafe & Bookstore in One

The bookstore and cafe are divided by a wide front-to-back hallway, keeping the spaces distinct but cohesive. The high ceiling, skylights and playful mobile draw your eyes around the space. The clean white backdrop complements the salvaged elements in the design.

Lighted Partition Wall Separates Bookstore From Cafe

A lighted partition wall and wide hallway separate the bookstore section from the cafe section. The low-energy LED lights in the wall play beautifully off the aged lumber used throughout the space.

Salvaged Doors Create Separation Wall in Creative Cafe

To divide the bookstore and cafe spaces, salvaged doors form a partition which wraps an acrylic sheet core that's lit from within. Just like the exterior, this wall has the new wrapped by the old. The LED lights add a playful splash of color and movement to the space.

Bright Cafe Dining Area Boasts Fun, Colorful LED Lights

A high ceiling and skylights flood this cafe's dining area with natural light. Sustainable LED lights fade between colors, which adds a continual sense of movement to the space.

Custom Mobile Dangles Above Cafe Dining Area

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves add texture and interest to the contemporary cafe. A high ceiling with skylights floods the space with natural light, illuminating the custom mobile that floats above the dining area.

Custom Tables and Paper Mobile Give Cafe Personality

The custom mobile dangling above the cafe eating area was created using vintage technical manuals and architectural drawings. The cafe tables utilize the shorter lengths of scrap timber to showcase scientific objects arranged under glass.

Stylish Bookstore With Reclaimed Wood Bookshelves

Whatever could be salvaged and reused was incorporated into the new design. The use of reclaimed wood throughout creates an inviting space for browsing, reading, exploring and dining. Overall, there was a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the project, with low greenhouse gas emissions related to construction and transportation of materials.

Bookstore Boasts Vintage Wood Mantel

Architect Jeff Pelletier was able to utilize more than 60 percent of the original structure for building reuse, including the wood mantel, which adds warmth and character to the overall space. The design takes advantage of the high ceilings with shelves that climb the wall, providing extra storage for back-stock books.

Ada’s Technical Books & Café

David and Danielle Hulton opened a bookstore named for Ada Lovelace, a pioneering woman in the fields of math and science. They wanted to relocate and knew that having a unique approach to the project was going to be key to the bookstore’s success. Retail can be a tough nut to crack, and to build a sustaining community of customers would be important.