Book lovers and techies unite! Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe has swung open its doors, and the space couldn’t be more welcoming.
It is warm with salvaged wood, colorful books and a fireplace. The café serves hearty, seasonal foods, along with beer, wine and of course coffee. Perhaps the biggest standout, though, are the interesting tables. The compass table, in particular, is a Model Remodel staff favorite.
Architects BOARD and VELLUM are responsible for the welcoming design of Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe. Jeff Pelletier worked hard to design a store that respected the original space, the neighborhood, the owners’ vision, and the interests of customers.
On top of that, the bookstore needed to be accessible. “Ada’s is the quintessential ‘third place’ that every neighborhood needs,” Pelletier says. “It [feels] comfortable inside and out and [helps] provide a diverse retail mix for the street.”
The Model Remodel crew built Ada’s out of a 1920s craftsman residential house, which Horizon Books turned into a bookstore in the early 1970s. The used bookstore closed in 2009. In a story by the Stranger, one Seattleite in the comments section remarked that he couldn’t think of a better replacement for Horizon Books than Ada’s. In between Horizon and Ada’s, you might have seen the house with a colorful shell of yarn bombings.
The Model Remodel crew transformed the house into the bookstore you see today by removing the interior walls and ceiling of the house and opening the space up. Site supervisor Matt Everett says it dramatically changed the space from one that felt like an ordinary room to one that was far more airy and monumental. In addition, the crew expanded the space with a 2,500-square-foot addition in the back.
In the process of opening up the space, Model Remodel salvaged the lumber from the original design of the house. The crew used it for the point-of-sales shelving, book-shelving units, and cabinetry. Los Angeles-based artist Nicholas Hernandez used some of the remaining salvaged wood for a hanging sculpture of the space needle. The crew also salvaged the old paneled doors from the original space, which turned into a creative demarcation between the books and the café.
The store officially announced its presence in Capitol Hill on Nov. 2, when the hospitable owners Danielle and David Hulton welcomed a crowd of people for the grand opening. The couple provided snacks from the café, raffled off door prizes from local businesses, and granted sales on books.
The new store has received glowing press in the Capitol Hill blog, the Stranger, and the Daily Journal of Commerce. All involved are especially proud of the opening line from the Stranger, “This could very well be the new most beautiful bookstore in Seattle.”
Customers can buy books from Ada’s ranging in topic from “Einstein: His Life and Universe” to “The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Craft.” The store is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For professional photos of Ada’s Technical Books and Café, keep your eyes glued to Model Remodel’s portfolio page.
Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography