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From Abandoned Home to Community Anchor

Ada’s Technical Books and Café

An award-winning conversion of a rundown old house into a small retail shop with a café.

Ada Lovelace was a 19th Century writer, mathematician, pioneer, and the initial inspiration for Ada’s Technical Books and Café. The impetus for the project was to create the “book retailer of the future.” Achieving this vision required adaptive reuse, an addition, and a pioneering approach to the neighborhood bookstore.

Respecting the existing home and the character of the neighborhood, the clients wanted to retain as much of the old home as possible, while still providing a great retail environment with an integrated, comfortable, and inviting café space.

The challenge of converting a dilapidated single-story Craftsman home into a refurbished, small-scale mixed-use project delighted us.

Through careful design and planning, we were able to utilize over 60% of the original structure, and salvaged all of the existing framing lumber for key fixtures within the space.

Our clients were dedicated to creating a balance of the historic and modern, and are advocates for sustainable and forward thinking. We imagined the exterior of the building as an old book cover — familiar and comfortable — while on the inside, the pages are crisp, clean, and bright.

Contrasting reused building materials with high-gloss interior finishes ties the building to its mission of a brick-and-mortar store selling books on technology.

Client Review:
“Board & Vellum designed my retail store and did an absolutely amazing job! They were pleasant to work with, super creative, and affordable. I'm already working with them on my next project.”
View this review on Houzz.

B&V Project Team:
Jeff Pelletier, AIA, CPHCPrincipal
Ryan AdanalianDesign Team
Matthew Hagen, AIADesign Team
Jesslyn HowardDesign Team

This project was built by Model Remodel.
Photos by John G Wilbanks Photography.

Rusted steel signage. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Laser cut steel signage. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Peek to the back café. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Sunny back patio. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Central aisle of the bookshop. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Bookshop and coffeeshop café. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Handmade mobile of book pages. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

LED details in room dividers. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Shadow box café tables in coffeeshop. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Items for sale in a café. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Café with mobile above. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Sculpture made of salvaged building materials. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Custom bookshelves. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Bookstore nook. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Partition made of salvaged doors. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Café register. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Bookstore bookshelves. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada's Technical Books & Café central aisle. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Salvaged doors as room divider. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

View to back reading room. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Shadow box café tables. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Coffee shop menus. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Shadow boxes as café tables. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Salvaged Wood Display Shelves – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Salvaged Wood Display Shelves at Entry – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Point of Sale – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Coffee Shop POS – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Decorative Art Mobile – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Tile Inlay at Entry – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Exterior Façade at Street – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

View from street at dusk. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Outdoor café seating. – Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
Ada’s Technical Books & Café

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Services

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Portfolio

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