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Cafés, Bars, Third Places, Retail Environments

Restaurants & Retail

Helping small businesses execute a vision for their brick-and-mortar locations delights us.

We all enjoy gathering around a table with friends and family to share great food and drinks. And who doesn’t love exploring a new shop that not only sells but delights? Even if your online sales are booming, and the line for take-out wraps around the corner, your physical location can be integral to the success of your business, no matter if you’re serving up drinks, treats, gifts, or goods.

Unique and special commercial environments enable your business to stand out from the competition and help spin that sought-after magic that makes spaces organically market themselves. Creating the magnetism that draws people in, and keeps them coming back, is the secret to leveling up from a “new hot spot” to a “storied local establishment.”

We’re adept problem-solvers; helping you reinforce your brand with an aesthetic and space that authentically reflects your ethos is one of our favorite challenges. We’ll collaborate with you to determine how your space can best support your message, your team, and the product or service you sell.

When you have a great space that keeps people keep coming back, that buzz (and those sales) will practically generate themselves.

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

Ada’s Technical Books & Café | Photo by Cindy Apple.

Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada’s Technical Books & Café | Photo by Cindy Apple.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill – Space man installation in orange. – Retail Café Design
Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Atulea Tea Shop – Board & Vellum – Commercial Interior Design
Lush Life

Cool green leaves balance just a peek of pink in the bold wallpaper, adding a lush, tropical vibe to the room. Atulea Tea Shop | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Lush Life

Cool green leaves balance just a peek of pink in the bold wallpaper, adding a lush, tropical vibe to the room. Atulea Tea Shop | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

A bookstore coffee shop on Capitol Hill. – Interior design and retail interiors by Board & Vellum
A Quiet Corner

Tucked behind the bookshelves, the book nook offers a quiet spot to settle in away from the bustle of the rest of the café. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

A Quiet Corner

Tucked behind the bookshelves, the book nook offers a quiet spot to settle in away from the bustle of the rest of the café. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

The point of sale counter at Armistice Coffee & Cocktails, a coffeeshop in the Lucille on Roosevelt.
A Drink of Your Choice

With coffee, beer, wine, and cocktails, there is something for everyone, but the efficient bar leaves room for everyone to hang out and stay a while. Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

A Drink of Your Choice

With coffee, beer, wine, and cocktails, there is something for everyone, but the efficient bar leaves room for everyone to hang out and stay a while. Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Creating a memorable space inspires organic promotion of your business.

When your restaurant or retail shop attracts attention from afar, and the locals love you, you know you’ve landed on something special. Your brick-and-mortar location is about so much more than serving food & drink or selling products. It’s about creating a memorable space that not only brings customers back for more, but that they are eager to share with their friends. It’s about creating beautiful and engaging environments inspiring loyalty and encouraging organic promotion.

Your regulars are creatures of habit whose fealty to your establishment is hard-earned and worth it. They’ll keep the place busy even in off-hours if the environment not only meets their needs, but provides them a sense of personal pride in their choice to adopt it as their favorite. It’s your business, but the space needs to speak to them.

We specialize in creating spaces like these, with just the right touches to immerse and inspire your clientele. We understand how impactful a physical location can be — not only for the business itself but for the community and neighborhood around it.

Gathering around a fire pit at a coffeeshop at the Lucille on Roosevelt: Armistice Coffee & Cocktails. – Retail design by Board & Vellum
Fire Pit on the Patio

On the raised patio, open to the sidewalk but sheltered within the shell of the building, a gas fire pit proves irresistible. Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Fire Pit on the Patio

On the raised patio, open to the sidewalk but sheltered within the shell of the building, a gas fire pit proves irresistible. Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Dynasty Room – Interior Design by Board & Vellum
Dynasty Room

Dynasty Room | Photo by Austin Day.

Dynasty Room

Dynasty Room | Photo by Austin Day.

Tap into our experienced multidisciplinary team.

Architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture, all in one spot.

We know that you know your business is unique. That’s why a one-size-fits-all approach has never been our style. We’ll meet you where you are in your process to guide you through the journey of seeing your vision come to life.

With our collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to designing commercial spaces, you get to tap into the collective knowledge of our team of architects, interior designers, and landscape architects. Inside to outside, top to bottom, front to back, you’ll know your retail space, restaurant, or café is thoroughly and holistically considered.

If you need a custom fabricator, a lighting designer, or a muralist, our network of trusted collaborators can join in to help create a space that makes your customers say, “wow,” and bring out their phones to snap a picture.

From welcoming sidewalks and storefronts to custom architectural features, to furniture, fixtures, built-ins, green walls, patio gardens, and so much more, you simply get more out of Board & Vellum.

Navigating the permitting and construction process.

Our skilled team can help you navigate not only the design process, but the whole process, from visioning, to design, documentation, permitting, and construction.

We traffic in details both fun and mundane. That means, not only can we help with creating beautiful, comforting, stimulating spaces, but we can work out all the details for how front versus back-of-house support each other, where the best place for the point-of-sale is, how many bathrooms you need, how to meet fire and building code, how your signage mounts to the building, and how you can take the trash out without violating health code.

You’ll need a construction permit (among others), you’ll need to comply with occupancy and egress code, you’ll need to pass inspections… all while making tons of decisions quickly to keep your project on schedule.

It’s a lot to have on your plate. But we’ve been through this before — we know the codes, we know how to navigate the permitting process to shepherd your project through efficiently, and we know how to handle the questions that come up during construction so your project stays on track.

Point of sale at a coffee shop. – Fuel Coffee on 19th, Commercial Retail Design by Board & Vellum
Contrasting Colors

White tile on the coffee counter in the same pattern as the wall behind adds visual interest without overwhelming the small space in too many patterns and textures. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Contrasting Colors

White tile on the coffee counter in the same pattern as the wall behind adds visual interest without overwhelming the small space in too many patterns and textures. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill – Sitting area above the tea bar prep area below. – Retail Café Design
Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

One entry to the lobby passageway at the Lucille on Roosevelt is flanked with a raised patio for café seating.
A Raised Patio for Sheltered Outdoor Seating

At one end of the interior passageway, a raised, open-air seating area extends from the interior café space. Lucille on Roosevelt | Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

A Raised Patio for Sheltered Outdoor Seating

At one end of the interior passageway, a raised, open-air seating area extends from the interior café space. Lucille on Roosevelt | Armistice Coffee & Cocktails | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

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

Ada’s Technical Books & Café | Photo by Cindy Apple.

Ada’s Technical Books & Café

Ada’s Technical Books & Café | Photo by Cindy Apple.

Laughing Buddha – Tattoo Parlor & Piercing Shop – Retail – Board & Vellum
Laughing Buddha Tattoo & Body Piercing

Laughing Buddha Tattoo & Body Piercing | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Laughing Buddha Tattoo & Body Piercing

Laughing Buddha Tattoo & Body Piercing | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill – Hanging menus. – Retail Café Design
Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Landscaped retail streetscape at Club Monaco – Board & Vellum
Downtown Retail Streetscape

Downtown Retail Streetscape for Club Monaco | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Downtown Retail Streetscape

Downtown Retail Streetscape for Club Monaco | Photo by Meghan Montgomery.

Dynasty Room – Interior Design by Board & Vellum
Dynasty Room

Dynasty Room | Photo by Austin Day.

Dynasty Room

Dynasty Room | Photo by Austin Day.

Lowercase Brewing Taproom – Large glass-paneled overhead doors let in lots of light.
Lowercase Brewing Taproom

Lowercase Brewing Taproom | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

Lowercase Brewing Taproom

Lowercase Brewing Taproom | Photo by John G Wilbanks.

A retail bookstore and coffee shop in one: Fuel on 19th – Retail Experience Design by Board & Vellum
Books While You Wait

A carefully selected collection of books for sale offer an entertaining and interactive backdrop while guests wait for their beverages. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Books While You Wait

A carefully selected collection of books for sale offer an entertaining and interactive backdrop while guests wait for their beverages. Fuel Coffee on 19th | Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

Footprint Wine Tap – Wine Bar Capitol Hill – Board & Vellum
Footprint Wine Tap

Footprint Wine Tap | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Footprint Wine Tap

Footprint Wine Tap | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Let’s bring your vision for your business to life.

We’re passionate about collaborating to create a space you love.

Taking the plunge into a physical location for your business can be overwhelming. You might have a lot of questions, or maybe you don’t even know what questions to ask! That’s why we’re here to take the guesswork out of the process. Even if you know where you’re headed, you don’t have to do it alone, so let’s work together to create the brick-and-mortar location you’re dreaming of.

We’ve collaborated with local small businesses on an exciting array of retail and restaurant experiences: bookstores, coffee shops, wine shops, taprooms for breweries, tea shops, tattoo & piercing parlors, and bars. Not to mention, the increasingly-common hybrid commercial experience that combines retail with food & drink sales under one roof.

Your business deserves custom care that addresses your specific needs for your physical space, enabling it to function as you need it to, while highlighting your brand identity, promoting word-of-mouth marketing, and drawing customers back for repeat (and repeat again) business.

When your commercial space is an authentic extension of your brand and values, you can feel confident about your position in your community and the marketplace. You know your business best, and we can help you transform your vision into the physical space that helps it shine.

Here are some highlights from our restaurants & retail portfolio.

No matter what type or size of project, we put our hearts into our work. It is our goal to collaborate with you to create a space you’ll love.

Ada’s Technical Books & Café – Retail Design – Board & Vellum
From Abandoned Home to Community Anchor

Ada’s Technical Books and Café

Ada’s Technical Books and Café is an adaptive reuse project converting a dilapidated single-story Craftsman home on Capitol Hill into a small, mixed-use retail space.

The point of sale counter at Armistice Coffee and Cocktails, located at the Lucille on Roosevelt.
TI Build-Out for a Modern Coffee Lounge

Armistice Coffee & Cocktail Bar

In the corner commercial space in the Lucille apartments, this hybrid coffeehouse/bar offers drinks and treats with the vibe of a European café.

A bookstore coffee shop on Capitol Hill. – Interior design and retail interiors by Board & Vellum.
A New Take on a Classic Capitol Hill Café

Fuel Coffee on 19th

Two Seattle brands come together in a reimagined space highlighting the best of both: lively, energetic Fuel Coffee and quirky, homey Ada’s Technical Books and Café.

Dynasty Room – Interior Design by Board & Vellum
Interior Design for a Bar with a Story

Dynasty Room

In the now-shuttered Four Seas restaurant in Seattle’s International District, the old and the new mingle in this experiential reincarnation of the Dynasty Room bar.

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill – Rocket Man installation by Electric Coffin. – Retail Café Design
Interior Design for a Bubble Tea Shop

Oasis Tea Zone Capitol Hill

The challenge of this café design was how to draw visitors into the deep space from the street, especially with the point-of-sale on a lower level.

Landscaped retail streetscape at Club Monaco – Board & Vellum
Softening a Concrete Façade with Greenery

Downtown Retail Streetscape for Club Monaco

A lush, planted streetscape sets this urban retail space apart, with mature plants offering height, and climbing vines drawing the eye up the façade.

Or, perhaps you would enjoy a couple of helpful blog posts.

Our blog isn’t written for other architects and designers. It’s designed to be a helpful, approachable resource for you.

Front entry and lobby of a commercial space, the Dynasty Room.

5 Things You Need to Know About Opening Your First Commercial Space

Before you go too far down the rabbit hole, here are five things to keep in mind as you open your first commercial space.

How long does a commercial project take? – Board & Vellum

How Long Does a Commercial Project Take?

The time to complete a commercial project varies a lot based on the scope and parameters of your project, but here is a basic timeline of the phases from project start to opening your doors.

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

Get in touch.