Three years ago Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe moved to 15th Ave E. One year after that it added The Office, a space for coworking. In a few weeks, owners Danielle and David Hulton will open their newest addition to the busy commercial village — The Lab at Ada’s, an events, party, meeting and learning space.
“If we get the idea to do something, it’s hard not to do it,” Danielle said.
Danielle said they plan to put on workshops and learning events and make the space available for rent to private groups. The space also gives Ada’s the option to have two events at the same time — one in The Lab and one in the cafe. The Hultons have been working on possible events and have a launch series planned for January.
Ada’s arrived on 15th Ave E in fall 2013 after the Hultons made a big leap and bought the dilapidated old home of Horizon Books to refurbish, enhance and overhaul into a new chapter for their technical book shop. Danielle told CHS when they first moved into the 1922-house, they decided to rip out the garden space to add a new wing. In the fall of 2014, they opened The Office in the upstairs of the addition. Board and Vellum designed both the coworking space and the bookstore, creating clean, bright, open designs. The shop and cafe drew inspiration from Ada Lovelace, while The Office channeled British computing pioneer Alan Turing for its spirit.
As for the downstairs, the Hultons had considered renting it out to a nerdy, science-y bar. The more they thought about their optimal renter, the more specific their ideas became.
Danielle said they realized that what they were looking for probably didn’t exist and that they should do it themselves. So The Lab was born, and yes, there will be cocktails — the liquor license is in the works.
The new project from Ada’s joins a small wave of new retail activity on 15th. Friday, Seattle’s largest pot retailer Uncle Ike’s will open its Capitol Hill expansion just down the street.
At Ada’s, the Hultons hired Lindsey Runyon to design the space inspired by Pierre and Marie Curie, a husband and wife team of scientists who studied radioactivity.
“She has this kind of darker side to her,” Danielle said, presumably talking about Curie, not Runyon.
The Lab reflects that, contrasting the bookstore, cafe and The Office. Dark gray walls and dim lighting in test-tube-like fixtures give the space a moody feel, while a huge periodic table commands attention. Even a small nook brightened with off-white book pages plastered on the walls becomes dark when closer inspection reveals many pages come from human anatomy books.
It also features artwork, including portraits of the Curies by Ada’s employee John Paul Degennaro and microscopic photography by David.
The space is transformable with science lab height tables that can fold into thin cabinets on the walls. Even the bar was designed with space-saving in mind. Half of it will be dedicated to cocktails, while the other half is allocated to coffee from a Modbar espresso machine, a system built into the bar with only a couple taps sticking out of the counter instead of a large machine.
While their idea for The Lab came about two years ago, once plans were finalized Danielle said construction only took a couple months. The Lab’s grand opening party is slated for Nov. 17 from 6 to 9 PM At the 21 + event, guests can enjoy complimentary food and drink and will be entered in a raffle to win tickets to some of The Lab’s first events.
Now that they have seemingly put the property to full use, Danielle said they’ll probably just settle in for a while. But she’s also ready for the inevitable new ideas. “I’m sure there will be something,” she said.