Seattle Architecture

salmon bay construction by Claire Grotz

Salmon Bay Terminals is a project to convert an existing warehouse space on Salmon Bay into two production distilleries run by local favorites, Sound Spirits and Captive Spirits. The minimal, industrial design highlights the raw character of the existing space, with a new polished and stained concrete floor contrasting the whitewashed exposed structure. We can't wait to share the completed Salmon Bay Terminals project with you! 

Craftworks Coffee Construction by Claire Grotz

We at Atelier Drome have had the pleasure of working with the folks at Craftworks Coffee, who are about to open their first shop in Lower Queen Anne around June 15th. Craftworks Coffee is a specialty coffee bar, focusing on organic, fair trade and single origin coffees from some of the finest micro-roasters in the USA. Construction is nearing completion, and before the final product is unveiled, we want to share the construction process with you.

When we first walked in to the space, we were confronted by a three-foot grade change running the length of the cafe. This was a blessing of sorts, in that it was easy to run water and electricity lines through the low half of the space. To level the space, our fantastic construction team (DMC Tenant Improvement Services) filled it up with refrigerator-sized styrofoam blocks and poured new concrete on top. 

Next, we cut expansion joints in the concrete, and insulated the walls. The wall area with the specialty grey-green insulation protects a wine cooler from temperature fluctuations on the other side of the wall. 

Then we frame the walls with steel and the bar with wood. Then the bar is painted black to prepare for steel cladding with thin reveals, and the walls and ceiling receive drywall and their first coat of paint. We decided to use a 'cloud' over the bar to draw attention to the coffee making process; the cloud also accommodates lighting and sprinklers, and it fulfills a valuable part of the health code, protecting the coffee zone from pipes overhead. Next up: steel, wood, quartz, furniture and a custom mural!

There's plenty to do between now and June 15th, but we are all excited to show off the space, and most importantly, the coffee!

sign of the times by Unknown

Recently, we've been doing some research on coffee shop signage for Caffe Ladro and we came across some really awesome designs we couldn't help but share. Exterior signage not only announces the name of the coffee shop but the initial impression from the sign can also play an important role in shaping the overall experience for the consumer so it is a crucial part of the design process! Effectively designed signage can capture the culture and atmosphere of a coffee shop, attracting customers to the shop. Check out some of the signs we loved.

Too see images like this and everything else that inspires us, check out our Pinterest page, here! Also, congratulations to Caffe Ladro for their grand opening this week!  Make sure to stop by (400 Fairview).

multifaceted design, multiple ways by Unknown

Check out these cool new furniture pieces from Knoll, by David Adjaye!

We love the faceted design! It reminds us of the bar and desk that we designed and built at Orange Studios!

The reception desk is the first thing you see when you come in the space. Here, we really learned how tricky designing with triangles can be! The ins and outs of the shape direct visitors to certain places along the length of the desk, and provide an exciting foundation for the graphic design used throughout the space.

The bar was designed to have a solid top, to provide for a coffee and drink serving.

Check out what they've done with their graphic design! See the connection? hint: facets! triangles!

Our very own Shane Staley built these two pieces. Check out his furniture website at

seattle's spooky architecture by Unknown

We all have one in our neighborhood. We're all guilty of walking by it, sneaking peeks, trying to get a glimpse of something inside... In honor of Halloween, we’ve collected a few of our favorite spooky, haunted, and historic buildings from the Seattle Area and surrounding. Take a look…. You never know which one might be hiding in your neighborhood!

Perhaps one of the best known “haunted” buildings in Seattle, The Sorrento Hotel, built in 1909, is located in the First Hill neighborhood. Still a well-known and oft-frequented establishment today, it is rumored to host local ghost, Alice B. Toklas (the muse behind Gertrude Stein’s famous book), who roams the 4th floor.  The hotel fondly refers to her as their friendly ghost and honors her memory with a special drink on their menu at the Dunbar Room.

The Sorrento Hotel under construction in 1909
The Sorrento Hotel Today

West Seattle is home to another haunted building: West Seattle High School.  Built in 1902, it was designated as a historic landmark in 1981. There are reports that say a young student named Rose Higginbotham hung herself at the school in 1924, and ever since, students claim to see her spirit wandering the halls. She is also rumored to be seen in the early morning fog of the adjacent Hiawatha Playfield.

West Seattle High School back in 1917
West Seattle High School today

The iconic 5,000 square foot Georgetown Castle was built in 1902 by Peter J. Gessner. It is a distinctive example of Queen Anne architecture in the area and though it sat long uncared for, has now been remodeled and restored into a family residence again. It is popular belief that the home has long since been haunted by a tall, thin woman. However there is some disagreement on whether it is the ghost of a prostitute that was murdered by her magician boyfriend while the home spent a stint as a brothel, or the wife of one of Gessner’s sons, Sarah, who had an affair with another man.  

Georgetown Castle after it was completed in 1902
Georgetown Castle today, after restoration

Originally built in 1925, The Harvard Exit Theatre on Capitol Hill was originally a home to the Women's Century Club (they still meet there today!). The club's purpose was to help women with equality issues and the right to vote. It is rumored that a Century Club member hung herself in the upstairs lounge in the 1920's. Now a popular theatre, movie watchers have reported seeing shadowy figures in the lobby and hearing women's laughter on the upper levels.  

Harvard Exit Theatre as the Women's Century Club 
Harvard Exit Theatre today
A popular haunt in downtown Seattle’s Post Alley is the Butterworth Building... which is home to the popular Kell’s Irish Pub today. The basement of the Butterworth Building was the location of the city’s first mortuary and in the early 1900’s, was a rather busy one! The owners and staff have reported experiencing moving objects and having objects shatter spontaneously. Some even say they have seen a young girl who, legend has it, tries to lure other young children to come play with her.

Butterworth Building as the city's first mortuary
Butterworth Building as Kell's today
Halloween is just around the corner… maybe stop by Kell’s Irish Pub for a spooky pint or the Sorrento Hotel’s Dunbar Room for a Ms. Toklas cocktail and see for yourself if any of these rumors hold true.  And most importantly, have a happy and haunted Halloween!