pioneer square

A Shoestring Fitout - the Canopy Room Experiment

Before: End of August 2017

Before: End of August 2017

After: End of September 2017  Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

After: End of September 2017

Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

With growing demand for more space and services at tPC, we recently acquired an additional 2300 square foot suite on the fifth floor of our current building, The Westland Building. We were able to secure this space within our budget because it lacked the typical tenant improvements a building owner usually puts into a suite to make it market-ready.  We opted to save money and do the necessary improvements ourselves, with the help of various subcontractors. The time between first viewing this space and hosting our first corporate client for a day-long offsite was exactly one month. Our very tight timeline and budget created an exciting challenge for us. Below we share the scope of the project as well as thank the handful of individuals and companies we relied on in completing this buildout so quickly.

Scope of work: 

Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

  • Cat6 cabling and installation of ports and APs for high-speed internet
  • Drywall work and repair
  • Fresh primer paint on walls and ceilings
  • Refinishing and painting of floors
  • Installation of conduit, wiring, electrical outlets and ports
  • Installing lighting fixtures
  • Design, material procurement, and assembly of 24 additional tables and desks, with seating for 48
  • Soundproofing and acoustic planning and installation


When we first took possession of the space, we needed to decide what to do with the floors. The subfloor functioned, but it was comprised of large mismatched sheets of plywood. Reluctant to invest in brand new flooring when the subfloor was in good condition, Chris experimented with some paint and sanding and opted to give the floors an aesthetic makeover. After a bit of testing, Chris found a glossy white porch paint and primer that could be applied after filling seams and re-sanding (and pulling thousands of staples from the old carpet), adding a clean, light, and bright solution.

While Chris was experimenting with porch paints, we called in our drywall expert Marshall, to start repairing walls. There were holes in the walls that needed fresh sheetrock and mud.  That work took about four 8 hour nights.  In addition, the wood ceiling beams were in need of care so we found a matching grey paint to refresh those. We hired a couple of hardworking subs that handled the floor and ceiling paint jobs.

During this work, Chris designed an ideal modular desk that could be grouped with other individual desks, allowing various configurations for an array of programming needs. The ultimate goal of the additional space is to serve the unique needs of larger groups. This can range from utilizing the space as a classroom with a microphone and projector, to an all-day film shoot or evening happy hour. The considerations when designing the desks were dimensions, base style, and material that would create a product easily maneuverable while also structurally sound and durable.

Chris worked with metalworker Don Goble of Weld & Glue to design and manufacture the bases. His sister Ashley, of Sierra Forest Products ,spec'd and procured the high gloss laminate desktops.  For chairs, we needed a lightweight, stackable, ergonomic solution that would be attractive paired with the tabletops. After hearing about on Roman Mars' 99% Invisible podcast and purchasing one of their outdoor dining sets for our home this summer, we chose to source our chairs through them. We wanted an option that could bring a pop of color into the space. We chose their Dot chair in green and turquoise to compliment the colors of the foliage on the west side of the space.

Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

Courtesy of Lindsey Miller Photo

A special thank you to Article!  Aside from working on a tight timeline and dealing with a somewhat uncertain scope of work, one of our most challenging moments came after ordering our chairs. While Chris was unloading the first four of sixteen chairs, the remaining twelve were stolen off the loading dock behind our building. This was very discouraging, particularly since this neighborhood has become a second home to us, and we care greatly about its viability and safety. Amazingly, after sharing the story with Article and trying to order new chairs, they sent us a replacement shipment free of charge!  We are very appreciative of their commitment to customer service.  They have real people answering customer service inquiries, fast shipping and a great return policy.  We don't often plug brands here, but we are huge supporters of this company.

We are still adding decor, but have found a few second-hand steals such as the midcentury tulip tables pictured from Goodwill for $10. We've thrown old framed artwork on the walls to give the room some color, and of course, have added potted plants.  We want to thank Burrow, who outfitted us with a sleek, highly functional, office couch complete with charging capabilities and a USB port. Chris worked with our go-to electrician conduit and hardwired barn pendants in the central seating area in addition to hanging a few sets of stringers.  Finally, we cut and attached baseboards and performed a deep clean of window sills, heat registers, windows and doors.

We're still making small tweaks here and there, but after the initial buildout, we've been able to start utilizing the space and have now hosted a variety of events; a few corporate off-site sessions, an auditorium-style panel of speakers for Seattle Startup Week, as well as a customer appreciation event for Dia & Co, a women's fashion company that provides hand-picked plus-sized pieces by stylists delivered directly to your door. Lastly, we want to give Lindsey Miller Photo a big thanks for providing some beautiful professional shots of The Canopy Room. Our calendar is now filling up many exciting new events and we look forward to hosting more.

Our build budget was $11,000 for the entire project including furniture and electronics.  We knew that would be a reach, but we came close, at around $12,500.   The biggest contributing factor to the overrun was paint.  We ended up buying twice what we had planned for, as the old subfloor really soaked up the paint and primer.

Interested in renting the Canopy Room?  The space works great for:


Seating Arrangements

Our custom desk-tables are designed to accommodate all of the above setups

  • Corporate trainings
  • Classroom-style events
  • Production: photo and video shoots
  • Workshops
  • Creative brainstorming sessions
  • Launch parties
  • Happy hours
  • Hackathons
  • Seminars
  • Lectures/Presentations



Need to find and fitout office space or redesign your current setup? We would love to help. We provide consulting, design services, and project management. Email us at

How the ULink Light Rail Extension Affects Pioneer Square and the Rest of Seattle

You probably heard that ULink, the latest extension of Link Light Rail, opened last weekend.  It extends the Sea-Tac / Downtown Seattle line to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington.  It represents a major milestone in bringing 21st century mass transit to Seattle, but many people we've spoken to don't realize it's impact on Pioneer Square and other neighborhoods along the line.


We jumped at the chance to ride the new line on opening day and were thoroughly impressed.  Not only were the stations beautiful and the trains bustling with energy and excitement, the ride times to Capitol Hill and UW were almost unbelievably short, opening the door for residents and workers of Pioneer Square, Chinatown International District, Capitol Hill, and Montlake to move freely between neighborhoods, for lunchbreaks, shopping, work, and nightlife.  

Approximate ride times - tPC's closest stop is International District/Chinatown

Approximate ride times - tPC's closest stop is International District/Chinatown


For our coworking business, proximity to the light rail line means we can pull coworkers and staff from Rainier Beach, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, and University District without ever having the difficult conversation about finding parking in Pioneer Square.  Students commuting to UW can live as far south as Rainier Valley and travel to campus in under 30 minutes, without a car!  

On Saturday, we tested the line to UW and back, stopwatch in hand.  Here are the ride times from our closest station.  There is a Pioneer Square Station, and an International District Station within walking distance of The Pioneer Collective, but the ID Station is closer, about a 5 minute walk.

Ride times [Northbound] - from International District Station

  • Downtown Westlake Center - 6 minutes
  • Capitol Hill Broadway Station - 9 minutes
  • University of Washington / Husky Stadium - 15 minutes

Ride times [Southbound]  - from International District Station

  • Beacon Hill - 6 minutes
  • Mt. Baker - 9 minutes
  • Columbia City - 12 minutes
  • Othello - 16 minutes
  • Rainier Beach - 19 minutes
  • Sea-Tac Airport - 31 minutes


Early press and Twitter reaction was overwhelmingly positive as well.

If the new ULink extension has you excited for the future of transit in Seattle, there are some key organizations and upcoming milestones you should be aware of.  First, the Seattle Transit Blog and the hard working folks (and tPC members) at Seattle Subway are the go-to resources for all things transit related in Seattle.  Seattle Subway is made up of advocates, engineers, transit geeks, and passionate citizens, working within the system to push Sound Transit to build the interconnected system Seattle missed out on in the late 1960s and in 1912.  Seattle Transit Blog is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that covers transit news for the greater Seattle area. 

Both groups are pushing for ST Complete, their vision for what they call a "once in a lifetime opportuntiy for high capacity transit in Seattle and the Puget Sound Region."  This issue will be on your ballot this November.  In the meantime, how can you help further the cause? 

1.  Email the Sound Transit Board and tell them you support going big on ST3, including a Ballard/UW line.

2.  Tell your friends about the upcoming ballot measure and volunteer to help Seattle Subway get the word out.

3.  Vote to fund the ST3 plan in November!

Helpful links and further reading - Want to get caught up with a deep dive into our transit present and future?  These links provide a good place to start.

South Seattle Light Rail commuter?  Check out our Link Coworking Pass for Beacon Hill, Rainier Beach, Columbia City and more!

Top Lunch Spots in Pioneer Square

There is no shortage of good places to eat when it comes to lunch in Pioneer Square. In the last couple of years, new restaurants and cafes have seemed to open monthly. Being new to the neighborhood, we still have a lot of exploring to do and have probably overlooked some great options. We have however, come up with five spots we've been been dining at often (in no particular order).

Read Part II Here

1. Il Corvo

  • Address: 217 James Street, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Hours: M-F 11am-3pm
  • Offerings: appetizers, salads, and pastas (menu changes daily)
  • Sample menu items:
    • Casarecce, with anchovy, chills and rapini
    • Pappardelle, alla Bolognese
  • Price range: around $9 per plate of pasta
  • Service style: Order at counter and sit down at one of the rustic antique wood cafe tables or bartops
  • Tips: avoid the 11:45-1pm lunch time rush, this place is packed for a reason during this time
  • Cons: difficult menu to work around if you are of the gluten or carb free group

Il Corvo has become my favorite place to grab lunch in Pioneer Square. Nestled between 2nd & 3rd inside a long rectangular space no bigger than 1000 square feet, a lunch at Il Corvo transports you to a European eatery for the afternoon. The beautifully rustic and simple decor will remind you of an Italian farmhouse and the daily fresh pasta will taste just as authentic. This is pasta with few ingredients that manages to pack a lot of complexity. House-made noodles are always cooked perfectly al dente, and the sauces never lack flavor. For anyone who thinks spaghetti and meatballs is bland and boring, these pastas will prove otherwise.


  • Address: 221 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Hours: M-F 11am-4pm
  • Offerings: salads, sandwiches, wraps & döners
  • Sample menu items:
    • The Berliner Döner: choice of meat, garlic yogurt sauce, cucumber, tomato, onion, picked red cabbage, cilantro
    • Feta Chicken Salad: crisp greens, feta cheese, cilantro, tomato, cucumber, red cabbage, onions, herb yogurt dressing
  • Price range: around $7-$9 for a sandwich or a full-size salad
  • Service style: Order at counter and sit down in cafeteria style cafe
  • Online Ordering: Yes
  • Tips: If ordering a döner, I recommend ordering it as a wrap (spinach or whole wheat tortilla option). I prefer the lighter tortilla to the bready fladenbrot they typically serve it in.
  • Cons: dated interior decor, can get a bit messy during lunch rush

The Berliner is a good place to get a fresh meal quickly. They specialize in döner kebab style sandwiches and salads. The menu is relatively straightforward, a variety of sandwiches,salads, and wraps offered with your choice of protein.  It is hard to find a filling and satisfying lunch salad, but the Berliner provides just that. Portions are generous and you might leave with leftovers. Their kebabs are advertised as hand made in-house, 100% meat (no fillers), no preservatives, and no MSG. The name Berliner comes from the fladenbrot bread of Germany that resembles focaccia, though you can order your sandwich in a pita or a tortilla instead (recommended). Most menu items incorporate the traditional flavors of yogurt, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, and onions. If you don't like these flavors, it will be hard to work around the menu. The service is usually fast though lunch can get busy. With a rather unremarkable and dated interior, the Berliner makes for a great place to order ahead and pick up. Your $7-$9 meal here will certainly satisfy a growling stomach.


3. Zeitgeist Coffee

  • Address: 171 South Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98101
  • Hours: M-F 6am-7pm, Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm
  • Offerings:  full coffee bar, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches & salads
  • Sample menu items:
    • Spanish Salami Sandwich
    • Roasted Veggie Sandwich
  • Price range:   Between $7 and $9 for a sandwich
  • Service style:  Order at counter and sit at any coffee shop tables or bartops
  • Free Wi-Fi:  Yes
  • Cons:  Not the biggest bang for your buck. The salads in particular leave you needing something more.

Zeitgeist is always a top lunch choice for me no matter the occasion. Whether I'm in the mood to read the paper or browse online while eating solo, or I'm meeting someone for business, Zeitgeist fits the bill. It works at any time of day.   Along with quality espresso and tea served throughout the day, Zeitgeist offers great egg sandwiches and pastries at breakfast and tasty baguette sandwiches and salads for lunch.   In the late afternoon and into evening you can grab a happy hour beer. The warm wood interior contrasted by the colorful work of local artists' and antique coffee roasting equipment, creates a charming atmosphere that urges you to stay a while. I prefer the sandwiches to the salads for lunch, as they are more filling for the price. The sandwiches are European inspired, typically grilled on a baguette or ciabatta with a variety of high-quality veggie and meat combinations. Served with a simple green salad, they make for a complete lunch in an inspired setting.


  • Address:  214 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Hours:  M-F 7am-5:30pm, Sat 8am-4pm
  • Offerings:  full coffee bar, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches & salads
  • Sample menu items:
    • Cheddar Egg Biscuit: A flaky buttermilk biscuit with a scrambled egg and melted cheddar cheese.
    • The Blue Ribbon Sandwich: thinly sliced roast beef, picked red onions, fresh salad greens, and plenty of blue cheese mayo on a toasted Potato Bun.
  • Price range:  Average $7 and $9 for an a la cart sandwich, $11-$12 for a sack lunch
  • Service style:  Order at counter and sit inside the Grand Central Arcade or at outside cafe tables on the cobblestone patio
  • Free Wi-Fi:  Yes
  • Cons:  Not particularly cheap nor quick for a fast lunch sandwich.


Grand Central Bakery's mission is "to serve customers delicious, authentic food made from high-quality local and sustainable ingredients." Founded in Pioneer Square roughly 25 years ago, this bakery is still led by a close community of friends and family who are passionate about artisan baking. This is made clear by the chewy fresh breads their sandwiches are served on. Stop in for lunch and you will find a variety of sandwich options, soup, and salad that can all be complimented by the tasty baked goods and espresso. The sandwiches feel home-made, and with a location in the historic Grand Central Arcade, you will feel right at home. With the ivy-clad brick building exterior, cobble-stoned patio, and interior fireplace, there is no cozier place to meet a friend for lunch.

5. The London Plane

  • Address:  300 Occidental Avenue South; Seattle, WA 98104
  • Hours:  8am-7pm Mon & Tues, 8am-9pm Wed-Fri, 9am-9pm Sat, 9am-5pm Sun
  • Offerings:  Coffee, pastries, salads, soups, plated lunches & dinners, groceries, flowers, & gifts
  • Sample menu items:
    • smashed avocado & sesame toast with shaved kohlrabi, parsnips & cilantro
    • spiced lamb meatballs in tomato sauce
  • Price range:  around $10-$15 per lunch plate
  • Service style:  Full-service sit down or grab a coffee and pastry at the counter to go
  • Tips:  go with others and order a variety of plates family style in order to sample as many of the delicious flavors
  • Cons:  difficult menu to work around if you are an unadventurous or picky eater

The London Plane, located on the northeast corner of Occidental Park, is the most beautiful lunch spot for a work diversion. You will notice the space just passing by whether you are looking for The London Plane or not. With flowers for sale displayed outside, a classical romantic white-brick interior, and a charming upstairs balcony, The London Plane will draw you in. Whether you've been drawn in during the morning hours or evening, you are sure to find something that will satisfy. With fresh pastries and coffee at the walk-up counter, a sit-down lunch menu featuring toasts, salads, & full plates, and a plated dinner menu, The London Plane does it all. And this is before you add in the gorgeous array of foodie gifts and flowers for sale inside. The dishes at the London Plane are never boring, with exotic flavors that take your palate to Morocco or Spain while dining inside a Paris meets London cafe that seems almost monumental. For the majority of us, The London Plane is not an everyday lunch spot, but on those special occasions, it does not disappoint.