Voyageur du Temps
Los Altos, California
“Built in 1913 by Southern Pacific, this single-story Craftsman-style building originally served as Los Altos’ passenger and freight depot, and was the first economic endeavor to encourage business development in the city. After a vehicular boulevard replaced the railroad tracks, the depot was repurposed several times over many decades, and though registered as a historic landmark in 1984, the building became stagnant and fell into disrepair.”
Despite its neglect, our client recognized the building’s potential as a gathering place for family, friends, and community. Nestled near the main intersection of the City’s commercial district, the depot showed promise for fulfilling her objective to create an artisan bakery and cafe. She intended to showcase the craftsmanship of the building while reenergizing the historic landmark.
The building’s renovation involved extensive interior modifications to past retrofits that had caused major obstructions to circulation and natural light. With a creative and thoughtful redesign, the building’s previous challenges became features of the new café. A full-height vitrine adjacent to the cafe’s flexible group dining area now showcases culinary activity and fosters public intrigue while illuminating a bustling kitchen. The coffee bar, configured as a peninsula, allows interaction between patron and server for immediate transaction or extended stay. The depot’s original open-air platform is now a linear space devoted to individual and paired seating, with an extension to the north offering opportunities for intimate gatherings, with casual seating adjacent to a standalone fireplace.
The former railroad depot is now clad with timeless finishes, cleanly detailed custom millwork, comfortable furnishings, and an abundance of natural light. The refined color palette is intentionally subtle, with reflective bright white walls and a ceiling grounded by monolithic, ashen wood floor. The rich depth of old-growth redwood, warm hickory, anodized aluminum, and natural steel further complement the artisan breads, pastries, and beverages of this sophisticated neighborhood bakery.