For cupcake fanatics in DC (apparently there are a lot of them), the knowledge that Dupont Circle's Hello Cupcake has been planning to expand to Barracks Row amidst the escalating cupcake frenzy is welcome news. But diversifying the catalog of cake and frosting combos is not the only thing that goes into a new location, as the new store will open with national expectations. While Penny Karas, founder and owner of Hello Cupcake, juggles the tasks of a small business owner, her husband Bill Bonstra and his colleagues at Bonstra Haresign Architects are working to make sure customers at Hello Cupcake's newest location (705 8th Street SE) will consume their sugary treats in a comfortable, colorful, and intelligently designed space.
Bonstra and his team were responsible for the interior design of the first Hello Cupcake store that earned the National 2009 IES Capital Chapter Lighting Award of Merit and also won design awards in each of four categories of the AIA/DC Chapter Awards program. Bonstra said he wasn't exactly surprised, but still humbled and delighted: "We knew we had done something good, but to be recognized by your peers is fantastic." The interior space that Bonstra created on Dupont Circle seems like an upscale and modern take on an airy Candy Land dreamscape. The new space in Southeast will be a continuation of the same, says Bonstra. "The new store will be consistent with the brand that has been developed, and will play on some of the same design themes, but will also be unique, as every project and space is new and different." Bonstra will also adhere to the same LEED and Green Restaurant Association standards that governed many of the design decisions the first go around.
Hello Cupcake or Hello Kitty?
Like the Dupont Circle location, the Barracks Row cupcakery will feature lively signage, generous and inviting windows, and colorful sidewalk furniture. While the previous location was a retail space in the ground floor of a large office building, Hello Cupcake's newest venue replaces Capitol Hill Bikes in a three-story historic row-house, featuring residential units on top of the ground floor retail space. With all this, plus the addition of several planters and flower boxes, Bonstra believes his wife's new location will add "needed vibrancy" to the historic facade and the southern portion of Barracks Row. The new store has the luxury of a basement floor, which will allow Karas to jump-start the nationwide shipping operation she had included in her business plan from the beginning.
Hello Cupcake II interior rendering
Karas hopes that she can tap into some of the baseball fans that shuttle to Nationals' stadium from the nearby Barracks Row eateries. Baseball game traffic won't be back until next spring, but cupcake consumption on Barrack's row should happen before then as construction is set to finish before the first of the new year. Bonstra says that his team is in the process of securing all necessary building permits, and that some minor demolition has already begun. Energized by a few cupcake induced sugar highs, Prill Construction Group is moving speedily ahead as they oversee general contracting work.
Ken is a real estate agent in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as founder and editor of DCMud. Ken specializes in marketing urban properties and helping identify and analyze property. You can reach him at 202-588-1408, or Ken @ DCRealestate.com
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