Courtney Quaintance is a familiar face at HanaHaus. As a professor of Italian Renaissance literature, she is spending the summers in her hometown Palo Alto and loves to come to HanaHaus for her daily work. We talked to her about her current projects, the reason why she is working in the heart of Silicon Valley and the difference between working in a library or a coffee shops and using HanaHaus.


Name: Courtney Quaintance

Origin: Palo Alto, California

Working at HanaHaus since: Summer 2015

Job Title: Associate Professor


My Job is about…
“…teaching medieval and Renaissance Italian literature and culture on the East Coast. I grew up in Barron Park in Palo Alto and left the Bay Area when I was 18 to study singing at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Then, I went to Italy to study Italian in Florence and finally did my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Today, I come to the Bay Area for the summers, because I am still pretty connected with Palo Alto. My mother lives in downtown.”

Got to know HanaHaus…
“… because I’ve been coming to this place since it was a movie theatre. I was very little when we used to watch movies here -
I remember the stage, the red curtains and the balconies where the second level is today. When I was in high school, I used to hang out here when it was “Borders” bookstore. My family and I were worried about what would happen to this nice building after the bookstore closed. It’s wonderful that the place has found new life and some of the architectural details were conserved. My brother is a coffee person who once ran a coffee shop in San Francisco, he was paying close attention to the arrival of Blue Bottle in downtown. By the way: He studied computer science in Stanford and was one of the first people working for eBay.”

Used to come to HanaHaus…
“…in the summers when I am not teaching. Currently, I am writing my second book which is going to be about female opera singers in Italy in the seventeenth-century. Also, I do research and read articles written by scholars about whatever I am working on. At first, I was wondering why people should pay money for sitting in a coffee shop. But after a while I learned to appreciate the fact, that you have a place what feels like it’s yours. If I am in a regular coffee shop, I always feel guilty sitting with my laptop and taking up space - here you don’t. That is genius.”

HanaHaus is unique because…
“…it’s historic. I’ve been coming to the place since I was a child, so it feels very familiar. I like being around people who are working.
I like the easy access to good coffee, the changing environment and the people’s buzz. The noise can be helpful; it feels like a treat to work in a coffee shop rather than shutting myself up in a library, which can sometimes feel like a punishment.”

The favorite spot at HanaHaus…
“…are the standing tables next to the stage.”

In 3 words HanaHaus is…
“…peaceful, buzzy and vibrant.”

In our blog series, People of HanaHaus, we present the folks that fill our workspace cafe with life: Start-Uppers, entrepreneurs, artists, founders, innovation managers, students, unicorns, venture capital investors and the people who make HanaHaus unique. We want to learn about their journeys and what brought them to Silicon Valley. We ask them to speak about their current projects and why how they leverage HanaHaus for their business.