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We just love the new reading room addition to our cafe.  We had always planned to develop the space, but we anticipated tackling it around 12 months after opening the initial part of the cafe.  However, the popularity of the cafe has outstripped capacity and we made the decision to push on with it.

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We had a good idea of the type of room we wanted to create and what was required.  We took inspiration from this wonderful Ikea Billy bookcase hack from The Makerista.   This would be the focus of the room and set the overall tone, so we spent some time planning how to adapt it for the space.

A quick trip to Ikea and three Billy bookcases were assembled, these would fit across the end wall.  Although they width did not work out exactly, we planned to centre the three bookcases and panel out equally on either side.

Assembling the bookcases that will stand against the purple wall.

Assembling the bookcases that will stand against the purple wall.

The height of the room meant that the proportions of the bookcase would look shorter so we added extension pieces (also available from Ikea) to take the top to within 12cm of the ceiling.

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

The proportions were wrong for the standard height of the bookcase.

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

The bookcases were then secured together and a frame was constructed to fix the complete assembly into place.  The frame work would also provide the fixing for the side panels.

Framework in place to fix the bookcases to the wall and floor.

Framework in place to fix the bookcases to the wall and floor.

Side panels were then fitted, a crown moulding secured along the head of the bookcase frame and 34mm reed mouldings were fixed to mask the join between each bookcase face.

Moulding and trim was used to mask the join and make the bookcase look seamless.

Moulding and trim was used to mask the join and make the bookcase look seamless.

The walls were painted a darker grey than the main cafe, the aim being to reduce the light levels from the large room window.  Wall lights were fitted and the main ceiling lights removed.

Wall lights fitted and the walls painted a darker grey ('Storm' by Leyland)

Wall lights fitted and the walls painted a darker grey (‘Storm’ by Leyland)

Finally the chairs and tables were added, along with additional standard lighting.

A bit more dressing of the bookcase required, but almost there.

A bit more dressing of the bookcase required, but almost there.

More books needed!

More books needed!

The view back towards the main cafe.

The view back towards the main cafe.

Our aim has always been to create a relaxing and inviting space and we think we’ve achieved it. Now all that’s left is to come and try some of our fabulous coffee, pick up a paper and relax.

See you soon.

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