Before and after: A retro-style reading room

Small on space, big on personality

It may look small, but this space works hard as part of a larger renovation.  

Reading room
(Credit: John Downs)

A sun-drenched reading room was a clever inclusion in this home’s extension.

The newly installed timber bi-fold windows extend to the full width of the nook, allowing light to flood into the area. The addition of a celestory window draws the eyes upwards, creating a sense of height and space. 

The polished concrete flooring keeps it all cool for the young family. 

A blue velvet sofa from an op-shop, along with a vintage teak Parker coffee table, evokes a retro vibe.

Shopping list 

Cushions: ‘Patch’ cushion, $225, Jardan, ‘Penny Round’ cushion in Watermelon, $49, Castle.

Sofa: Get the look with replica ‘Castillo’ sofa, $1550, Clickon Furniture.

Windows: Timber bi-fold windows with integrated screen, from $4700, Duce

A retro style reading roo
(Credit: John Downs)


The extended rear of the house features rendered Greenboard in a smoky shade of double strength Resene Friar Grey, with the cladding a touch lighter in quarter strength. Beautiful rosewood bi-fold window frames are a warm counterpoint to the grey exterior.

Paint: Lumbersider waterborne low sheen paint in Friar Grey, $77.65/4L, Resene.

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