After Sara McLaughlin complained about her husband, Steve, turning the basement of their home into a ‘man cave’, Steve promised that the next DIY project he did would be just for her.
He delivered on that promise by making Sara her very own secret library in the space that used to be just a spare room.
Now, the house – that looks perfectly ordinary from the outside – hides a personal library that has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a cosy reading nook.
The couple, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, moved to their new four-storey home with their daughter Eve, 13, four years ago and Sara, 44, finally had a spare room for herself.
Steve, 45 an avid record collector, set up his new ‘man cave’ in the basement complete with a jukebox, record player and pool table.
Sara, a compliance manager, has been collecting books for 30 years and Steve decided that it was time for her to have her own reading zone.
Steve, who works as a print manager, began the process of transforming a spare bedroom on the first floor into a library – and eight months later, the library is complete, with a built-in desk, comfy sofa, chandelier and a lot of shelves to hold all of Sara’s books.
Now the couple won’t be stepping on each other’s toes as they each have their own separate hideaways to go to.
Steve said: ‘Sara has always wanted a library and I have a ‘man cave’ in the basement so it wasn’t fair that she didn’t have her own room. In our previous house, we only had one spare room so I took it.
‘I started working on the library last January and it took eight months because I had to work to my monthly budget which was about £200 but the whole thing cost around £2,000 to make.
‘I’m not qualified but I enjoy doing DIY tasks and I try to do most things myself, the only thing I won’t do is plumbing.
‘When I first told Sara about my plan to make her her own library, she was a bit hesitant about how it would look but she trusted me and now she absolutely loves it.
‘She’s been collecting books for 30 years and she had more than 65 boxes of books in the basement – that was the hardest part, I had to bring them all up to the first floor!
‘Our daughter takes after her mum as well and she loves reading so I’m sure the library will get a lot of use. Sara reads everyday so she’s going to be spending a lot of her time in the library whilst I hide away in my man-cave’.
Sara loves the end result.
‘If he annoys me, I have a new space that I can escape to and I feel really lucky to have a whole room to myself,’ she said. ‘He has his ‘man cave’ and I have my library.
‘We’ve been married for nearly 15 years and he never ceases to amaze me, I absolutely love it and I can’t believe how amazing it looks.
‘When he first told me, I could never have imagined that it would turn out as incredible as it did.
‘I’ve always been a reader and any bookworm would love to have their own private library and it’s amazing to just sit in there and be surrounded by books’.
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