Mary and Tony commissioned Emmaus Bolton to make a bespoke bookshelf to house all of their precious family photo albums. They were delighted with the results and Mary has kindly written up a guest blog about their experience and what this bespoke piece of furniture means to the family.

We came across Emmaus when we were helping our granddaughter. She left university, got a job as a teacher and wanted to do her classroom up at her own expense, or should I say at Grandad’s expense!

Somebody had told her about Emmaus Bolton, so we came just out of the blue. We bought some things for her classroom, and they were a really good price and really sturdy things which she could use for five and six-year-olds. We were looking around, had a coffee, and were talking to the people there and they were telling us about how they make things.

My husband had been looking for a bookcase for a couple of years to house all his family albums. He likes photograph albums and we have loads. He wanted a specific size because some of the albums are quite deep and you can’t get a bookcase in a specific size. We were struggling to find one of just the right size that would look good in the place that we wanted it. It wasn’t that we particularly wanted it any cheaper or any dearer, it’s just we couldn’t get what he needed. Several months later I suddenly remembered that when we’d been looking around Emmaus, I’d seen that they actually did things made to measure.

Choosing the design

Emmaus is such a good cause. When they make things, the people who are involved are learning skills and I just was so impressed with the setup. It just seemed to be right to get it from there. We felt that it would be going to a good cause and we knew it would turn out really lovely.

We rang up and they asked for measurements. We sent the absolute specifications because we needed them to fit the books. It’s got six shelves, four of them are a certain depth and height for the albums and the next two aren’t quite as high. The team at Emmaus asked what colour we wanted it; we could have had any colour but we knew we wanted it white. They asked about how we wanted the top of it finished off and they sent photographs of suggestions. One was very ornate which we didn’t need, the other one was very straightforward but with a little curve on it, just finished off really nicely.

They divided the shelves in the middle, which we hadn’t thought of, to strengthen it. It’s really a strong, solid piece of furniture – it’s brilliant! The Emmaus team was so informative and really good at it. The process from start to finish was amazing.

It’s made such a difference

The albums on the shelves are full of family photographs. We have photographs from my husband’s grandad – from when he was in the first world war – we have his letters, photographs and memorabilia, all put in these albums. We’ve also got photos of my husband’s parents, my parents growing up and our children. We’re in our 70s, so our children are in their 40s and 50s and we’ve got grandchildren, so all these photographs have accumulated over the years. It’s lovely to have them all because I don’t think anyone keeps photographs these days. That’s why it’s been so good to have this bookcase. We’ve put all the albums in and we’ve got room for normal books and things like that.

A bookcase sounds nothing, but to us it’s been fantastic because it’s exactly what we wanted for the space we have. For the height and the way it’s made, it’s just perfect. We didn’t have to compromise with anything. Emmaus checked a couple things on the way which were slight adjustments that didn’t make any difference to the overall work, it was just best advice.

I’d definitely recommend Emmaus

I’ve told everybody I know that if they want anything made to measure to approach Emmaus first. You couldn’t fault the workmanship that’s gone into it. Even if they can’t do want you want, it’s certainly worth asking. They’ll tell you if they can’t do it or if it’s not possible, they’re very straightforward, very upfront.

The bespoke bookshelf has been brilliant and the team at Emmaus made such a wonderful job of it, so solid, so well done and finished off. We couldn’t have asked for anything more ideal than we’ve got. Everybody who comes to the house, we traipse them upstairs and make them have a look!