First Light Books is an independent bookstore in the Hyde Park historic district of Austin. It is one of four new tenants in a converted 1960s post-office in the heart of the neighborhood and has quickly become a cherished community hub. Combining books, coffee, events and outdoor seating, it draws inspiration from traditional European coffee-houses as well as mid-century design motifs and palettes.
The 2500sf space was originally a windowless brick box that contained the post office's back-of-house. The east facade was opened up with generous steel windows, a custom oak storefront entry and tiled porch to make a welcoming face to the street. On the interior, new skylights create an airy bright space and help define the different areas of the store, such as a central display area with movable carts and a cosy kids corner tucked in the rear. We collaborated with Ann Edgerton Interiors and the visionary client team to bring to life many charming details, including a stained glass window reading nook, custom shelving and curved cafe and point-of-sale counters.
The popularity of the project is a delightful manifestation of our collective desire to gather in person given the opportunity - and of the value thoughtfully-designed spaces like these can bring to neighborhood life.