Behind The Scenes with What the EF᎐: The Nook Cafe

When that Harry Potter-themed café opened its little red door to the adoring Maginhawa crowd, it caused quite a stir. And it should. After all, how many little red doors in this tropical country can transport you straight to Hogsmeade? The only question now is, “Are you a Gryffindor or a Slytherin?”

I’m a big fan of the books, even the movies. But I’m probably the biggest fan of The Nook Café because my sisters not only designed the café interiors, they also painstakingly hand painted the murals that adorn its walls.

Before The Nook Café officially opened, my last few weekends in Manila were spent checking in on how my sisters’ interior design gig was unfolding. What the EF᎐, a small design firm owned and operated by Thomasian architects Anne Eustaquio and Ding Flores, brought the café walls to life. Every detail was carefully planned, hand drawn and meticulously painted.

I remember setting dinners at restaurants in Maginhawa so my sisters could take a break and eat with us. We ate mostly at Empire Steak, owned by our good friend, Conrad Legaspi.

The Nook Café opened a few weeks before I officially relocated to Malaysia. The café, despite its limited floor area, was packed with so many friends who supported Nicole Guanio, a young entrepreneur who attended the same university.

I’m proud to share some behind-the-scenes photos before The Nook Café was transformed into what it is now. There were nights when the only light accompanying my sister was a tall desk lamp they borrowed from our printing press.

All the hard work paid off. Lumos Maxima!


Anne and Ding from What the EF᎐ handpainted the murals and tables at The Nook Café.


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Edits: Jacquie Bamba S. Zamora

Make A Colorful Impression

Philippine Copyright © 2016 by Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla

Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla is a journalism graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. She wrote Bedroom Blog by Veronica, a relationship blog for Cosmopolitan Philippines from 2009 to 2011, which covers most of her single dating life. In 2015, she published her first book Before I Do. She’s passionate about coffee, red wine, books and Mad Men. She stopped collecting hearts when she got married in 2013 and went back to collecting Archie Comics ever since. Send the author a tweet @kceustaquio.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher or author.

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