“From the start I knew I wanted to make it amazing”
Carpenter Simon Clissold talks about how he helped make Pause Cat Café a perfect kitty sanctuary.
When Simon first saw the café it was nothing but a “shell of bricks” and he knew it was going to be a mammoth job. As well as standard renovation, there was a lot of work to be done structurally, in order to meet the health and safety regulations around keeping animals in areas where food is served.
A former boat-builder and owner of Scallywags, a local floor restoration company, Simon has a passion for working with reclaimed wood. He got creative with leftover timber and always aimed to get the most out of his materials. He is most proud of the café’s fascia, which he crafted out of old floorboards. Rather than using expensive cedar wood – the original plan – the reclaimed wood cost him just £150.
He used a mixture of wood he had in stock, donated materials and old furniture. The cute little kitty doors were actually made from regular doors!
Simon came highly recommended to Jaya and though he admits the work was very stressful at times, he says he thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some very long days – up to 18 hours! –including one particularly memorable one.
“I ended up falling asleep at about 2 in the morning and didn’t wake up until people started coming in at 9am,” Simon laughs. “So I got up and pretended I’d just arrived as well!”
“I wanted the cats to be able to get around the whole café without having to touch the floor.”
Perhaps the café’s most striking feature is the incredible maze of bridges, walkways and stair cases for the cats to get around on. A lot of thought went into their design and Simon wanted them to be neat and symmetrical. “I like the contrast of the disorder of the reclaimed wood and the order of the clean designs,” he explains. “The whole look is very organic; all the shelves support one another and it almost looks as if they are growing out of each other.”
Simon used a lot of wooden dowels as supports, which he bought for £1, and even got creative with a rolling pin, which he used to support the spiral staircase.
A lot of work went into the back of house areas as well, including individual bedrooms for each of the cats.
While he admits he’s more of a dog person, Simon has grown to love the cats. “They all have very different personalities – that’s something I didn’t know about them at first.” He even very kindly named one of the cats, Petrus.
“Petrus was the name of my grandmother’s dog, so I like that it has a family connection. I’ve named a boat Petrus as well.”
“It satisfies my creative side.”
Simon’s passion project is carving beautiful end-grain chopping boards, which he plans to sell online very soon. He has a range of designs, his favourite being this Escher inspired “3D” chopping board.
He also carved and generously donated one to Pause, featuring a beautiful dark wood inlay of the café’s logo.
He’s done such a fantastic job that I think we can forgive him for being a dog person!