A few suggestion for sorting if you decide to tackle the sourcing route, since you no longer have the benefit of numbered bags on your side:
- Have some smaller tubs on hand for the little bits, as there are quite a few of them and it helps to have stuff like 1x1 plates and the 1x1 modified bricks with headlights on their own.
- If it came packaged individually, don't remove the glass from baggies until its time to use them. This prevents scratches.
- For sets this size, it helps to sort elements first by type and then color. So, putting bricks-plates-tiles-unique/specialty pieces on their own is my usual approach.
- Much of the color scheme in Cafe Corner is by floor. First floor bricks are dark blue and light bley, second floor is mostly reddish brown and tan arches, with some medium blue, and the third floor is where the dark red slopes and a lot of tan bricks get used.
One thing to watch out for with the PDF instructions is a page sequencing error in the second file. Pages 26 and 27 skip from step 31 to 33. Step 32 ends up popping up on page 45. It happens right near the end of building the second floor, so it's not like you miss a major step right at the beginning of a floor that requires going back quite a bit to fix. Of the three floors, the second is probably the hardest to read off of the PDF. Something about the reddish brown just seems to hide the break lines in the bricks when shown in digital form.
Construction is pretty straightforward and very similar to the other modulars I have built so far. It's obviously closest to the Grand Emporium, the other corner that's been made so far. Most of your details are on the two street-facing walls of the building and the sides are just about stacking bricks of the same color in interlocking patterns.
One of my favorite techniques used during construction was how the red slopes on the third floor are staggered to give the building more of a shingled look. It's amazing how you can get such a great effect by just using a few plates to slightly change the height difference on each section.
With that in mind, one major suggestion I will make if you are sourcing this set is to consider switching out the two 16x32 base plates for a full 32x32 version, especially if you can get one in a grey color. The two 16x32 plates lack some stability and there's some give on the bottom when you pick up the finished model. This also helps when you consider the interior of the building is completely unfinished. I'm already working on designing my own indoor area, but I will need to make a heavy used of tiles inside to cover up the green floor the building currently has. With a gray plate, you can keep more studs on the floor available for standing up minifigures.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with how this project turned out. Obtaining some parts was a bit aggravating, but I'm satisfied that I was able to stay true to the majority of the official inventory. The finished product looks great and it's a relief to add this building to my modular collection without having to pay upwards of $600 for the set.
Bottom line: if you have the time, the patience, and don't care about 100 percent accuracy, then I would highly recommend going this route to obtain a "cheaper" copy of Cafe Corner.