When Angela Kasimis purchased a 1900s heritage building in Glebe more than two years ago, the analyst-turned-entrepreneur had no pre-meditated plans for the dilapidated property. “The building had beautiful, heritage details. A real rough diamond,” Kasimis says. Ready for a new challenge after a 15-year career with the Department of Education, Kasimis turned her attention to the corner terrace.
“The building came with a liquor license, which provided the impetus we needed to turn it into a hospitality space,” she explains. While the building began life as a pub, it has undergone many transformations since, including being used as a bank, a boot factory, a private investigators’ office, an antique shop and a tearoom.
Kasimis envisioned creating a welcoming wine bar and private dining venue, inspired by the original features that referenced its layered past. She enlisted the help of Pattern Studio, a Sydney-based design outfit, to help her create the interiors for No 92, so-named for its Glebe Point Road street number.
Drawing on the vestiges of the past, and using them as inspiration, Kasimis and Pattern Studio have created a layered, sensitive space that references existing stonework, marble and iron fireplaces, and decorative plasterwork. The result is triumphant in its intimacy and sophistication. “I have no design background, but I know that I like nice things!” says Kasimis.
The virgin restaurateur also felt that, despite Sydney having a well-established and sophisticated dining scene, she had something unique to add. “I wanted to offer something different,” she says, adding, “I find the industry to be blokey in nature, and in contrast, I desired a more feminine energy for No 92.”
Some of these feminine touches are subtly evident in the interior materiality (elegant, textured Venetian plaster, limewash finishes, hammered glass, antique mirrors), but they are accentuated further in the bathrooms, which sport a decidedly soft touch. A Murano glass mirror and aged, pink-hued Turkish stone sink create a delicate aesthetic.
When it comes to the food, it was never strictly about the menu for Kasimis but fundamentally about the atmosphere. “I live in a classic terrace house in Summer Hill, and I love entertaining, working out the guest list and attending to every detail like the cutlery,” she explains. “That is exactly the intimacy and detail of what I wanted at No 92. I want people to feel like they are sitting in someone’s dining room. I wanted a European vibe in that respect.”
After having gone through the intensive design process, Kasimis has integrated some of the ideas and products into her own home. The Mobilia pendant is one example. “I love it and thought, why not enjoy it in my own home too?” she adds. For Kasimis, there has been significant cross-pollination not only in design terms but also in how she cooks, adding new ingredients and methods into her own repertoire.
When one thinks about the exceptional challenges of the past year, it’s remarkable to hear about the level of agility Kasimis reached in adapting her business to suit the times. “By relying on carefully curated in-home delivery services, we actually strengthened our client base in many ways,” she adds. “People really got to know us and our business, and there have been meaningful outcomes at an otherwise very challenging time.”
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