How did the concept for The Grounds of the City come together?
Therese: "We basically modelled it off old coffeehouses from London and all over Europe. The period we found most interesting was the 1920s, which was when most coffee houses started. We wanted the new Grounds to be an escape from the city – somewhere where you feel like you’ve stepped back in time like you’re not even in Sydney but somewhere else around the globe."
What are you most excited about?
"Something I am very proud of that is starting very soon are the activations in our windows. I have a few characters that will be roleplaying in the windows of George Street. For example, our first character is [a coffee pioneer]. Basically, this guy will be in the window, experimenting with coffee, filling cups, smelling the roast and interacting with the people – it’s really playful. It’s what I've wanted to do in the city for a really long time."
Will there be seasonal changes to the café’s fit out?
"With the city store, it won’t be as commonly changed as Alexandria. The advantage in Alexandria is we have a lot of space to play with so we can change things up a bit more whereas in the city it’s such a small venue. So there will be more styling changes, for example, the windows, installations and displays will change throughout the year to keep it interesting for the locals as well as the people visiting on the weekend."
Can you give our readers style tips from the Grounds that translate to the home?
"In the city store at the back wall, there’s a bookshelf I styled, it has been getting a lot of attention on social media. Anyone can replicate this at home. I stacked old books in different ways – some in odd piles of three, some flipped on the side some showing the bind, some showing without the bind – to create more of an organic styling structure. The bookshelf is a bit more masculine – I have a telescope and a horse head and some dried hydrangeas in a bronze vase there. I suggest adding a few elements so it doesn’t feel like your cliché bookshelf."
What about flowers?
"We have taken a different approach in the city because we didn’t want to just copy what we did in Alexandria. The flowers I’ve used in the city venue are all dried – it’s all part of the stepping back in time theme. We wanted that aged and more authentic look over everything being and feeling so new."
Are there any trends you incorporated in the new project that you foresee coming to home interiors?
"I’d say the colour palette definitely – mustard, burnt burgundy, tobaccos, maroon and bottle green. Right now, you see them popping up in fashion quite a bit. It’s quite nice to incorporate some of these warmer, rusty tones in the home. We'll see a bit more of that over the next couple of years – accent ottomans or upholstered lounges, even wallpaper – we used some wallpaper [in the café] I am such a fan of it and I think people are getting less afraid to use it."
Is there anything, in particular, you want to point out about the Grounds of the City?
"There are some cool bottles that I sourced in the venue. They are from the 19-hundreds from a pharmacy in France. They now hold our coffee beans. I changed the label to say where the beans are from and we’ve written the farm name of each bean on each bottle, which is kind of a cool element. And, in the waiting room, as you enter the space on the left, there are old coffee grinders from between 1900 and 1950. I’ve sourced them from all around the world."
The Grounds of the City, 500 George St, Sydney, NSW, 2000
For more style tips from Therese, head here.