Inside Casa Kassa: This New Store In Makati Offers Vintage And Modern Furniture & Home Accessories
In its few years in the industry, KASSA has become a household name and rightfully so. The lifestyle brand has truly evolved, in all the best ways, to become an eclectic mix of vintage, modern furniture, and home accessories. Now, KASSA finds its home in a gem of a place in Makati City, a true one-stop shop for furniture and home accents you would not be able to find anywhere else.
It all started with a home renovation and an inherent yet cultivated passion for beautiful pieces. “I was looking for furniture and accent pieces, and I realized there was a niche in the market. I wanted, in particular, 18th and 19th-century pieces, as well as mid-century furniture, European pieces which I couldn’t find locally. So I decided to source them myself and bring them in,” Karen Santos, owner and founder of KASSA, divulges.
The fashion designer-turned-curator of beautiful things for the home has always found inspiration from her travels. She spent time as a student in Europe, in England, Switzerland, and Italy. It was then that she learned just how people could live such contemporary lives with furniture from various eras and periods of time.
“They were house-proud; their home was alive with the things they loved and used on a daily basis. The home, I realized, is the centerpiece of one’s style and individuality. It’s the ideal platform for self-expression,” she shares. It was in the renovation of her home years ago that Karen looked to Europe, once more, and found exciting finds and treasures, encountering designers, dealers, and collectors, as well as other like-minded souls who shared her penchant for beautiful home pieces. She found herself drawn to the versatility of European furniture, regardless of the period.
She says, “There is a substance and solidity to it. In a way, it is a reaction to the disposability of modern life. With my furniture, as with my linens, I try to create some permanence with pieces that are not discarded after a season.”
Evolution by design
As a fashion designer back in the 80s, Karen entered retail when she launched Kashieca, together with sisters Shiela and Camille. After the sale to Suyen Corporation over a decade ago, she found herself building a successful natural stone flooring business. “Like fashion, linens, and furniture, the appeal of stone is visual as well as tactile, and the construction and finish, not to mention installation, are important components of any project,” she says. “Otherwise, the beauty of the raw material is not shown to its best advantage.”
In whatever field the designer found herself in, one thing was clear—Karen has the eye. Now, with her business expanding from stone to linen, and now furniture, she has found herself in the company of creatives, much like herself. She works closely with designers and architects, some of whom have become mentors to her, who share their expertise and learnings over the years. In turn, she absorbs their advice and continues to learn from them as she refines her eye and picks up a few trade secrets along the way.
Karen believes that it’s all about individual expression, with the home as a personal theater. Finding herself playing with fabric and color, playful prints and patterns, she manages to bring out the youthful spirit of a period piece. The result? Fresh, young, and very much of-the-moment pieces that carry with them a timeless elegance.
Discover KASSA by Karen Santos at 3322 Harvard Street, Pinagkaisahan, Makati City. For more home design inspiration and for inquiries, follow Kassa on Instagram and Facebook at @KassabyKarenSantos.
*This article was originally published in Metro Society March 2019 issue.?
Photographs by Daniel Soriano for Metro Society magazine