They say a lot can happen in a year, and in 2021 that adage has been put to the test. At times it has been turbulent, but amidst the uncertainty there have been moments worth celebrating: enjoying a somewhat return to normality, time with family and friends and a greater appreciation for the little things in life.
There has been much to cheer about at OKA, too. In a year of stops and starts, we have kept moving. From the opening of our first stores in the US to exciting interior design projects and events, we’ve packed a lot into the past 12 months. Before we look ahead at what’s to come in 2022, read on to discover our highlights from 2021.
Ever since OKA launched in 1999, our Founders have dreamed of opening a store in America, and in 2021 we made that vision a reality—not once, but twice. In the spring, we were delighted to open our doors in Houston, Texas, bringing our collection of furniture and accessories state-side for the very first time. Located in the trendy Upper Kirby neighborhood, the new space offers an ever-changing series of fully decorated rooms, as well as a central greenhouse blooming with our collection of life-like faux plants and flowers.
After a wonderful introduction to the Texas design community, we opened our second US outpost in Dallas in the autumn. The Knox/Henderson-based store is set over one level, with our collection of furniture and décor arranged in a series of looks to inspire your own home—from a cozy cottage to a grand country estate and a smart townhouse. We celebrated the launch with a party hosted by VERANDA’s Senior Style and Market Editor Rachael Burrow, with cocktails, canapés and a panel of expert designers, who went head-to-head to spot the difference between American and British design.
Watch this space for our next move—we’ll be opening our third US store in Westport, Connecticut in 2022. Sign up to our email newsletter below to receive updates.
Steeped in history, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House has been a highlight in the interior design calendar since its launch in 1973, so we were thrilled to sponsor this year’s Dallas edition in October, ahead of our store opening. Hosted in aid of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, a volunteer organization that provides after-school enrichment programs to young people, the event brings leading interior designers together to transform a luxury home, room by room, into an exhibition of fine arts and furnishings. This year, the Dallas show house was set in a neo-Georgian mansion in Old Preston Hollow, where 26 designers and firms put their stamp on a series of spaces. The results were spectacular and varied, from maximalist bedrooms decked out in animal print to historically inspired spaces that told stories of days gone by.
This year we unveiled two new collections in spring and autumn, both of which featured exciting new pieces and fresh takes on our OKA icons. Our signature Stafford Range was expanded to include a new bench and dining chair with arms, bringing greater flexibility to the modern dining room or kitchen. For the home bar, we introduced an iteration of our beloved Pulcinella glassware reimaging the playful prints in champagne flute form. We also built on our Chinoiserie Range with the Gonglin Cabinet, a beautiful hand-painted piece inspired by traditional Chinese artworks.
Alongside our two seasonal collections, we created a series of looks to help inspire your interior design pursuits. From a country estate nestled in England’s bucolic Kent to a London townhouse more reminiscent of a Cycladic escape than an urban retreat, we sought new and exciting locations to bring our designs to life.
In the spring, a derelict barn nestled in an enchanting corner of English countryside set the stage for a truly unique project. British actress Donna Air enlisted the help of our expert Interior Designers to transform a former tractor showroom into a contemporary home. With an “old-meets-new” brief, the team set to work selecting OKA pieces that blended harmoniously with the building’s integral features: exposed brick walls, warm Cotswolds stone and a staircase brought in from an old Spitfire factory. The result is a peaceful space peppered with pattern, color and texture.
We love to see our customers getting creative with their OKA pieces, and our #MyOKAHome hashtag on Instagram lets us see them in action. Among our favorite posts of 2021 was Sara Quaglia’s at @saraandcatherinestales (pictured, right), who breathed new life into her 700-year-old English country cottage with our Fenghuang Table Lamp, Iro Pleated Linen Lampshade and Tarsia Pillow Cover. Another highlight was from British TV Host Louise Roe, who shared a snap on her interiors account @louiseroehome of her beloved Coleridge sofas in her London townhouse (pictured, left). We also loved Interior Designer Alice Grace’s “happy place”—a corner of her home decorated with several OKA pieces, which she shared on @alicegraceinteriors (pictured, center). From our Kraakware Ceramic Chinese Table Lamp to our Stafford Dining Chair, Abaneri Side Table and Bamarre Mirror, we can see why she loves the space so much.
We’d love to see how you style your OKA pieces, too—follow us @oka and use the hashtag #MyOKAHome to share your snaps with us.