Today, I’m going to create a new home color palette inspired by OKA! But, oh man, the blogging gods were conspiring to make life difficult for me. However, it is done, and I think you will enjoy this post.
Why the puzzled looks? Oh wait, I think I know.
What the hell is OKA? Right?
It reminds me of that slimy vegetable I can’t stand, okra. My wasband adored it. No further comment.
If you live in Dallas or Houston, Texas, you’re far more likely to know what it is. But, if you live in the UK, you almost definitely know what it is.
OKA is an English home furnishings brand developed by Lady Annabel Astor and two friends.
It goes back to 1999, when they began their first catalog-only business. The first retail shop opened in London in 2000. From there, numerous other shops and a shopping app. And finally, in 2019, OKA was made available to us in the US for the first time.
2021 saw its first US shop open in Houston, TX in 2021, followed by the second in Dallas.
OKA store in Westport, CT
A third store just opened in Westport, CT. And many other shops are in the planning stages.
The name OKA comes not from okra but from the color “ochre.” The owners feel this color is innately British. It is “a blend of cultures and aesthetics working in perfect harmony, which is at the heart of everything we do.”
They go on to say:
“The magic of OKA is the mix: hand-picked global treasures, rich textures and patterns, and timeless furniture profiles. It’s ever-changing but unwaveringly British; elegant and easy-going; sophisticated but never stiff.”
Their website is artfully done, and their room vignettes are beautiful. While there is a strong neutral base, the rooms also have rich, sophisticated colors in varying amounts.
A kind reader recently sent me an email lamenting the prevalence of the European trend of artisanal, mono-chromatic, minimalist
While there are hints of that banal style, the bland minimalist style is like a cannoli with nothing inside.
OKA has the fantastic crisp shell, AND the rich ricotta filling is liberally laced with bits of bitter-sweet chocolate and more. The OKA style is filled with both classic and classic contemporary pieces. It is unmatched and wonderfully eclectic.
Pretty much everything goes with everything. So, it’s difficult to go wrong.
Already, I have some favorite pieces.
However, what inspired this new home color palette, are primarily two things.
(Please note, if there’s no link under the images, it’s because it will appear again in the widget at the bottom of the post.)
This gorgeous pillow is made from Schumacher’s Cranley Garden.
AND this lovely vignette from OKA.
The charming sideboard is on sale for about a quarter of the original price! And, I’m quite mad about those little lamps. These do not exist in nature on this side of the pond. Well, not until recently.
If you missed the note, the lamp is linked to later in the widget. At only 16″ high, this little lamp is lovely, as shown above on the fireplace mantel. But, this lamp will fit quite nicely under an overhead kitchen cabinet, assuming the cabinet is at least 18″ above the counter.
Oh, Laurel! Don’t be silly! You can’t paint a NEW lamp!
I paint new stuff all the time. I’ve even done so for clients. No biggie. I mean, what do you think is going to happen? Like, the paint police will show up and cart you away or something?
Oh, dear… Please, officer, I promise the lamps won’t match anything; they will coordinate. ;]
But, seriously, if you are looking for decorating inspiration, OKA has hundreds of gorgeous room settings and vignettes on their website.
Everything above is from the eclectic home furnishings collection at OKA. But, here’s how nuts I am.
I was looking for a higher res version of this image. However, I could only find one with the art cut-off and one with much of the chic little side table missing. So, krazy-Laurel took the two images (which incidentally did not match colorwise) to Picmonkey, my internet home away from laurel home.
I manipulated the images to match as closely as possible and virtually spliced them together, and there it is!
I looked high and low for this fantastic little sectional, but either it’s out of stock or discontinued. It’s perfect for smaller rooms.
Another thing I LOVE about this collection is how well it coordinates with other brands like Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily, and Jayson Home, to name a few. In addition, because many of their furnishings are of a more traditional or vintage nature, the collection works beautifully with your traditional vintage pieces. That is one or two.
When the ratio becomes too even, things begin to look like a mishmash.
I also looked at lots of other fabrics that might go in these rooms. Of course, there are millions.
But, do you guys know this English brand, Lewis & Wood? They are all over the UK, and I struggled to find them in the US, but finally, I found their US website. And, they do have a headquarters in Long Island. This is a trade-only company.
Anyway, I discovered this cool fabric that also comes as wallpaper.
It’s called Wild Thing by Lewis & Wood. You’ll find it in the widget, as it’s sold at Chairish!
A detailed shot of Wild Thing. You can see him in the upper left.
This is insanely expensive fabric as it’s hand-screened, not printed with a machine. However, it’s so beautiful, I was sure there would be pillows on Etsy, but no, so I had to virtually make one which you’ll see in a bit.
One important thing to note about this fabric and some of the images on OKA.
The colors can vary substantially from image to image. In the case of this fabric, I have seen muted and vibrant versions. Therefore, before ordering, I would definitely get samples of all fabrics. You should, in any case, but especially so with this fabric.
You’ll see it again in another colorway in the widget, as it’s sold on Chairish!
However, you’ll enjoy this clever time-lapse video on Instagram showing two chairs getting a makeover with Wild Thing and a coordinating velvet.
Someone called it #upholsteryporn.
One more “Wild Thing” that most Americans will hate almost as much as marmite.
Fair warning: Please prepare yourselves, as you will have trouble “unseeing” this. ;]
Their caption is — “Why wait?”
That’s some crazy brilliant marketing. Of course, they own the company, and maybe they had some flawed rolls that were unsellable, so someone had this wild idea. I have to say if this were cleaned up and the rest only about 25% that messed up, I do like this old-weathered look.
However, I realize that most people like things to be pristine.
Next up, I made a collage for you with furnishings from OKA and other brands. I also included a few vintage pieces. This is what took forever to put together. But, I’m happy with how it turned out.
While I like an unmatched, slightly off-color color scheme, I felt that the dark blue drapes in the original image were too off. However, this is a prevalent trend I’ve seen from many notable British designers. I still love me some Ben [Pentreath], but I’m not so fond of when he stretches the scheme so far; it doesn’t create tension, but it creates an unsettled feeling like not playing the last note of a symphony.
The large cabinet in the upper right is on sale and a fraction of the original price.
I love the blue-gray interior. There are doors where you see none. However, I took them off for the image. That dashed line on the right of the cabinet is part of the image background that I overlooked in the smaller size.
All these colors and furnishings could go in the same home, even adjacent rooms.
At the bottom is a large home color palette inspired by the furnishings on the board.
This palette board was done last fall when I did a home color palette inspired by the gorgeous work of McGrath II.
For the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection, (please click the link for more info) each board comes with 12 colors. These are the colors found in the rooms, not necessarily as paint colors. The idea of the colors is not that every color will be used on the walls. However, a lead color can be featured heavily in one room. Other rooms might have a lot less of that color.
Above is a larger version of this sophisticated color palette. Overall, their colors are neutral and subdued. However, there are the occasional pops of red, orange, ochre, and bright green.
As promised, below is a widget filled with OKA home furnishings, as well as other brands and furnishings that coordinate with their eclectic English style.
please click on any image for more information.
I hope you enjoyed this post featuring an elegant home color palette.