27 May 2008

OKA Direct

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One of my favorite pastimes is perusing catalogues.  Wisteria, based out of Dallas Texas, is owned by a young power couple Shannon and Andrew Newsom.  Andrew is the son of Veranda magazine's founder and editor, Lisa Newsom, and Shannon is the daughter of fabulous Houston interior designer  Jane Moore.  It's no wonder that Wisteria is filled with wonderful things for the home.    It is probably my top  decor catalogue right now.  But, there is another one that I adore equally:  OKA Direct.  The problem is that OKA Direct  is based out of England and, well, shipping can be a problem with larger items.    I have purchased from them before, quite easily in fact - so it definitely can be done.  Which is great news if you like their merchandise as much as I do.  OKA Direct was started in 1999 by three woman, one of whom is the titled, Annabel Astor, Viscountess Astor, mother-in-law to Britain's Conservative Party leader David Cameron.  So, with a Viscountess as its CEO, is it any wonder that OKA Direct is not just some mediocre, fly by night catalogue company?  The three woman design and commission each item they sell.  The quality is high, the prices are low.  I adore the pictures in the catalogue - some of which are taken in the homes of the owners.    The web site is equally pleasing to look at, but a word of warning - the pages load so slowly, I've given up on copying the images a few times!

OKA Direct has about nine retail stores around Great Britain and over the years I often thought - what a great company to bring to America!  OK, I'm not up to that formidable task, but someone should make it happen!  Here are some of my favorite shots from the catalogue:

 

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Yes, this is a catalogue and everything here is for sale.  I love the black chair and desk and the hanging tapestry, which is actually a piece of fabric.

 

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Here is their large slipcovered sectional sofa.  All of their sofas are slipcovered.   Great coffee table.  But the hanging prints make this picture, and no, the prints are not for sale!

 

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Here is a French inspired oak dining room table.  In the back are fabulous, huge blue and white oriental pieces.

 

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I love the nude oil painting in a catalogue picture.  Pottery Barn would never do this!!!  Note the icy blue pillows mixed with the bright colored "cushions" as the English call their pillows.   Love the black, oriental trunk used as a coffee table.

 

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Here, red and blue ticking striped pillows steal the show.  Love the red table to the left.

 

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Typically English - textiles used as bedspread.  Note the seashell candlelit sconces.  The lattice lamps are bestsellers of OKA Direct.

 

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Gustavian styled dining room furniture.  I adore the cabinet in the back with its chicken wire doors.  Why can't we get inexpensive gray painted furniture like this in America?  Someone could make a killing manufacturing this here.

 

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So English:  oriental rug layered over seagrass.  Paisley textile layered on the sofa.  Jammed bookcases.  Black painted furniture.   Garden seat and red oriental trunk.   The accessories on top of the bookcase are for sale.    Love this room!

 

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Matching pillows and curtains for sale.  The red lampshades pop the room's already bright colors.

 

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OKA Direct sells this indianne styled fabric in yards and bedding.  Note the French chair and ottoman.  Again - why can't we get great, French-styled furniture on the cheap here? 

 

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Slipcovered furniture with wonderful, huge matching ottoman. 

 

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French styled dining room table and chairs with slipcovers that turn ordinary seats into something special.  Red and white dhurri rug also comes in blue and white. 

 

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Matching headboard and drapes and bedding available. 

 

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I adore this piece of furniture.  The price is so low - you can buy two, one for each side of the fireplace.

 

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Hanging textile - Tree of Life pattern.  Love this!  When have you ever seen something like this for sale in America?

 

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Book cases for sale  - I adore the way OKA Direct styled this with books covered in manilla paper.  This is a great way to unify desperate books in a decorative way.   I have never found the willing client to do this though!  Notice the large concrete balls used as book holders.

 

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I love the detailed button closure on these slipcovers.  Great painted china cupboard in the back.

 

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Another inexpensive chinoiserie styled cabinet.  Again - a lot of look for not much cash.  A great way to get this look until you can afford the "real" thing.

 

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Gustavian styled console and mirror.  So pretty.

 

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Love this!!!!  A corner of a room showing  chinoiserie pieces by OKA Direct. 

 

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Only the English know what to do with a paisley throw.  Here it is used as a bedspread.  Notice the french styled chaise lounge on the left - this is another great piece by OKA Direct.

30.5cm Dia. Large Dinner Plate

Oriental dinnerware.   These  fabulous plates are available along with salad, soup bowls, etc.  from OKA Direct.

 

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This is a picture of Californian interior designer Michael S. Smith's own breakfast room.   He uses the OKA Direct oriental plates for everyday dishes and claims the dishes are some of his favorite styling pieces.

 

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 Cote de Texas' dining room - on the right on the floor is one of a pair of OKA Direct large blue and white oriental jars.  I ordered these and they were delivered about a month later.  It was almost as easy as ordering stateside.  The only difference was after the order was place, I had to confirm it several days later before it was shipped out. 

 

What is your favorite catalogue?  Do you know any that are relatively unknown that you would like to share?

 

49 comments:

  1. Hi, I live in London and I love OKA. But I do wish we had Pottery Barn,Crate and Barrel and WSHome here! And you guys Stateside have it better in some ways as OKA ships overseas. Its almost impossible to find US stores that do International shipping!

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  2. Joni, another great post! Love the chair in the second photo. We have two black desks similar to the one pictured, so I'm definitely going to look into OKA. Love the Tree of Life textile as well.

    BTW, just yesterday (online somewhere) I saw a book collection wrapped in white. It looked so nice and organized, but I wondered how they could tell which book was which! Really small titles?

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  3. This is a timely post for me, as I am heading over to the UK this summer! I will definitely check out the OKA store.

    I am very surprised that the costs are still reasonable considering the horrendous exchange rate right now! The dollar is SO weak, it makes most things coming out of England very very expensive.

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  4. I continue to learn so much from you! Thanks for another great post. I had never heard of OKA, I shall add it to my folder.

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  5. Well gosh Joni, I now understand why it's a favorite of yours! I love their Chinoiserie pieces.

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  6. Hey Joni, love your blog! I have a question for you. My parents live in a Victorian home in McKinney, TX. They recently got a piece of furniture which they think is French and they call it (this is a sound spelling) Bor-nah. It is like a round chair/couch thing that all (4 or 3) chairs face out and share the same back. It does not have a flat side to go against a wall. Do you know what it is called or how to spell it so I can Google it.

    Thanks!

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  7. So many wonderful things to love in these images!

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  8. You are seriously the most resourceful person! Thanks for sharing the OKA find.

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  9. I must look into OKA! I was a goner right from that first photo! Blue and white pieces are a great love of mine and oh my. These photos are all so wonderful.
    I could be happily cocooned in any of these rooms...
    I do so love your dining room. The gorgeous French doors, floor to ceiling curtains, the *to die for* sconces, sea grass, lovely table cover and the blue and white...shall I keep going? *sigh*

    You are such a font of inspirational ideas and information.

    I can not say I have too many *new* ideas for looking...I just jump on line and look...I get the "normal" cache of catalogs, I.E. Pottery Barn, IKEA, Ballard. etc.

    Thank you again for directing all of us to OKA Direct!

    Hugs,
    Sue

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  10. OMG! Where have I been?! This is wonderful, so thanks for the intro. Even if I don't buy anything, the beautiful images are a great resource for design inspiration in and of themselves.

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  11. Joni-
    I just went to the website to request a catalog. And you know in the US where they ask for your title, it says Mr. Mrs....etc. On the OKA site the possibilities are endless: Archbishop, Baroness,Countess,Dame, Lady, Hrh Princess, Queen....there are many more.
    I almost put Princess just to see what would happen. ;)

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  12. Wisteria and Oka... here I come. You had me hooked as soon as I saw blue and white ! One of my favorite caralogues is the Maine Cottage Catalogue

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  13. What a great resource, no surprise. And Joni? Your fortune awaits! You, girlfriend are just the gal to start up that reproduction business. Can't wait to see your catalogues.

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  14. Love your dining room. I see you have your favorites...sea grass rug, chandelier, and wall sconces. You would be so proud of me. I just added a chandelier to my guest room yesterday. I haven't posted it yet. I'm still tweaking it. Love to read your blog. Hugs and Kisses, Kim

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  15. Joni, Just took a quick peek at your blog to see if I will have some treats to drool over this evening and I ran right over to the site to order my catalogue. Did you notice there is a long list of titles to pic from? I wanted to check Princess!
    PS...Love your DR shot..Mary

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  16. Joni, I would love to have this catalog! What beautiful things and inspiration galore!

    Thanks for another great post!
    Pat

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  17. This catalog is a new one to me, so I guess I'll have to get on the mailing list now! Love all these pics. I get Horchow and Brocade and Pottery Barn all the time, but it's fun to see new ones. As usual, seeing these pics makes me want to throw out everything I own & start over.

    That's not likely to happen though!
    Fun post...

    Rhoda

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  18. OKA is way ahead of Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel...the English have just that touch of femininity that the American companies just (usually) don't get!

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  19. Hi everyone!!! Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comments - it makes all the work worth it when I get such nice comments - I mean that from the bottom of my heart!!!

    Even after a year, it's still a thrill to open my mailbox and have comments waiting to be read!!

    Thanks again - and have a great short work week.

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  20. What a great resource. THANK YOU

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  21. Joni:

    Great WEB site... the classic blue and white are always fresh! Your dining room is wonderful!!!...the chandelier and the sconces remind me of Aidan Gray....they are beautiful...love the touch of yellow on the table cloth.. Fay

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  22. Love your site! Another suggestion as far as online home stores would be Z Gallerie - not sure if it's in most states?? but check out their website, www.zgallerie.com you can find some great knock offs!!

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  23. Ohhhh,love,love,love OKA Direct! I promptly went over and drooled over all the lovely things they have to offer! You can bet I will get on their mailing list :o) Thanks for sharing such an amazing shopping source with all of us!!!
    ~Des

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  24. Ohhhh,love,love,love OKA Direct! I promptly went over and drooled over all the lovely things they have to offer! You can bet I will get on their mailing list :o) Thanks for sharing such an amazing shopping source with all of us!!!
    ~Des

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  25. ooo, the beautiful goodness everywhere! a feast for my eyes!

    thank you thank you thank you, Joni, as ALWAYS.

    xo

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  26. first, I love your blog; second, what is the paint color in your dining room? I have seen the room in a few shots and love the paint color. I would love the info. Thanks!

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  27. You really have so much to share. All those images above are so lovely and so nice to look at. I am really a fan of your well-written and informative blog.

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  28. Lovely! I like the photo with all the frames - just wonderful.

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  29. Joni, I have a question... I read somewhere that you liked to leave your sconces lit. Since you have them all over the house...which ones stay lit? I ask because I too have a passion for sconces and have several. Thanks.

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  30. Wow! A new catalogue! Love it. I love wisteria and wshome and horchow. Another I love is www.sourceperrier.com. I got firescreens for all my fireplaces there, and they are really striking. I also love the way you can shop by looking at pictures of inspirational rooms. If you don't know this one, you're going to like it.

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  31. Anonymous - Yes, I do keep my sconces on 24/7 = except the ones in my bedroom - I never turn the others off. I use silicon tipped bulbs - 5 to 7 watts each- so the the sconces are very low lighted and it doesn't cost a lot to keep them lit - probably like an alarm clock.

    Jeanie - I love source perrier too!!! gret catalogue!!

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  32. really love your blog. my friend julie neill/bayou contessa told me to have a look. i just began to blog about shopping on magazine street in new orleans. please have a look and give me some pointers if you get a chance. thanks

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  33. Magazine Covered:
    I'd love to read your blog- email me the address ok?

    email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

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  34. Joni, I love Wisteria and will definitely check out the others. My latest purchase from Wisteria was really done to prove a point. I noticed at a few shops in Houston (shall I give names?), well okay, I'm anonymous anyway. Area, Skelton-St. John, and Memorial Antiques all are selling these reproduction urns. The cheapest that I could find them in Houston is $1,000 at Skelton. Well, I opened up the latest Wisteria catalog and there they were for $149.00!!!!. I ordered one just so that I could prove that they were the same and yes they are! Can you believe it?

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  35. anon - email me! I am not sure what urns you are talking about but I want to know!!!

    email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

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  36. OKA has some great pieces. The English have such innate style...

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  37. I'm heading directly to oka direct...hope there is a web site! I've been trying so hard to stay away from the usual catalogs!

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  38. Eye Candy Is Right! Love the gray painted furniture (something you never see) and despite not being a 'blue' person I really am starting to like gray-blue.

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  39. Excellent post. I need to get on the list ASAP :)

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  40. Love all these images, and how have I not heard of this company, thank you for sharing Joni!!

    ~Kate

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