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:
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.
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!
Here is a French inspired oak dining room table. In the back are fabulous, huge blue and white oriental pieces.
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.
Here, red and blue ticking striped pillows steal the show. Love the red table to the left.
Typically English - textiles used as bedspread. Note the seashell candlelit sconces. The lattice lamps are bestsellers of OKA Direct.
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.
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!
Matching pillows and curtains for sale. The red lampshades pop the room's already bright colors.
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?
Slipcovered furniture with wonderful, huge matching ottoman.
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.
Matching headboard and drapes and bedding available.
I adore this piece of furniture. The price is so low - you can buy two, one for each side of the fireplace.
Hanging textile - Tree of Life pattern. Love this! When have you ever seen something like this for sale in America?
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.
I love the detailed button closure on these slipcovers. Great painted china cupboard in the back.
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.
Gustavian styled console and mirror. So pretty.
Love this!!!! A corner of a room showing chinoiserie pieces by OKA Direct.
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.
Oriental dinnerware. These fabulous plates are available along with salad, soup bowls, etc. from OKA Direct.
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.
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?