OKA Westport Bursts With Color

OKA's co-founder and creative director discusses the brand's newly opened U.S. flagship store.
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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

If you have strolled down Westport’s Main Street recently, perhaps you noticed the Bunched by OKA faux (but very real-looking) flowers in the window of a massive storefront. British brand OKA has made its way to the East Coast to open its stateside flagship, with stores already in Dallas and Houston.

Next time you walk by, bring your own vessel and head inside, where a florist will help you create the perfect arrangement—whether for a dinner party or just because. With 14,500 square feet spread across two floors, Bunched by OKA is just the beginning of the flagship shop. The massive space bursts with innovative furnishings, eye-catching tablescapes, and playful accessories—plus color at every corner.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

CTC&G: What was the vision for the Westport store?
Sue Jones, OKA cofounder & creative director:
Westport is a huge milestone for us in many ways. It’s the first time we are bringing OKA to the East Coast, which is hugely exciting, and it’s our biggest store yet, so we wanted it to be truly delighting—an experience as soon as you step inside. Which I’m pleased to say it really is—you walk in, and your eyes are a bit like saucers. OKA is all about making your home a reflection of who you are and what you love, a place full of warmth and personality, and we wanted the store to showcase that. It’s a treasure trove of inspiration and displays our particular niche of British style perfectly.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

Favorite part of the new space & why?
It’s hard to choose! I do love our Tailored by OKA setup. Tailored is our handmade-to-order seating service, that we designed in house in the UK, and they’re made in the States in North Carolina. There are sofas, armchairs, and a footstool in the collection, which are beautiful, and beautifully arranged in-store. They look so inviting, you just want to throw yourself down on them—which is dangerous as they’re extremely comfortable so it can be hard to get up.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

How does color play into the new store’s design?
Color is a huge part of our identity; I think our use of it is part of what makes us unique. We’ve been bold with it in Westport, it’s really everywhere you look. We’ve pulled out some complementary shades, some of them that you might not think to use, from our pieces and used them on the walls and the effect is quite striking. It’s another playful way to ignite our customer’s imaginations and get them thinking about what they could do with color in their own homes.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

With 16 colorways for the Stafford dining chair, is there one that tends to be more popular than the others? Which is your favorite?
I always say that ‘the best color is your favorite color,’ and that logic has certainly proven correct when it comes to the Staffords—every color is popular! I think that’s why they’re such a signature of ours, there really is a Stafford for everyone’s tastes. And we add new options all the time. I do have a particular soft spot for the jewel-toned velvets, they have such depth to them.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

There are millions of ways to mix-and-match OKA’s pillows. What’s your favorite combination?
It changes all the time. I’m a huge advocate of switching up your cushions from season to season—it breathes new life into your sitting room or bedroom so easily. But I like to have a combination of different shapes and sizes, and some patterned, with different scales, and some plain. A good tip is to pick out a color or two from your printed cushions and mirror them on your plain ones for a cohesive look.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis

Advice for those who are afraid to incorporate color into their design?
Try not to take it too seriously. Designing a room, and adding color in particular, should be fun! And don’t be afraid to test out a variety of options; play around until you find a palette you feel comfortable with. If you are starting a room from scratch, my advice would be to find a colorful piece that you really love—a rug, for instance—and use the shades within that to anchor and guide the color of the rest of the room. Color doesn’t have to be big and bold to be used effectively either, bringing in more muted tones on small things like throws or ornaments can feel less daunting, but still add that vivacity to a space.

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OKA Westport, Photographer: Kris Ellis