“If you’ve been inspired to set a proper table on a Tuesday for takeout,” then you might want to visit OKA, says Krista Stelling, the posh British home goods and furniture brand’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Although the 22-year-old brand has been operating an online shop stateside since 2019, its new Upper Kirby store is OKA’s first American brick-and-mortar shop.
Why Houston, you ask? Sue Jones, one of OKA’s three founders and the current creative director, was blown away with our hospitality and family-oriented, traditional design when she visited a few years ago, says Stelling.
“It’s based in tradition,” says Stelling, “but tradition that is elevated.”
And that’s exactly OKA’s mood board. There is tradition in its pieces—you could easily see them in a Downton Abbey-esque estate—but they’re also approachable and could just as easily fit in a casual Houston home with three kids trampling around.
Whether you’re looking to completely redesign your home or to just wander a real-life Pinterest board, here are five things we love about the new shop.
The ability to mix and match
Life isn’t static, and neither should be your home design. OKA is all about layering, colors, and switching out pieces. Take its lamps: Instead of a harp and finial, OKA uses carriers to attach lampshades, and the brand encourages you swap out shades whenever the mood strikes you.
And if flipping out lampshades just isn’t enough, try throw pillows. The store houses 249 different down pillow designs in silk, linen, fur (dyed goat hair), and velvet. If you’re wondering, that makes for 2,001,460 different combinations, according to OKA. Stelling suggests grabbing pillows and positioning them on the store’s couches until you find the perfect arrangement.
One of the easiest ways to elevate your lifestyle is to switch out your mishmash collection of plates and plastic cups for a complete dishware set, and OKA has options in every price point. OKA’s signature Kraak china pattern (prices from $35), which was inspired from a wasabi pot in a market in China, is “crazy, amazing, affordable, and beautiful,” says Stelling. Plus, it’s dishwasher and microwave safe.
You might also love OKA’s tabletop collaboration with New York fashion designer Adam Lippes. The whimsically floral collection ($60–$255) includes bone porcelain china, glassware, and napkins.
The attention to detail
The selection is by no means large in the 9,000-square-foot space—Gallery Furniture it is not—but every piece fits the casual, yet chic style. “It’s very curated, it’s very edited,” says Stelling. “It’s very British.”
Part of that edited look is an attention to detail. Chairs, couches, and pillows are all finished with beautiful piping. The faux florals look and feel like they were freshly picked from your garden that morning.
Need more examples? The pagoda TV cabinet ($1,995) carries its design through to the inside of the cabinet and around the back, and Stelling says the brand spent years perfecting its faux shagreen (a type of rawhide) material, which you can find in planters, side tables, stools, and more.
What good is a pretty side table if you never actually use it? OKA is all about functionality. Love rattan? Get the beautiful, honey-brown rattan dog bed (from $350). Need extra seating in your living room? Many of the brand’s ottomans can double as a coffee table. Or try one of OKA’s best-selling George club chairs (from $2,195), which are “built to be a petite comfortable chair that can fit into every nook and cranny,” says Stelling.
One standout piece is the blackened pine Winglefield Extending Dining Table. It seats 10, perfect for your typical dining room. But if you want to perhaps host a larger party (you have to invite everyone to Thanksgiving, right?), the table can extend out and seat up to 18. Just remember, according to OKA, the ideal number of dinner party guests is seven.
The playfulness of its accessories
OKA makes sure to not take itself too seriously. “It’s a little British in the way that you would think about the humor and so forth,” says Stelling. Wander the store and you’ll crack a smile at the quirky accessories. Think large lizard book ends ($80) and gold decorative turtles and octopi ($20 and $65, respectively). There are even dancing mice ornaments ($20), which, says Stelling, are traditional in the United Kingdom. “It was actually one of the first things that we sold,” she says. “People love a mouse.”
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. OKA Houston, 3461 W Alabama St. oka.com