A U.K. retailer is about to open a store in Dallas’ Knox District that it says is on trend with a change to traditional interior design with color and patterns versus modern stark beige and gray.
It marks the first flag in North Texas for the brand OKA, the British home furnishings company that learned nuances of the U.S. market with its 2018 purchase of Dallas-based Wisteria.
Texas is the second-most savvy market for interior design after the tri-state New York region, said Krista Stelling, OKA senior vice president.
“It’s part of the culture here. The way people treat their homes and the way they want to live is important to Texans,” Stelling said. “Hiring a decorator is normal in Texas. People just do it.”
Traditional design is on an upswing, and some are trying to name the style “grandmillennial,” she said. Better Homes & Gardens said the trend is an “ode to old school” and an “antidote to the mid-century modern interiors and minimalists.”
It’s why design is featuring more wallpaper, florals and color. Millennials are early adopters, breaking from their parents’ leanings toward “everything neutral,” Stelling said. “Think floral chintz from the 1980s. Reese Witherspoon’s style. It’s like going back and updating your grandmother’s rooms.”
OKA will open its 9,000-square-foot store on Nov. 1 on McKinney Avenue just south of Knox Street. The space had been occupied by RH until May, when that store completed a newly built location around the corner.
London-based OKA opened its first U.S. store in April in Houston in a former Wisteria. OKA purchased Wisteria from its founders Andrew and Shannon Newsom, but decided last year to close the homegrown concept and move ahead through the pandemic with one brand. Its brand name was sold to a Georgia-based company which is operating online as Wisteria.
OKA, pronounced oh-ka, has a whimsical story behind its name. The three founders of the brand in 1999 — Sue Jones, Annabel Astor and Lucinda Waterhouse — traveled the world for goods and design. They were inspired by rich natural colors, including the earthy yellow ocher color of curry. They decided to name their home furnishings brand ocher, but with a British accent, losing the “r” sound.
The long space has two entrances, on McKinney Avenue and in the back off a parking lot. It will have spaces and vignettes that the store describes as unfussy elegance, with inviting armchairs and lamp bases that can be mixed and matched with patterned fabric shades. Tablescapes are layered with block-print tablecloths, colored glassware, and OKA’s signature blue-and-white Kraak china.
“This store will be one of our absolute shining stars, because Dallas is a sophisticated design market,” Stelling said.
Kips Bay Decorator Show House, a big charity event in New York, selected Dallas as its second city for that reason, she said. This year, 26 top U.S. designers and architects are transforming 5138 Deloache Ave. in Preston Hollow’s Sunnybrook Estates. It opens to the public Sept. 24 and funds several local charities, including Dwell with Dignity, a nonprofit that works to house homeless families.
OKA, which operates 13 stores in the U.K., will open its third U.S. store in February in Westport, Conn.
Looking for more retail coverage? Click here to read all retail news and updates. Click here to subscribe to D-FW Retail and more newsletters from The Dallas Morning News.