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Decorist Designer Katja O'Brien Selected For The Womens Project 2015

JULY 15, 2015

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Decorist Designer, Katja O'Brien, was selected as a one of the New Influencers for The Womens Project 2015. A project that showcases inspiring women with interesting and accomplished backgrounds, it doesn't come as much of a surprise to us that Katja was presented this recognition! Widely respected for her keen design and fashion eye, Katja's cultured background and glamorous modern style, translates to chic, polished, and welcoming spaces for her Decorist clients. In light of this recognition, we invited Katja to take over this week's blog post and share her story and styling tips.


And if you're wondering where this beautiful photography came from, thank talented blogger/photographer Lauri Levenfeld of TWP!


Katja O'Brien sitting in front of painting + decorative objects


Since living on three different continents and in four different countries, I’ve had the on-going challenge of constantly redesigning my homes to make them comfortable, stylish, and feel like me. My aim is to blend local pieces, collected pieces, and anything else I love. Whether it be inherited antiques, items purchased out of necessity, or unique travel finds, cohesive incorporation can often feel like a challenge. However, if I have learned anything from grappling and experimenting with this for a long time, it's that at the end of the day, there are no strict rules for interior design—it’s mostly about finding your personal style and what makes you happy. It's this that I'm constantly keeping in mind when designing my own home and working with clients. I aim for the essence of who they are, where they have been, and where they hope to go. This is one of the reasons I love working with Decorist—I feel so lucky to design for interesting clients from all over the globe.


Katja O'Brien in front of Museum


This photograph of myself at the De Young Museum has a tremendous personal connection. My mother worked in the Africa, Oceania, and Americas department at the De Young for 30 years. Because of her, I’ve been exposed to art my whole life and apply this to my design instincts and personal style.  


When I approach interior design, I like to work in threes. I love clustering pillows of different shapes, stacking accessories of varying heights, and introducing bold colors - all in threes. I introduce a color with three different items, and they can be as small as a hint of red or pink in a painting, or as obvious as a frame or throw. And when it comes to color or pattern, each of us have certain colors that appeal to our inner senses. For example, some like classic grey, others prefer blue or coral, and some hot pink! So, I get a hint of which palettes to work with when adding pops of color to a client's space.


Katja O'Brien Decorative Accessories Design Image


While living in Asia and completing a docent program, I gained an understanding of Buddha's principles of mindfulness and balance. I bought this Buddha during my stay as a daily reminder. They say that the Buddha does not become yours until it speaks to you, and I waited many months to find mine. Finally, I saw this marble Buddha in the city of Burma, and I knew it was the one!


Katja O'Brien Decorative Accesories Design Image


Layering is one of my favorite ways to add warmth and texture to a space. For example, buffalo horn boxes and two silver deities layered on top of fabulous coffee table books and placed next to an antique Chinese lunchbox. Or, pops of pink and orange, with organic elements of wood and silver, layered together for an eclectic and purposeful look. Accessories are like a fabulous bow on a present. You can have great wrapping paper, but the bow adds the wow and pulls the whole thing together. I especially love pink. I think it's having a renaissance this year.


Katja O'Brien & daughter in blue and yellow room


With children, I try to keep a sense of tradition and style while reflecting who they are and what they like at that given time. Right now, for my daughter, it’s all about turquoise! Having a classic bed with an ability to switch out bedding as a child grows, is one of the best and most economical ways to update a look.


Katja O'Brien with her children on white bed


I love the simple element of crisp white sheets and classic bedding. Free of clutter, but with the addition of lots of pillows and warm lighting; this kind of space becomes one where I can recharge my batteries, and of course, perfect to snuggle with my kids! A house is not a home until it's overflowing with personality and livability. And this is what I am all about!


If you’re interested in getting design help from me, pop over to my designer profile on Decorist, and start a start an online interior design project. I’ll be waiting for you!


To see other ways Katja's design style has come to life, and hear more stories from her time spent abroad, stop by The Womens Project.

Beautiful interior design.

Easy, affordable, and all online.




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