I always love working with different designers for the first time, especially when I feel they are talented, innovative, and fun!! Ohara Davies-Gaetano of Bliss Design in Corona Del Mar, California, has been one of those designers to work with. She is not only the Head of Design for the entire Bliss Enterprise, consisting of 5 retail stores, a thriving design firm, and a wholesale furniture business, but this 30 something beauty has a fascinating story and a beautiful retail store, both of which I wanted to share with you all!!
Of course, how could I not love the store with this gorgeous hand-painted floor which, by the way, her artist father painted for her! Ohara originally dreamed of being a food writer and obtained her college degree in anthropology of food - What??? After graduating and following her then boyfriend, now fiance, Matt, to Atlanta, she got a job helping a design store bring in new products and make the space look pretty.
And PRETTY she did!! A customer, impressed with the store’s transformation, asked for help designing her house. The family had just moved to Atlanta from Europe, and even though Ohara was not a licensed designer, she ended up helping them with their entire home. “We took our time, I would go home at night and study options, and in the end, the house turned out amazing!”
Since that first project, at age 21, Ohara has gone on to help create a design empire over the past 13 years. There are two Bliss Home and Design stores in California, three sister stores in Dallas, a wholesale company called Bliss Studio, and her own firm, Bliss Design. It’s amazing to me that she has time for it all! You’d never know she was juggling so much from her big smile in this picture. And she always has a big smile!!!
Her daily focus is on her design firm, Bliss Design. Ohara and her 8-person design team work tirelessly to translate their clients’ lifestyles into the design of their homes. “Each project that I design needs to be unique to the client, becoming essentially a portrait of those who live in the home.”
While Ohara loves the challenge of creating spaces in entirely different, varied styles and seeking new resources, she thinks the most rewarding part of her job comes when the client sees their home after completion.
“Watching a client come into their home for the very first time, that sense of overwhelming joy, is a moment that is so precious - knowing that I, along with my team, have executed on the design that allows this new backdrop for life and memories to come is a truly wonderful feeling.”
It’s no wonder that Ohara was drawn to design - I think creativity must run in her genes! Her father was an illustrator who became especially well-known for his work in all of the Ayn Rand books, and her brother is an artist in New York who is part of a group that masterminds large, multi-media installations around the world. Her mother, who formerly worked in textile design, now helps Ohara with the Bliss Studio wholesale company.
For Bliss Studio, Ohara conceptualizes the initial designs for a line of products that’s sold nationally and will soon be available abroad as well! I think she’s so talented at designing timeless pieces by blending old-world aesthetics, timeworn patinas and a current point-of-view. The Bliss Studio line is simply wonderful and - lucky me - I am now carrying her furnishings in my new store!! The designs are beautiful, finishes surperb and price point is very affordable! Just gorgeous!
Her style of layering the old with the new really comes across. I love the way she’s able to take an understanding of modern daily life and root it in classic beauty. In addition to larger furniture, the stores also have pillows, dishes, accessories, gifts and more.
A sucker for antiques, Ohara searches for products that are unique and have an interesting past. Traveling nationally and throughout Europe, she finds compelling and unusual items for the stores.
Along with her own product line, Ohara tries to showcase one-of-a-kind antique furnishings and accessories. The Dallas stores in the early 2000s. Then in 2005, she moved to California opening the first Bliss Home and Design store in Corona Del Mar.
I think her love of nature has really plays a role in her design aesthetic... I adore all of the geodes and fossil fragments displayed throughout!--oops I got caught in the mirror!!
I was so enchanted with the way the spaces thoughtful arrangements create a sense of soul in their design; each area is very inviting. The wonderful bookcase here is one I am carrying--I almost hope it doesn't sell it looks so beautiful in my space!!
Ohara believes that the furniture, fabric, lighting and other design elements within our homes help to tell a story of time gone and time to come. “It is easy to make a home beautiful, but I strive to create a home that is layered with intrigue and depth." Even down to the smallest details, she creates a sense of character and charm.
Ohara’s constantly evolving the business and expanding into new directions. In addition to attending the New York Gift Show twice a year, she will be doing her first Maison Objet show in the fall. Many retailers across the country, like me, carry her line. If you are in an area where no stores carry the line, no worries, she just launched an e-commerce site in June... be sure to check it out here! I am truely honored that Bliss in Ca. is carrying my book!! Thanks, Ohara, for letting me feature your beautiful store and tell your story! I’m so amazed by all the incredible work you do, and it’s been so fun working together! I can't wait to see how the home we are working on will look when finished!!
I am having my first booksigning in Little Rock Arkansas on October 4th at Cobblestone and Vine. They were the very first out of state store who carried my book! If you are in the area then I would love for you to join us from 2-7 at the 5100 Kavanaugh Blvd store. Till next week! xo, Leslie