ARA KATZ & CHRIS OVITZ
Home in Venice, CA
Ara Katz is a tech entrepreneur, designer, film producer and artist living in Venice, CA with her boyfriend Chris Ovitz. Ara and Chris' stunning architectural home in Venice, CA is filled with artwork by emerging to established artists, including Ara herself! On their walls are works by Tappan Collective artists Martin Davis and Tyler Healy.
Shop artwork featured in Chris and Ara's home:
Silkscreen Prints by Martin Davis
Photos by Tyler Healy
Interview from Apartment Therapy:
Eclectic — I love modern design and a lot of the Danish, Norwegian and American designers from that time, especially from California. A lot of that design works well in work spaces but in the home, it’s about finding a balance of aesthetic and comfort, because the pieces that look beautiful often don’t work for everyday living. I also love incorporating organic materials with sentimental objects and images to create a sense of intimacy and to make the home more personal. Chris grew up in LA around a lot of beautiful art, so we also wanted to make sure the interior design showcased the art and didn’t detract from it.
While the space is designed with clean lines and lots of light, it is also near the beach in Venice and I’m from New York, so it was about bringing all these ideas together in a way that felt beautiful and livable. With lots of white walls and glass, we used moments of black and organic woods (reclaimed Russian oak, walnut) and textiles (organic undyed linen) to create warmth and to incorporate organic shapes, colors and textures into the space.
There’s definitely some inspiration from Leslie Williamson's book, Handcrafted Modern, which really speaks to the concept of balance between Venice's modern roots (Venice is actually where Ray and Charles Eames had their studio), the contemporary lines and architecture, the natural elements inspired by the ocean, and the masculine and feminine of both of us.
It’s an urban oasis, a private space on our favorite street. We love how Michael Sant, the architect, designed the indoor-outdoor space. Walking through our courtyard to the guest room or outside on the walkway to the studio really creates a sense of fluidity that is hard to feel in closed spaces, especially on a busy street.
There are actually only two corners where white walls meet in the whole space, so it was very difficult to decorate. It's not the kind of place where you can buy a chair you love and then just find a place for it — there is no flexibility to do that because everything is either built-in or has wall meeting glass. It was fun to design into these parameters and work it out by designing original pieces to work within the space.
What Friends Say:
“It is so you.”
Chris wanted a big sectional couch, and there is probably no kind of couch I like less, so that was a compromise, which actually became a fun design project because we couldn’t find the right one, so I made it.
The furniture I designed — the coffee table in the living room, the couch, the benches inside and outside, and the outdoor pieces on the deck. It was really satisfying to create something and then get to live with it. It’s something I hope to do a lot more of.
Also, the previous owner had made a metal TV frame, and then we made another one from painted MDF around the TV in the guest room — people always comment on the frames because TVs can look so bad from the side when they are hung on the wall.
Time. We were both running startups while we were trying to finish our house, so the design took a lot longer than we both would have liked. Making things takes longer, but ironically, it can be a lot cheaper if you know where to go and how to be resourceful.
I’ve always loved Steve Jobs’ quote about design: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." A lot of interior designers design spaces for look and feel and not for how a space lives and breathes every day and over time. A space has to work, and not just for an Apartment Therapy photo shoot!
Dream Sources:Los Angeles. There are so many incredible design resources, artisans, and galleries, so I discovered a whole other side of LA that I didn’t know while I was designing the space. I also had the pleasure of meeting the designer Taylor Jacobson, who is so talented and was really helpful with sourcing and finding the perfect craftsman to help with some of the design projects.
Photographs by Lauren Ward