Fashion, design and film maven Ara Katz masterminded the interiors for the Michael Sant-designed house she and her boyfriend, tech entrepreneur Chris Ovitz share in Venice, CA. Ara, who was on the founding team of the social commerce company BeachMint, created a cool, light and art-filled oasis for a couple constantly on the go.+
The dining room is the “home central” to Ara and Chris. They eat, work and entertain here. The table is made from wild reclaimed Russian oak and weighs more than 300 pounds. Ara likes to use a mix of different chairs around the dining table to keep things from “looking too rigid.” The artwork is by Joel Shapiro.+
Artwork by Robert Mangold hangs on the opposite wall of the dining room bringing megawatt presence to the room with its sheer beauty and simplicity.+
Walls of glass allow a great view from the kitchen sink, through the courtyard and into the guest room beyond. “We love the fluidity of the space - the way it feels to go outside to the guest room or studio.
The couple’s collection of artwork fills the house (adding somehow bits of color to an otherwise all white/neutrals scheme); here, a Roy Lichtenstein pops in the kitchen. For Ovitz, collecting runs in the family, his father, Michael Ovitz, founded the Creative Artists Agency, and is a preeminent collector of modern art. The hanging lighting fixtures are from one of Katz’s favorite neighborhood art and design sources, Obsolete.
In the living room Ara conceded to Chris’ wish for a sectional sofa to lounge with the condition that she designs it herself... so she did! The metal and glass coffee table was also designed by Ara, and was inspired by a B&B case study table from the 1970’s. Both pieces were fabricated locally in LA. Above the sofa hangs an artwork by Frank Stella, and on the left, to round out the room, a Tim Eitel counterpoints.+
A view from the entryway into the living room illustrates how the outdoor and indoor spaces co-exist. While the couple loved the stark, modern architecture, they had to create a design scheme that made the space livable and inviting.+
The flat-screen television's white metal frame in line with the architectural all-white, minimalistic style of the house further make it feel like a complete part of it.+
A grouping of objects on the credenza including framed Bansky pound notes, a blue lighter that belonged to Ara’s grandfather, a limited edition gold light switch by the late Tobias Wong, and a sketch for a lamp design by Jason Koharik are meaningful to both Ara and Chris.+
Modernist glass and steel structures connect all the different parts of the house. In the sunshine-drenched entryway a stretched-out walnut bench sits on a poured concrete floor.+
In keeping with the rest of the house, the master bedroom is serene and light-filled. It opens up on a closed patio. Embodiying that dreamy Cali cool living at best. The artwork by Julie Mehrutu draws the eye and cast a sunny strike to the space while the Jim Dine painting on the floor judiciously breaks the monochromatic palette.+
For someone spending so much time on sets, comfy shoes are a must! Ara’s favorites are the black Balmain booties. The strappy neoprene braided Philip Lim’s are her pick for a night out.+
Although she designed the sofa and table on the patio from salvaged re-claimed wood she picked herself, Ara’s goal was to make it look as if the pieces had always been there. The patio, three floors above street level, is a place of calm where friends can gather and lounge at tree-top level.+
Leslie Williamson’s book Handcrafted Modern served as inspiration throughout the design process. “I love modern design,” says Ara, “but in certain spaces it can feel too harsh. So, like with all my work, it was about finding a balance - between design and intimate objects that are meaningful to us.”+
A glass panel draws light from the stairwell's skylight and brings it to the hallway connecting bedroom to the en suite master bath. Inspired by Arpart of Josef Albers’ famed series of paintings and prints "Homage to a Square" Ara made the artworks hanging on the wall.+
“We really wanted this ultra modern guest room to feel beach-y and serene with an eclectic twist informed by hand crafted modern movement.” Lights by local designer Jason Koharik and a mid-century chair from Organic Modernism bring this idea to life.+
Original Beatles albums (from Ara’s mom) and the Bob Dylan soundtrack for Pat Garret and Billy the Kid for which Dylan wrote the song, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” are just a few examples of the groovy mix of art work and personal pieces that fill a gallery wall in the studio.+
In the studio a vintage Lignet Roset Togo Sofa in rust-hued leather gives a laid back, effortless note to the space.+
In the studio an oversized art book lies on a Jason Koharik designed chair. For Ara, Koharik is probably “the most exciting designer in L.A. right now.” +
The building was originally an experimental residential and retail project and was recently named “The Coolest Block in America” by GQ Magazine. “We love that it feels like it’s our own private compound, yet we’re on this bustling block” says Ara.