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Places & Faces

Behind The Design With Oly

Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger are the talented US duo behind Oly, one of Coco Republic’s exclusive international designers. Renowned for classic elegance with luxurious metallics and natural undertones, I spoke with both designers about the brand’s ethos.

What is the Oly aesthetic?

Kate McIntyre: “Simple and unusual beauty. A mix of whimsy and classics. Our spaces at first glance may seem clean and spare but we love to layer quietly.” 

Brad Huntzinger: “The Oly look is eclectic, a mixture of interesting materials, interesting shapes. It’s not keyed into any time period or design movement particularly. We keep it fresh and light. Doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

As designers, what inspires you?

Kate McIntyre: “Brad and I are constantly designing, drawing inspiration from our daily lives, our families and our environment. We’ve always sought to surround ourselves with beauty, and the California coast and San Francisco Bay Area offer us constant inspiration. The climate is always inviting you to get out and experience it; indoor and outdoor living and spaces become blurred in a harmonious way. I think that inspiration is very evident in Oly design and translates well to the Australian lifestyle.”

Brad Huntzinger: “New materials. Nature. The ocean. Right down to microscopic detail. I’ve been very excited by electron microcope imagery for years and I’m really into mushrooms and fungus right now.”

What are your own homes like?

Kate McIntyre:  “I like to keep my main living areas airy and light but comfortably interesting, including deeper tones of woods and leathers to ground the spaces. Any art is largely abstract but personal, like the waterscapes we paint for ourselves. Floor to ceiling windows take full advantage of surrounding gardens and carefully chosen views. And I always create areas of retreat. It’s important that our homes are private and a retreat from chaos and stress.”

Brad Huntzinger: “Clean, simple lines. Lots of light. Fairly spare as far as furniture goes. Some interesting pieces we especially loved but maybe weren’t ready for market.” 

What is the best way to achieve a cohesive look in a room?

Kate McIntyre: “Simplify the pallet to allow for an array of textures and materials.”

Brad Huntzinger: “Maybe not groundbreaking to say, but I think you start with neutral colors, predominantly neutral spaces, then add small doses and accents of interesting and intense colors and textures.”

What should people look for when buying furniture and home decor?

Kate McIntyre: “Quality in details.”

Brad Huntzinger: “I guess it’s kind of like art: sometimes it’s not that it all works perfectly in your house, it’s that you love it. And then if you follow the basic rules of not having too much stuff and keeping things fairly neutral, you’ll end up with a house that not only looks nice, you’ll love the contents too. I wouldn’t acquire pieces because they match your house, I’d buy things because you love them. But try to have a a basic plan and rule in the background that keeps it all from getting too crazy.”  

Shop the Oly collection at Coco Republic, in store or online here.

Caitlan

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