Coffee With: Amy Kang of Ocean Blu Designs

Ocean Blu Designs has created an acclaimed signature style of modern coastal living – where you will find clean modern architectural lines remaining true to nature in the materials, finishes and accents. We chatted with principal designer Amy Kang about Hamptons design, the hospitality industry, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Q&A With Amy Kang

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Amy Kang:
I have always loved using nature and natural elements in my designs. So, this passion of mine reflected well in the event catering company I had started.

Design by Ocean Blu Designs

My start with designing grew from my passion to style special events for our clients using my love for creative design. Then we looked towards designing and building new residential homes on the Gold Coast and Hampton Bay areas of Long Island, New York.

The house buyers soon became clients and asked me if I can finish decorating the house since they love my style and enthusiasm! I was in the hospitality industry for the longest time, so when I decided to concentrate on interior design, I opened up our current showroom in New York.

Still, new construction from concept to completion is my specialty. I started to work with homeowners, builders, developers and I consulted them in every phase of building, designing and decorating to final touch with art, rugs, window treatment to accessory to complete client’s vision!

C: How would you describe your style?
AK:
Modern Coastal found in Hamptons style. I like to marry traditional clean architectural lines in the house build. Then I design the room with simple neutral colors for large furnishings and to decorate with fun colors and contrasting textures from nature. Simply, we say – understated beauty found in timeless classic designs.

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C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
AK:
I enjoy traveling to coastal beaches and cities around the world. Once I have taken off the business of the city and I can relax, inspiration will strike visually through like the natural formation of sand dunes with all the landscaping plants. The ocean water with its breaking waves to the details of the beach – pebbles, seashells, skies, raindrops, regional plants & mangroves. I can go on and on. I get inspired by the beauty found near coastlines which most definitely reflect in my room designs and finishing touches.

C: Favourite room in the house?
AK:
The outdoor porch is my favorite place and wish we can enjoy it all year round in New York. But, I especially love a water view or featured water backdrop in the landscape. I love relaxing to the sound of birds chirping – possibly hiding in the green shrubs or flowers while I sit on my natural wood deck enjoying a seasonal drink. Most importantly, the outdoor furniture I choose are luxuriously comfortable and creates the stage for my family & friends to have intimate conversations on glorious long summer nights.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
AK:
In my opinion, rules are not necessary if you love the end product. Use them as a guide, but design rooms you’ll love living in. Mix different textures, layer different materials and colors. My favorite room element is to add oversized light fixtures in certain areas of the rooms. Follow your heart and not to design rules!

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C: Recent project that inspired you?
AK:
My team and I recently had an opportunity to design and build a cafe in NYC that caters both the dog and owner where they can socialize and mingle with other patrons. On the other side, it was also a boutique shop for fashionable dogs. A business space – three in one. It was not an easy concept having to balance food service, retail shop and a lounge for both dog and owner. With my time in the hospitality industry and my team’s creative design, our hard work paid off and the client was able to open up their first location, “Cafe Bark” in NYC. The grand opening was a success and it was rewarding to see how much their new customers appreciated our metropolitan styled designs. It was a fun project where we got to introduce the socialization of both dog and owner and being able to enjoy food & beverage with shopping all at the same location, at the same time.

C: Favourite texture/pattern/colour?
AK:
Natural organic and bleached white oak wood. There is nothing better than discovering the wood grain design of each piece. I choose unique wooden white oak furniture (dining table, console, stools, bench, mirror, etc) with linen white and coastal blue accent fabrics. I also use it in our building materials for a muted tonal feature.

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C: What is good design to you?
AK:
Good design to me is when a room reflects personal character and is warm and inviting – comfortable for everyday living. If anyone feels that it is too cold or too museum-like, then there is no soul. Good designs should have a “soul”. You can find it in the personal touches that finish a room.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
AK:
Leonardo DiCaprio’s modern beach home in Malibu! I love his modern coastal outdoor living design overlooking the beach with his modern teak wood outdoor furniture! Who wouldn’t love it?

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
AK:
Having been in the hospitality industry, I’ve styled many weddings and events. It is hard to be perfectly prepared for an event of my own, but I would design a menu that can be mostly prepared beforehand. Food is important, but having good company, and being a good host/hostess of an event is even more important! Using fun and unique platters and serving pieces set your style!

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C: Best advice for DIYers?
AK:
It is never easy, so research the designs you want till you’re happy with the final room. Also, get advice from the right person and don’t expect things to come out perfect. Learn from mistakes and if you can’t do it yourself, accept your limitations and hire a professional!

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
AK:
Communication is key when dealing with a professional. If you’re ready to hire a pro, get references and read reviews. Interview them to see if you are a good fit for one another. Make sure the person you hire understands your vision and has taken time to listen to all your needs. Set a realistic budget and set a list of items by your priorities and how you would like to accomplish and stay with it.

C: What is one design trend you’re most excited about this season?
AK:
I will definitely be using bleached white natural wood finishes in our building materials and furniture designs.

C: How do you take your coffee?
AK:
Freshly brewed coffee with drop of milk!

Design by Ocean Blu Designs