A Shop of One’s Own
Featuring Katrina Hernandez
Photography by Nina Choi
According to Katrina Hernandez, an LA-based designer with a recently opened retail and showroom space in Santa Monica, a home should be unique. Her decor style, somewhere between cool and curated, is a direct reflection of this proclamation. Margot caught up with Katrina to talk about her new space, life on the West Coast, and her dream projects.
Katrina Hernandez in her Santa Monica Space.
Artwork Vanessa Chow.
MM: What made you want to open a showroom and retail space?
KH: I’ve been wanting to open a retail space for over 10 years now and I am just so excited it’s come together! I am a people person, a risk taker and known to be very persistent. I started working in retail at 14 years of age and my family has always been in retail (antiques, children’s and vintage clothing) so it’s in my blood. As my mom likes to say, I am a natural born shopper. I am a curator to my core, and I have felt the need for such a long time to truly not only execute my vision for clients’ spaces but also to further my aesthetic within my own working space.
"I am a people person, a risk taker and known to be very persistent."
Tiles: Cle Zellige Square 4x4 Tiles in
golden henna. Mirror: KH Custom upholstered mirror,
brass faucet from Waterworks, sconces by Blu Dot.
MM: Tell us a bit about finding and bringing the space together.
KH: There were countless numbers of spaces I looked at. I came to LA four years ago from New York City. I was pregnant with my son as we were moving, and we had no childcare and then the pandemic hit. Those were some formative and tough years for me, figuring out what I wanted my new business plan to be. I persisted looking for a large enough space on the west side that could house both my office and some retail.
Everything was coming up short in square footage until a space just south of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica became available. It’s in a little strip with other, mostly women-owned, small creative businesses (an art restorer, a paint studio, a florist and a ceramics studio) and the owner was looking to fill this last open space with such. It was the perfect fit—almost 3000 square feet with 12-foot ceilings.
I basically divided the space into two. The front space is the formal showroom where I installed a kitchen and a beautiful bathroom. The backspace, which is divided by a huge custom curtain, is the materials, library, office and storage. Plus, I have four designated parking spaces—unbelievable in LA!
"It needed a lot of work, but no one loves renovation more than me!"
KH custom upholstered mirror in Jim Thompson fabric. Ralph Lauren carved wood console. Green glazed ceramic bowl by David Stone, modern portrait sculpture, artwork by Vanessa Chow and white vintage ceramic lamp.
MM: Tell us a bit about the products you plan to carry?
KH: I wanted to further my creative journey by designing some of my own custom pieces: upholstered furniture, mirrors, custom wood tables and screens, and even pillows made from Balenciaga fabric! We have about six different local ceramic artists who coil, throw, glaze—all so differently. I’ve been working hard to curate approachable art across many mediums that reads as elevated. We have photography, watercolor, ink, acrylic, textile artists all with different backgrounds. I am partnering with Mehraban rugs and have a capsule of their incredible bohemian wool rugs to show and incorporate in my designs. I’ve selected a home fragrance company from Morocco that infuses the space with a deep unique scent. I also have a body of restored antiques woven throughout the space.
"Antiques add so much authenticity and have no lead times, so it was incredibly important to have them for opening."
"How would I describe my design style? Elevated, natural and comfortable."
MM: Who or what inspires you?
KH: Architecture and travel inspire me the most. Working for such a strong architecture firm in my early days really gave me a different lens when it comes to building thought-out spaces and quality construction. And materials! I can easily scheme a project solely based on the materials that inspire me.
MM: You are known for your love of textiles. How did this come about?
KH: My love for textiles started with my love for fashion. I was always raiding my mom’s eclectic closet growing up, working in retail for a local clothing store starting at age 14, and then attending LIM college in NYC. After college, I worked for Gap Inc and Ralph Lauren and really got a 101 in textile R&D with overseas mills and factories, printmaking, fabric logistics and buying. From there, I realized I wanted to work in interior design, because as silly as this sounds, textiles would then be all encompassing, not just on a person’s body or in their closet.
Ceramic footed bowls by David Stone.
Vintage finds include trinket boxes and ostrich egg.
White orb vase with two-tone chain by Cour Studio.
MM: Favorite architect?
KH: I’m in awe of what Zaha Hadid has done for the architectural landscape in the world. My five-year-old daughter loves a book we have about Zaha and refers to it as, “mama’s favorite book: the queen of curve!”
"My dream project? I have two actually—to design a boutique hotel in Mexico and renovate a 1920s Spanish home here in Santa Monica for my family."
MM: Do you have a piece of furniture or object that you are currently on the hunt for?
KH: I’m always on the hunt! And now more than ever, since I’m looking for both clients and the shop. I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect taper candles—dripless, but with a nice proportion and design. I am extremely particular. I hope that’s conveyed when a new customer ventures in. I’ve hand-picked and sought out everything because of the level of design and quality.
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