The Well Designed Life

Tanya Ouhrabka

A Barrington designer and store owner emphasizes decorating with the things you love most


When Tanya Ouhrabka was young and her parents would go out for a bit, it wasn’t uncommon for them to return to a completely redesigned bedroom courtesy of Tanya’s vision and her sister’s affable attitude. “My passion for color and design flourished into adulthood, decorating one friend’s home at a time until I started my own design firm,” she says. Style Redesign is Tanya’s manifestation of the interior design genes that she says were inherited, describing her childhood home as “art filled.” (It helped that her mother worked for Christie’s, the legendary fine art auction house.)

East Bay shoppers might recognize Tanya from Style Studio, the design store she opened in 2010 close to her home in Barrington, where clients came to appreciate her modern-meets-vintage twist on traditional style. Today, Style Studio lives online while the designer, whose philosophy is “renew, refresh, repurpose,” defines her chosen vocation not as interior design, but interior refining. “People don’t have to go out and buy all new things,” she explains. A chair with clean lines, a treasured piece of art – successful design, she says, is being surrounded by things of personal value. “If one chooses things for the home that have meaning, that bring comfort and happiness, then they aren’t trends, they are staples,” she says.

Vintage fabrics and creative textiles are some of the most visually effective tools Tanya relies on to refine a space. She also looks to merge her creative eye with her client’s needs. “My projects are always a collaboration,” she says. “I feel that this is the most important aspect of any job I do. From onset to execution, I am learning about my client, not what color they like necessarily, but who she/he is, needs, is inspired by.” Even something as simple as a favorite t-shirt can be a room’s muse. “We only have one place in the world to call our own, to retreat to. We need it to be an extension of ourselves and make us happy – that’s my goal for my client’s finished product.”

As a busy mom of three, Tanya sources online for fabrics, furnishings and inspiration, and stores treasures in a nearby warehouse. She constantly refines her own space, and works with clients to reinvent their own. Refining an interior doesn’t have to be costly, she says. First, cleanse and eliminate. “Keeping only the things that one really loves around them is the easiest and least expensive way to re-design,” she says. “Freshening up the space with paint is a budget friendly way to make a monumental change quickly. Adding pillows, mirrors, picture frames or lamps will make you feel like you have transformed the space immediately. There are so many great lines available for accessories now at low budget price ranges.” 

Tanya Ouhrabka, interior design, decorating, home, style, Style Studio, The Bay


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