Katerina Tana was born in Los Angeles, and raised in London and on the Dalmatian Coast, in what is now Croatia. Her education spans the literary and visual arts, and her design projects include from-the-ground-up construction to remodels — with focus on the architecture and the overall cohesive vision connecting interior and exterior spaces. Katerina’s work has been featured in several publications including Architectural Digest and House Beautiful — central to every project is creating a context for an inspired and breathtaking environment which people can call their own.
What is your background?
I am a native Angeleno, but my family moved to London when I was 5, and we spent summers on Hvar in the Adriatic. My background culturally is European, (my father being a Serb), and American (my mother was born and raised in California). I call myself an Ameripean.
How did you get into design? Have you always been aesthetically minded?
I am an innately creative creature. Design was a practical way to harness several of the gifts I have been blessed with and express myself while building a business. It was really an escape route from a film executive track I found myself on, and it became a full on career. My mother is an artist and my father is an entrepreneur; I consider myself an artrepreneur. Aesthetics are my first language.
I know you are based in Venice, yet you (and your work) don’t give off much of a Southern California vibe. Does that environment influence your work?
I am a great believer in balance. I think people’s preconceived notions of what Southern California is are moot, since it is a place that is always redefining itself. I emulate Southern California in that sense, but work to stay true to the things that are native here, like the flora and the fauna and the ocean, the proximity of city to nature. I have always been a strong proponent of connecting the indoor and outdoor. I am one of the few designers who do both interiors and landscapes.
I launched my fabric line Katerina Tana Collection to celebrate that beauty and create something that felt like a breath of fresh air, and a way to share the glories of Southern California with everyone everywhere. You should take a look at it if you haven’t and you will see what I mean.
If someone is working within a strict budget where do you encourage them to spend and save?
I always encourage people to look at what they have and what they can get rid of. I am an editor before I am a designer. Having a designer is an investment, and it basically frees one up from the notion that designing is about going shopping.
Do you have a signature that finds its way into every project?
Is there a current trend that you think will endure?
Trends do not endure, it’s inherent in the word. I tend to steer clear of them, though I find more and more that things I did many years ago become trends. I suppose I am not much of a follower, I am more an unwitting leader.
Do you tend to have tried-and-true favorites that find themselves into every job?
Farrow and Ball paint is one of them. Perrin and Rowe plumbing fixtures, Rejuvenation hardware and accessories find their way in to them all.
What is your favorite recent project and what made it so special?
There are a few. My very favorite clients moved to NYC, and took me along for the journey which was a joy to repurpose some of the custom pieces we had from their previous house into an entirely different setting. Also, I think my recent makeover the Ambassador’s residence in Belgrade, Serbia which was unexpected and spontaneous and they were delighted. The Rose Hotel in Venice, is dear to my heart as well, because it was such an utter transformation. I made use of a wonderful old legendary building and I was working with inspired creative clients. I am grateful for them all, special in their own way.
Do you have a fantasy project?
I fantasize about the project across the street from me that is being built by Frank Gehry…
What are your favorite pieces on Previously Owned by a Gay Man and how would you use them in a project?
I found lots of goodies on the site. Here they are: something to eat off, or look at, something to dress or look at yourself in, something to sit on, some things to help keep the peace and everyone has their own space and something to keep the home fires burning…
Learn more about Katerina Tana.