Ara Katz loves the beachy but urban vibe of Venice. The 37-year-old co-founder of shopping app Spring has been living in a live-and-work space on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, designed by Michael Sant, that brings a deliberate urban tone to the beach community. She shares the contemporary California home with husband Chris Ovitz, founder and co-chief executive of hiring marketplace Workpop, and their 13-month-old son.
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
Our master bedroom. It is our quiet place that feels so serene and peaceful. And with the connected outdoor space and the fireplace, it feels like its own oasis above Abbot Kinney. Throughout the day, the sunlight hits the room in all these beautiful ways through the wall of windows — and at night, the moon shines in. I love sleeping with the door open because you get these amazing breezes coming from the ocean a few blocks away. As start-up entrepreneurs (and new parents), it's a welcome respite from work and the street life below.
Can you take me on a visual tour of what makes this room so special?
What I love about the room is that the only piece of furniture on the ground is the bed. Everything else is built-in, which makes the space feel so pure and uncluttered. Even the electrical outlets and the TV are hidden inside the built-ins so you can literally unplug. But this speaks for the rest of the house and Michael Sant's original vision for the building as a truly unique architectural experience right in the heart of Venice.
Is there a special piece of art or furniture in the room?
The hanging lights and the art are very special. The paintings are by one of my favorite artists, Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu, and the lighting is by Ray Azoulay's Obsolete gallery. He was a good friend of the previous owner and our neighbor when we moved in, so we were lucky to inherit these unique "upside-down ceramic bowl" lights.
Did you design this room? What were the inspirations for the design?
Because of the existing built-ins, the design was really in the choice of art and the two ceramic pieces that sit on the console. It was really an exercise in minimalism ... especially for the room that's about rest. I did design the outside seating because it's hard to find great outdoor pieces that are also comfortable. These deep, flat daybeds are perfect for reading or hanging out by the fire.
Why do you like the space so much?
I'm from New York, and I love New York, but I also love being near the beach and feeling like we're a little more in an urban area. Michael Sant's building has been a beautiful experiment in urban living, with beautifully serene light-filled spaces that are fluid. There are no interior doors in our house, just a couple of sliding pocket doors. I love the city piece that reminds me of New York, but also the very vacationy feel that you're living in this suite by the sea.
But you're moving, right?