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The Classically Layered Look of Park & Oak

The Expert Team
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Photo courtesy of Park & Oak.

When seeking inspiration, nothing is off limits for Park & Oak. Whether diving into historic books, the geography of one of their projects or into the set design of Netflix’s The Politician, the Chicago-based firm draws from diverse references and spins them into thoughtful, timeless spaces. Helmed by Christina Samatas and Renee DiSanto , the duo’s deep understanding of their client’s lifestyle mixed with a refined attention to detail result in layered homes with luxurious finishes, moody colors and patinated details.

Here, we learn more about their approach.

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Photo courtesy of Park & Oak.

Photo courtesy of Park & Oak.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

We draw from a mix of styles to create homes rooted in timeless design that honor the spirit and lifestyle of each homeowner. Our collaborative studio benefits from many creative perspectives bringing a distinct individuality to every project.

What’s the first step you take when starting a new project?

We do a kick off meeting with the clients and a deep dive into drawings and inspiration. We want to know how they currently live in their home, but more importantly, how they hope to live in it. We then consider the geography and surrounding region - staying true to the roots of a place is important to us - and put forth a design plan.

Where do you seek inspiration?

We work on projects from coast to coast, which offers constant inspiration by way of exploring local shops, restaurants and new cities. We also love looking at history for inspiration, not just what you find in textbooks, but the way it comes to life through amazing and inspiring set designs in shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Gilded Age and The Politician. Inspiration is all around!

How do you approach layering a variety of materials in your projects?

We love mixing various metal tones to create a layered look and bounce light in different ways. We also play with warm and cool stain tones, and think about weaving in texture through countertops or wallcoverings. It’s all about creating a collected feel.

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Photo courtesy of Park & Oak.

Photo courtesy of Park & Oak.

How do you make the most of a budget?

If a client has a lot of areas that they want to complete, but the budget won’t cover all of them, we focus on completing whole rooms first, so that there is a place of respite. And with any size budget, it’s important to strike a balance - spend more here, save more there.

Where should a client splurge?

Hands down, we suggest that if clients are going to splurge anywhere, it be to invest in a great sofa, with clean lines and good bones. A well-made sofa, cared for properly, can last you forever.

What should you always buy vintage?

Always vintage art and rugs/runners for us. We are constantly on the lookout for great vintage pieces in these categories. We also love vintage accessories, like vases and pottery, when styling bookshelves, open shelving or mantles. They add patina and warmth, along with character and sense of uniqueness.

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Tell us how you’ve been able to help clients during The Expert consultations.

The Expert platform has truly surprised me, in all the best ways! A one-hour consultation with a prepared client can be incredibly effective. We love that even with a virtual service, we have been able to cultivate relationships with repeat clients - working on renovation projects, talking through cabinet design/layouts or selections for kitchens and bathrooms. We’ve been able to interact with clients from all over including Australia, Canada and, soon, Thailand!


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