A Global Path
his is the story of a woman in full. She is a weaver and a stonemason, a fly-fishing enthusiast and a kitchen wizard. Grandfather was an architect, Dad an artist and illustrator. Mother knew her way around a loom. It stands to reason that this bag of tricks would coalesce into one successful enterprise: Corona del Mar’s Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors.
Davies-Gaetano’s work has adorned the covers and pages of dozens of shelter magazines. Top architects seek her out to partner on major residential projects with three- to five-year lifecycles. The result, as they know, will be a magnificent home that exudes comfort and extends a welcoming hand.
It may look to an outsider like a meandering path, but in fact a perfect set of experiences led Davies-Gaetano to where she sits, stands and works today.
“Our client loves to invite guests over, so we designed a dining area that would maximize ease of entertaining and communal conversation.”
Until her parents moved the family to rural North Carolina, Davies-Gaetano was raised in midtown Manhattan. For the 14-year-old, relocation was a shock to the system.
“Life didn’t just slow down,” she said. “It stopped. I thought I’d go crazy but I ended up making some great farmer friends. We would lie on our backs and look up at the stars. We’d read poetry to each other.”
Adaptable, creative and filled with a curious spirit, Davies-Gaetano home-schooled herself in her senior year of high school and developed a serious knack for travel. At 17, she spent 18 months in Guatemala and Mexico, perfecting her Spanish.
“I learned to weave from a destitute woman in Guatemala. She and her three small children had been abandoned. I stayed with her for several weeks, paying for my room, board and lessons.”
She used that experience to build a basic understanding of other cultures and languages that today informs her expeditions in western Europe as she searches out antiques, art, vintage finds, textiles and artisan-crafted items.
Davies-Gaetano pursued her self-styled education at every turn. In her late teens she worked to restore a medieval Italian fortress, learning through hands-on experience the art of architecture and masonry. She lived in London, where she discovered a passion for the anthropology of food and immersed herself in the role that food plays in communities and society. Like all of the learning that had come before, this holistic approach to food, culture and art would shape Davies-Gaetano’s career.